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Match Reports

Stevenage v Blades

21 December 2013

Stevenage 0-0 Blades - report

The Blades were applauded off by the travelling fans - including a number of Santa's - despite a goal-less draw at Stevenage.

Nigel Clough's side bossed proceedings throughout, hitting the woodwork on two occasions and continually forcing Stevenage onto the back foot.

The Blades are still without a win at the Lamex Stadium but deserved more in this encounter and stretched the unbeaten away record to five.

Boss Clough made three changes for the trip south - Hill, McGinn and Miller returned with Flynn, Coady and Murphy dropping to the bench. In the Hertfordshire rain it soon became clear that the Blades were operating with Doyle in a deep-lying midfield role behind White, Baxter and McGinn and Miller was Porter's partner in attack.

United started brightly and got change out of both Stevenage full-backs. Firstly, Maguire's diagonal pass beat Smith and White's subsequent cross-shot was flapped at by Day before cannoning off a post. Then, after an Ashton header was wide from a free-kick at the other end, Miller got the better of Freeman but his effort was deflected wide for a corner.

Also in the opening ten minutes, Parrett fouled McGinn and although the short lay-off resulted in McMahon lashing over, the home side were opened up once more.

Stevenage, who were facing the wind, responded with long-range, off-target efforts from Tansey and Parrett, whilst Morais picked up the game's first booking for a foul on McMahon and was let off with a warning when he brought down White moments later. Unsurprisingly, Morais was substituted soon after.

United's dominance continued and although the chances dried up somewhat, Collins went close from a free-kick, McGinn unable to connect with the rebound, and White broke free on the left, again getting the better of his marker, but the loanee fired too high with the overworked Day narrowing the angle.

The final decent effort of the first half, though, came from the home side. A throw on their right saw Zoko lose the attentions of White but the pull-back for Burrow was dragged wide.

United made a blistering start to the second half, although boss Clough would have been wondering how the scores were still level. On 47 minutes, Doyle and Hill set up a chance and Baxter, after a neat first touch, shot just wide. Within a minute, Baxter was the recipient of a fortunate bounce but his shot smacked a post and Miller was unable to convert the rebound. Also in the early stages of the second period, Porter headed one of numerous corners over the crossbar.

Despite facing the wind after the break, the Blades were still the better side. Miller and Baxter switched roles and both looked dangerous to Stevenage. The former set up the latter on 67 minutes but Baxter lashed wide.

Stevenage had to wait until 69 minutes before creating their first effort of the second half but Dunne chipped over with Long off his line. The Blades goalkeeper then had to claw away a deep swirling cross from Zoko.

Murphy replaced White for the final 15 minutes but there was a scare for United when Maguire was robbed by Burrow but Zoko's shot was week.

Porter headed wide after a patient build-up paved the way for Doyle's cross on 85 minutes but despite showing the most endeavour and intent throughout the Blades were unable to leave Stevenage with the full three points the performance deserved - especially after McGinn's long ranger was wide.

Stevenage: Day, Chorley, Ashton, Morais (Jones 24), Burrow, Zoko, Parrett (Dunne 53), Heslop, Freeman, Tansey, Smith.
Unused: Arnold, Wedgbury, Haber, Tounkara, Andrade.

Blades: Long, White (Murphy 76), Maguire, Hill, Doyle, Porter, Baxter, Miller, McGinn, Collins, McMahon.
Unused: Howard, Flynn, Taylor, Coady, Brandy, Lappin.

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