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Blades 1-1 Notts County - report

29 September 2012

Dave Kitson netted his first goal for the club as the Blades extended the unbeaten league start to nine games.

The striker's header gave United the lead in the second half but Lee Hughes levelled with a close-range tap-in.

The encounter was entertaining and both sides also struck the woodwork before September's fixtures ended with another 1-1 draw.

Free from suspensions, Doyle and Flynn went straight back into United's starting line-up, replacing McAllister and Cresswell, both of whom dropped to the bench. The formation was unchanged, Doyle - complete with captain's armband - partnered McDonald in midfield, whilst Flynn began on the right, with Gallagher switching to the left.

Both were involved in a move within the first 30 seconds, which resulted in Doyle firing over - the skipper also smashed at Bialkowski soon after as he looked to busy himself after a period of inactivity. County, wearing bright pink shirts, had to cope with an early Blades onslaught, also in the opening ten minutes Blackman had a shot blocked when he could have played in Gallagher and after a Kitson flick on, Flynn cut inside and forced a one-handed save from Bialkowski.

On 12 minutes, Bialkowski was out quickly to block from Gallagher after he was set up by Blackman, whilst the first attack from the visitors was repelled by McMahon and then, after McDonald's stray pass, Hughes headed wide a Regan cross.

Maguire headed over a McMahon free-kick but County weathered the early storm and hit back with a couple of chances of their own. Judge arrived late in the box but could not connect sufficiently with Campbell-Ryce's cross and then Regan fired wide.

On the half hour, Blackman's shot was flicked over by Bialkowski after McDonald's charge into the box, then Howard held a deflected punt from Zoko as the entertainment continued. Kitson was the first to be cautioned, he caught Judge late... although no free-kick was awarded.

Just before the interval, from a short free-kick move, Gallagher's shot was deflected and Bishop diverted the ball onto his own crossbar and over for a corner, but the visitors continued their stout defending to ensure the encounter remained scoreless at the interval.

There were a number of sloppy passes at the start of the second half but that changed when the clock ticked around to 50 minutes when the Blades had three efforts... the last of which resulted in a goal. Firstly Blackman smashed against a post from an acute angle and then Bialkowski saved with his chest after the aforementioned Blades striker sneaked around the back of the County defence, before the vital breakthrough - Flynn delivered from the right and KITSON rose highest and perfectly directed his header beyond Bialkowski's reach. He then set off to celebrate in front of the Kop.

Gallagher went close to doubling the lead after a McDonald cross, whilst the Blades appealed for a penalty when Kitson appeared to kick the ball against Kelly's hand but the County defender was awarded the free-kick.

County fans in the Jessica Ennis Stand thought they had levelled when Campbell-Ryce's deflected cross was inviting for Zoko to attack the ball but Howard made a tremendous point-blank reaction save - the goalkeeper kept out the same player soon after, even though an offside flag had been raised.

Blackman, who became the second Blade to be booked for an altercation with Judge, went on two mazy runs, beating a number of defenders, but produced weak shots at the end of them.

United then were made to pay for the missed chances when wild clearances from McMahon and McDonald set the visitors up for the leveller on 76 minutes. From a corner, Labadie's header struck the crossbar and in the ensuing melee a shot from Jeff Hughes was turned in from a yard out by Lee HUGHES.

Porter had replaced Kitson and McDonald was the third Blade to be booked for a foul on Judge, who fired a long ranger at Howard, whilst as the game entered the final ten minutes a header by Maguire, from Gallagher's free-kick, found the net but the defender was adjudged to be offside.

Late on the game was littered with fouls and bookings but the signal of five minutes added time lifted both sets of fans, but it was the home side who did the attacking. From Howard's free-kick, Collins headed down and Maguire shot wide, whilst Flynn was off target with a half-volley. The last chance saw Cofie, on for Gallagher, head wide a McMahon cross, but the applause at the final whistle suggested the fans had enjoyed the fixture.

Blades: Howard, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, Doyle, Blackman, McDonald, Kitson (Porter 73), Collins, Gallagher (Cofie 85), McMahon.
Unused: Miller, McAllister, Cresswell, Long, Williams.

County: Bialkowski, Kelly (Labadie 63), Bishop, Leacock, Liddle, Judge, J. Hughes, Zoko (L. Hughes 61), Arquin, Campbell-Ryce (Mahon 81), Regan.
Unused: Showunmi, Bencherif, Spiess, Hollis.

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