Shrewsbury 1-2 Blades - report
The Blades recorded a first league win of 2013 thanks to a dominant display at Shrewsbury.
On United's first ever visit to the Greenhous Meadow - Shrewsbury's new home since 2007 - a fortunate goal from Michael Doyle and a blaster from Dave Kitson secured three more points.
The victory also marked United's first league double of the campaign and it was thoroughly deserved, although a late Stephen McGinn free-kick caused a few nervous moments.
Forte was handed a start after impressing in the previous game, taking the place of Porter, who was not in the matchday squad. Cresswell also dropped out with Hill, back after fracturing his jaw, and McFadzean joining Robson on the bench. Irish midfielder McAllister, who signed for the Shrews from the Blades in January, was part of the home side's starting line-up.
Unitedites were vociferous in a lively start but a number of stray passes prevented Danny Wilson's side accumulating any early momentum. Doble, for the home side, was offside when his shot struck a post on six minutes, whilst for the visitors, a burst of pace from Murphy almost presented a chance and Forte, afforded space, curled just over the top corner on 14 minutes.
The first serious chance arrived on 19 minutes - following Murphy's run, McDonald's 25-yard strike was on target and needed a fingertip save from Weale to keep the scores level. Shrewsbury only half-cleared the resulting corner before Maguire volleyed wide.
An enterprising run from Flynn, on 25 minutes, brought him a chance but he could only get a toe to the ball when Weale came off his line and a seconds later Forte believed he should have had a penalty when he went over in a collision with Jones when chasing a Kitson pass.
As the half hour passed United's chances continued. After Jacobson's foul on Kitson, McMahon's curling free-kick from 25 yards was on target but clawed away at the last minute by goalkeeper Weale, who, from the resulting corner, was well-placed to keep out a header from Kitson.
On 34 minutes, Shrewsbury went close and it was former Blade McAllister. The midfielder's initial shot was blocked by Collins but Long had dived and the Irishman's second effort, with the net gaping, couldn't find the target from 25 yards.
The Blades got back on top as half-time approached, enjoying a lot of possession, but were unable to penetrate the home side's defence with Weale looking particularly commanding.
A McMahon free-kick and Forte shot were blocked in the first minute of the second period as United again showed attacking intent. The Blades won a number of corners and Doyle also had a shot from the edge of the box deflected away.
The Blades were now turning up the heat and went close on 52 and 53 minutes. Firstly, from Flynn's corner, Kitson's header beat Weale but was headed off the line by Gayle and then, after Doyle had won back possession, Murphy fired just wide from about 30 yards.
McAllister had a shot blocked in a rare Shrewsbury attack before United made the possession and territorial advantage count on 63 minutes, albeit in bizarre circumstances. Murphy beat Gayle down the left and although Weale blocked Forte's effort, a defender's attempted clearance hit DOYLE and bounced into the unguarded net. Doyle was booked for his celebrations and he was followed into the book, in the next five minutes, by McDonald and McMahon.
A couple of Shrewsbury free-kicks caused problems but whereas there was fortune associated with United's first, not the same can be said about the second, which followed on 72 minutes. A patient passing move resulted in McDonald finding KITSON, who took a steadying touch before smashing a bullet-like effort from 25 yards beyond Weale before the goalkeeper knew about it.
Boss Wilson then threw on Robson, for Murphy, who received a nice reception from the Blades fans, whilst an unmasked Collins was ideally placed to block from Bradshaw...twice in a matter of minutes.
Forte went close to adding a third when his pace got him in a good position but he shot across goal and the Blades were forced to endure a few nervous moments when Shrewsbury pulled a goal-back. McGINN's 35-yard free-kick was aimed at his team-mates but flew over everyone's heads and into the corner of the net.
Four added minutes gave Shrewsbury hope and United replaced Kitson with Ironside before the visitors managed to comfortably hold on to the lead to secure a much-needed victory.
Shrews: Weale, Jacobson, Jones, Richards, Taylor (Summerfield 45), McGinn, Doble (Bradshaw 63), Parry, McAllister, Mambo, Gayle.
Unused: Anyon, Purdie, Edwards, Goldson, Wildig.
Blades: Long, Higginbotham, Maguire, Flynn, Doyle, McDonald, Kitson (Ironside 90), Collins, Forte, Murphy (Robson 75), McMahon.
Unused: Westlake, Hill, McFadzean, Coyne, DeGirolamo.