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Match Reports

Blades v Fulham

26 January 2014

Blades 1-1 Fulham - report

Blades 1-1 Fulham - match report

The Blades matched Premiership opposition once again and remain in the FA Cup.

In an entertaining game at a wet and windy Bramall Lane, Chris Porter gave the Blades the lead before Hugo Rodallega levelled.

The Blades played most of the second half without Porter, Harry Maguire or Michael Doyle, who was sent off, but a massive effort earned Nigel Clough's side a replay.

After a couple of pitch inspections by referee Andre Marriner, the game was given the go-ahead to kick-off and the incessant rain continued as the action got underway.

Brayford was handed a debut from the start as boss Clough made three changes from the side that drew with Bradford City in the last league encounter. Coady and Porter were recalled in place of McMahon, Paynter and McGinn, the latter dropping to the bench. Also amongst the Blades substitutes were new boys Scougall and Harris, plus 18-year-old De Girolamo. Fulham, meanwhile, made a total of 11 changes.

Murphy won an early free-kick and Porter attempted to get in ahead of Hughes as the Blades looked the first to adapt to the conditions. The visitors, however, hit back with Long having to block out David and Rodallega heading over a Karagounis cross, although they had to make a change on ten minutes with Riise limping off.

As the rain came down heavier at the midway point in the first half, Baxter curled a free-kick wide after Porter was fouled by Hughes, whilst a Kasami cross at the other end stopped in the mud.

The rain had eased and the sun had broken through just as the Blades grabbed th e lead on 31 minutes. Both Collins and Maguire brought the ball out of defence and it was the latter's shot/cross which PORTER deflected past Stockdale at the Bramall Lane end.

The goal was the catalyst for a spell of action at both ends. Long powered off his line and did just enough to prevent Rodallega getting in a shot, whilst two Baxter shots saw one saved and other blocked. Collins also did well to prevent Kasami making progress after a mix-up with Hill.

Up until the break, the Blades looked comfortable, although Maguire did pick up a knock in injury-time following a clash with Rodallega.

Maguire re-appeared for the second half and so did Scougall, the new signing replacing Porter. Early on Kasami shot wide and it was soon clear that Maguire had not recovered from the earlier knock and was replaced by another new boy, Harris, who went in to left back and Hill moved inside to a central role.

Baxter shot at Stockdale after good work by Scougall and Coady but there was another reshape for Clough when Doyle was shown a straight red card following a clash with David. Scougall dropped into a midfield role but the next effort was from the Blades - a break from Brayford resulting in Flynn seeing his shot saved by Stockdale's legs on 55 minutes.

Fulham threw on Bent and the visitors were appealing for a penalty when Kasami went down under a Hill challenge but the referee waved play on. The Blades were still attempting to force the visitors back and a couple of runs by Murphy and a Baxter shot kept the fans on the edge of their seats.

Karagounis had a free-kick blocked and fired another effort from distance at Long but again the Blades remained an offensive force. On 70 minutes, another mazy Flynn run was ended by a Hughes tackle but again no penalty was awarded - the Blades were so incensed with the failure to award a spot-kick that referee Marriner was fetched over to speak to Clough.

Insult was added five minutes later. Karagounis and Duff were involved before Tankovic laid off for RODALLEGA to fire powerfully into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Murphy remained a threat and Passley was booked for halting him, whilst on the other flank Flynn was causing problems for Duff. With the game becoming stretched, Fulham were also having their moments - on 83 minutes Senderos headed against the crossbar from Kasami's cross and Hill cleared up in the ensuing scramble.

For the final five minutes McGinn replaced the tiring Baxter and Fulham missed an open goal late on. Kasami headed a Senderos shot across goal and Bent, at the back post, failed to hit the target.

Rodallega mis-kicked as Fulham came close to adding winner just before four minutes of injury time was announced. In the added period Senderos added himself to the attack and the Blades fans did their utmost to inspire the players to one last push.

In the final added minute an effort from Taarabt was deflected wide and the resulting corner saw Harris kick clear before huge applause from the Blades fans met the final whistle.

Blades: Long, Brayford, Maguire (Harris 47), Hill, Flynn, Doyle, Porter (Scougall 45), Baxter (McGinn 84), Collins, Coady, Murphy.
Unused: Howard, Miller, Kennedy, De Girolamo.

Fulham: Stockdale, Riise (Plumain 10, Taarabt 67), Senderos, Kasami, Karagounis, Duff, Hughes, Rodallega, David (Bent 57), Tankovic, Passley.
Unused: Stekelenburg, Kacaniklic, Taarabt, Christiansen, Pritchard.

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