Blades 1-0 Shrewsbury - report
David McAllister's early goal was enough to get United off to a winning start in the 2012-13 npower League One campaign.
The Irish midfielder, who played 15 games on loan for Shrewsbury last season, got on the end of a Marcus Williams cross on four minutes in what proved to be the winner at Bramall Lane.
Boss Wilson made three changes from the team that were eliminated from the Capital One Cup seven days earlier. McAllister, Cofie and Blackman all started in place of Flynn, Porter and Miller, the latter dropping to the bench. There were no less than five graduates of the Academy amongst United's substitutes.
Kicking towards the Kop in the first half, the Blades took just four minutes to open the league goalscoring account. After a throw-in on the left, Williams whipped in a cross and former Shrewsbury loanee, McALLISTER, nipped in ahead of Purdie to beat the over-exposed Weale with a close-range volley.
A nervy opening by both sides resulted in chances. Morgan was put off by a McDonald touch from a Wright corner and Parry had a shot saved by Howard and then curled a free-kick wide for the visitors. At the Kop end Blackman got the better of Hector but could only curl wide from a narrow angle.
One of three Irishmen in United's midfield, McAllister was operating from the right and almost linked up with Blackman on a couple of occasions. As the half progressed, Cofie saw more action but the visitors got on top as the interval approached and went close on three occasions.
Wright managed to turn Parry's cross away from goal when he looked destined to score on 39 minutes and seconds later Howard was quickly off his line to bat away a Purdie chance after a through ball from Richards. The visiting fans were celebrating on 42 minutes when Gornell turned the ball into the empty net after Howard parried a long-range effort from Summerfield but an assistant referee's flag cut short their joy.
Chances were sparse early in second period, a Maguire header was over and, for the visitors, a shot from Gornell was comfortably held by Howard. United held possession well but were unsuccessful in trying to pick holes in the Shrewsbury defence, which may have influenced Wilson's decision to replace Cofie with Miller.
At the midway point in the half the Blades went close with a move that began with Howard's long kick putting Blackman in behind the visiting defence. The striker laid off to find McMahon in space but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Weale's sprawling body. Another opportunity quickly followed when McDonald and Quinn linked up but Miller's shot was blocked in a crowded penalty area.
Jones headed wide for Shrewsbury as the game entered the final 15 minutes, whilst for United Quinn fired wide and McDonald, after creating the chance himself, shot just over. On 83 minutes Parry cut inside Williams but the visiting midfielder saw his shot parried away by Howard.
Late on most of the attacking was coming from the visitors and a couple of important blocks were needed as the Unitedites became anxious. Maguire and Williams combined to crowd out Bradshaw, who sneaked through the offside trap, and Doyle kept out Wildig in a dangerous position.
Three minutes of added time was announced but United held out comfortable, protecting Howard and his clean sheet.
Blades: Howard, Maguire, Doyle, Blackman, McDonald, Collins, McAllister, Cofie (Miller 65), Quinn, McMahon, Williams.
Unused: Harriott, Chapell, Philliskirk, Ironside, Long, McFadzean.
Shrewsbury: Weale, Grandison, Summerfield (Hall 68), Jones, Purdie, Wright, Richards (Wildig 81), Morgan, Parry, Hector, Gornell (Bradshaw 73).
Unused: Jacobson, Taylor, Hazell, Anyon.