Raith Rovers 1-2 Blades - match report
The Blades rounded off the Scottish tour with a victory at Raith Rovers on Wednesday night.
Despite falling behind to Greig Spence's goal, strikes from Kevin McDonald and Jamie Murphy clinched the victory to make it two wins and a draw to mark the start of David Weir's tenure as Blades chief.
For the third and final game of the tour, Weir named four of his countrymen in the starting XI - Collins, Murphy, McGinn and McDonald. As appears to be the tradition north of the border, an unnamed triallist was part of the home side's team list.
Kick-off was delayed 15 minutes due to travel problems in the area, but once the action kicked off, the Blades were first to threaten, Murphy's 30-yard effort was parried away by Raith goalkeeper Laidlaw. Raith's first effort, on 10 minutes, saw Howard collect Elliot's shot.
Raith did, however, take the lead with 13 minutes on the referee's watch. With Williams appealing unsuccessfully for offside, Elliot was allowed the space to cut back for SPENCE, who bundled the ball home, despite the attentions of Westlake and Howard.
Like previous encounters in Scotland, the Blades were seeing plenty of possession and racking up the pass count in midfield. From one patient attack, a Williams cross fizzed across goal before the Blades levelled matters on 28 minutes. McDONALD began the move with a pass to McFadzean and then was well-placed to side-foot home after the Sheffielder found space for an accurate return.
The Blades then went in front with the next attack on 34 minutes. MURPHY, again looking bright as he did against Cowdenbeath, saw his path to goal open up and he beat Laidlaw with a powerful strike from the edge of the box.
The XI that finished the first half began the second but the Blades were quickly forced on to the back foot, Elliot curled over a free-kick and Howard raced off his line to head away Maguire's difficult back-pass.
Porter's last action, before being replaced, was clipping wide after latching on to Maguire's pass, whilst a succession of substitutes, which included the entire back four, followed to stem the flow of the game.
Triallist Kayara shot over for the Blades on 73 minutes, whilst Brandy was off target with a sliced effort after Murphy laid off.
Twice in a matter of seconds Raith came close to levelling on 79 minutes. Firstly, Callachan's long-range effort was headed off the line by Hill and then Howard saved the follow up from Smith.
In the final ten minutes, neither side came close to adding to the scoreline enabling the healthy contingent of Blades in attendance the pleasure of seeing a victory.
Blades: Howard, Westlake (Hodder 63), Williams (McGinty 63), Collins (Hill 63), Maguire (Higginbotham 63), Doyle (Whitehouse 52), Porter (Ironside 52), Murphy, McFadzean (Brandy 56), McGinn (Kayara 60), McDonald (Smith 60).