Scunthorpe 0-0 Blades - Blades win pens
It appears that Sheffield United's penalty shoot-out hoodoo is over after Tuesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round victory at Scunthorpe.
After recent defeats in the cruellest way, the Blades recorded a 5-3 shoot-out success thanks to spot-kicks from Neill Collins, Jose Baxter, Conor Coady, Lyle Taylor and Sean McGinty, plus one save from Mark Howard.
During the 90 minutes at a ground where the Blades have not won a competitive fixture, there were not too many chances of note with the best opportunity falling to Callum McFadzean.
Belgian new boy Cuvelier made his Blades debut - Monday's capture from Stoke City started, but there was no place for loanee Bunn, brought in from Manchester City before the deadline. Other changes saw Howard, McFadzean, McGinn, Ironside and Westlake also included in the starting line-up, whilst Baxter was part of a substitutes bench which saw just five replacements permitted.
In the absence of Doyle, Collins skippered the Blades and early indications saw Cuvelier take up the central advanced midfield role - he provided the pass for McMahon, operating at left-back, to take the first shot of the tie.
The Blades began well and a spell of passing resulted in Coady's cross marginally too high for striker Ironside and on 13 minutes McFadzean skipped between two Scunthorpe players but his grass-cutter shot was saved by Slocombe.
The Iron's first opportunity, a shot from Esajas, was across goal and wide, whilst Howard had to tip over from Spencer after a number of ricochets and then another Esajas effort - this time a powerful drive on 18 minutes - was blocked by Coady.
Cuvelier was working hard to see as much of the ball as possible and Flynn was exploring ways to take on his marker as the Blades probed the home defence. On 34 minutes it was Coady who delivered the pass that opened up Scunthorpe but McFadzean, despite an intelligent run, blazed over the crossbar.
The visitors were marginally on top as half-time approached but were unable, despite a territorial advantage, to seriously test goalkeeper Slocombe.
A neat move enabled Scunthorpe to create the first opportunity of the second half. On 48 minutes Dawson then Esajas were involved before Winnall's shot from close to the penalty spot was parried by Howard and cleared up by Coady. Spencer was next to test the shot-stopping of Howard with a long-range effort.
Ironside's last contribution before being replaced by Taylor was forcing a save out of Slocombe from an acute angle. The next chance, on 62 minutes, saw Flynn hit a half-volley just wide after Taylor's lay-off.
Esajas fired wide for the home side but United were quickly back on the offensive, with McMahon going close with a long-ranger and Baxter replacing Cuvelier. Boss Weir's last change soon followed with McGinty taking over from McMahon at left-back on 72 minutes.
Both teams were keen not to make a mistake in the final 15 minutes, particularly with no extra-time in this JPT, and McFadzean did well to cut out a Dawson cross which looked set to reach Spencer, who headed the resulting corner wide. Hawkridge also pulled a shot wide for the home outfit.
Late on McGinty powered a shot wide and Coady's header from McGinn's corner was blocked whilst the final chance before the penalty shoot-out was a 25-yard Baxter shot, which was saved.
PENALTIES (Blades first)
Collins - scores - 0-1
Burton - scores - 1-1
Baxter - scores - 1-2
Dawson - scores - 2-2
Coady - scores - 2-3
Welsh - saved - 2-3
Taylor - scores - 2-4
Hawkridge - scores - 3-4
McGinty - scores - 3-5
Blades win 5-3 on pens
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson, Sparrow (Welsh 89), Nolan, McAllister, Esajas (Hawkridge 72), Spencer, Winnall (Burton 72).
Unused: Severn, Waterfall.
Blades: Howard, Westlake, Maguire, Flynn, McGinn, Collins, Cuvelier (Baxter 67), Coady, Ironside (Taylor 60), McFadzean, McMahon (McGinty 72).
Unused: Willis, Eyre.