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U21s 3-1 Birmingham - report

18 April 2013

United's U21 ended the season with back-to-back victories, with a richly deserved success over Birmingham City at Bramall Lane.

After falling behind early on, goals from Jordan Robertson, Chris Salt and Max Pemberton saw the Blades run out worthy 3-1 winners.

Mark Howard completed the first half unscathed on his return from a thigh muscle injury that has hampered him for much of the campaign.

Birmingham took the lead with just five minutes on the watch, Smith squandered the ball inside his own half and from a Higgins cross to the back post, RICHARDSON lashed home into the bottom corner on the half volley.

United's response was immediate, though, and an equaliser came within 60 seconds. From the kick-off, Barry launched a ball forward and after getting the better of his marker Smith was hauled down in the penalty area by Kelly. Trialist ROBERTSON confidently stepped up to tuck away the resulting spot-kick.

The Blades had now got a foot hold in the game and were dictating play. In the 17th minute, Pemberton volleyed wide after good work down the right by Scarisbrick. McDonagh was a constant threat down the left and had two chances in the space of a minute, firstly he headed wide from a Whiteman cross, before hitting a post after Pemberton had opened up the Blues defence.

United continued to look dangerous going forward and only a fingertip save from Preston denied Khan from scoring with a dipping right footed effort as the interval approached.

The final action of the first period saw the visitors come close to regaining the led. Cameron's inswinging corner from the right was cleared via the underside of the crossbar and from the follow up Salt deflected Kelly's header wide.

Willis replaced Howard, as had been the plan, at the break and three minutes into the second half the substitute goalkeeper scrambled away the loose ball after Delfouneso had seen his looping header hit the crossbar.

Eyre came on for the hard working Robertson and won the corner that led to the Blades taking the lead. McDonagh flighted the ball in from the right and after a weak punch by Preston in the City goal, SALT reacted first to put the ball into the unguarded net.

In the 79th minute, only a tremendous save from Willis preserved the Blades advantage. Truslove freed Richardson who hit the ball early. Willis made a smart save to his left and substitute Gainford fired the rebound wide.

Moments later Willis again head to be at his best to deny Brown and from the resulting break United added a third with three minutes remaining.

Eyre held the ball up and after Smith and Scarisbrick had combined to free the substitute down the right, Eyre fed the ball across goal and PEMBERTON timed his run into the box perfectly to apply the finishing touch and cap a deserved win.

Blades: Howard (Willis 45) Scarisbrick, M. Williams, Whiteman, Barry, Salt, Khan (Dimaio 77), Pemberton, Robertson (Eyre 69) Smith, McDonagh.
Unused: Heather, J. Williams.

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