Fleetwood 1-1 Blades - report
United's first ever senior meeting with Fleetwood Town ended with the spoils shared.
At Highbury Stadium, 1,285 Blades fans saw Bob Harris give the visitors the lead on eight minutes but Antoni Sarcevic levelled eight minutes into the second half.
The second half was full of chances with the Blades shading proceedings but a winning goal remained elusive.
Clough made three changes with Wallace making his first start following his switch from Ilkeston last month - loanees McCarthy and O'Grady also took starting shirts. Campbell-Ryce and Basham dropped to the bench, whilst Scougall missed out through injury.
As the Unitedites sang in the cold, the make up of the team in the early moments became evident. Flynn was again at right-back, Baxter and Wallace were part of a three-man midfield with Murphy in front of them - O'Grady and Higdon were the front two.
The Blades, wearing yellow, began well and a short free-kick brought the game's first chance on five minutes. Baxter and Wallace were involved before Murphy found space on the left but his shot was pushed away by goalkeeper Maxwell, just out of the reach of O'Grady.
It was just a couple of moments, however, before United took the lead, the goal coming from an unusual source - the right foot of left-back HARRIS, who one-twoed with Baxter before drilling into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
After the goal, the Blades settled into a shape of keeping the home side away from Howard's goal. Fleetwood's first opportunity came on 16 minutes, a long range effort from Matty Hughes after a couple of turns, whilst their only other effort of note in the first half was Proctor's shot from the edge of the box, which fizzed wide.
For United, Wallace saw a lot of the ball on his debut, whilst Murphy's positioning saw him cause Fleetwood problems and he went close on 34 minutes, shooting from distance, which forced Maxwell into a save.
The momentum remained with the Blades early in the second half with O'Grady shooting wide and Baxter drilling a free-kick into the wall.
However, the tables soon turned. Howard parried an Evans shot and McCarthy did well to prevent Matty Hughes latching on to the rebound but Fleetwood were level on 53 minutes. Morris delivered a deep cross from the left and SARCEVIC's header was well placed over a number of Blades defenders into the top corner.
Central defenders McEveley and McCarthy were booked in quick succession as United regained composure. The action returned to the other end and from a Wallace pass, O'Grady's shot was saved by Maxwell's body and then Higdon headed wide a Harris cross.
The entertainment value continued as a run and shot from Proctor rolled just wide and Sarcevic was theatrical as he fell between McEveley and Murphy, looking for a penalty. Howard also saved a long-range effort from Andrew.
Basham replaced Baxter and before McNulty took over from Higdon five minutes later, the Blades had gone close three times. Wallace and O'Grady brought saves out of Maxwell and Flynn fired just wide.
The chances continued. Murphy beat three on a run from the halfway line and found Flynn, but his shot as saved by Maxwell and Sarcevic took advantage of McCarthy's slip but Howard saved and the defence tidied up.
The tiring Wallace was given an ovation by the Blades fans when he was replaced by Cuvelier. Morris curled over a free-kick for the home side in the final ten minutes and a dipping shot from Haughton was close soon after.
With three minutes to go Cuvelier volleyed over after Fleetwood could only half-clear a free-kick and the tension inside the ground was evident as the three minutes of injury-time was played out, including a very late Blades corner.
Fleetwood: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Andrew, Roberts, Evans (Haughton 82), J. Hughes, Morris, Sarcevic, Proctor, M. Hughes, Jordan.
Unused: Schumacher, Dobbie, Davies, Haughton, Hitchcock, Bleeker, Cartwright.
Blades:<.b> Howard, Harris, Flynn, Doyle, Murphy, Baxter (Basham 69), McEveley, Higdon (McNulty 74), McCarthy, O'Grady, K. Wallace (Cuvelier 78).
Unused: McGahey, Campbell-Ryce, Turner, Adams.