MK Dons 0-1 Blades - report
The stats are adding up and it is making interesting reading for Blades fans
Thanks to Stefan Scougall's goal at MK Dons, that makes it seven wins on the bounce, four successive clean sheets and three 1-0 away wins on the spin.
Scougall's goal at stadium:mk capped yet another magnificent professional display by Nigel Clough's Blades.
Clough made two changes, including one enforced. Maguire did not recover from the knee injury he sustained at Colchester and was replaced in central defence by Hill. Additionally, Flynn took over from Davies, who dropped to the bench and was joined by 16-year-old first year apprentice Reed.
There was not a lot to excite either set of supporters in the opening 15 minutes, half-chances were all either side could muster. Chadwick failed to get on Powell's cross for the home side, whilst Baxter shot at the Dons goalkeeper and Murphy's effort, after cutting in from the left, was deflected wide. There was also a deflection on Lewington's shot, which resulted in a corner, from which a spell of pinball ended with Hill preventing McLeod getting in a shot at goal.
The Blades were hampered on 17 minutes when Brayford limped off, his place taken by Davies, who filled the right-back slot, but soon after the visitors were on the attack. Flynn's low cross was turned just wide by Scougall at the near post but the latter was more clinical a moment later. This time a through ball from Coady, after linking up with Baxter, saw the diminutive SCOUGALL scoot around three white shirts before sliding the ball in off the goalkeeper's right post.
The goal stemmed the noise from the home fans and despite United looking the more likely to score next, progress was again hindered by injury. Harris recovered from a knock but Murphy was forced to hobble off before the break and Porter took over, with Baxter moving out to the left.
Due to the substitution, a total of three minutes of added time was announced and the Blades were forced to defend three late corners to protect the slender lead.
The Blades began the second half well and came close to adding to the lead. Following a low cross from the left, Baxter's first effort was blocked and the second beat goalkeeper Martin but was kicked away by Spence, whilst a Doyle shot from the edge of the box was wide.
Dons boss Robinson was clearly not happy with his side's performance as he made a triple change on 52 minutes, including former Blades loanee Hall. Davies blocked an effort from one of the home subs, Odelusi, and Howard held a header from Kay from the resulting corner.
Davies curled a free-kick just wide following Hall's foul on Scougall but the Dons hit back with a spell of pressure, in doing so opening the game up. Baldock's shot was saved despite a deflection and Alli fired over from distance.
On 70 minutes, from Coady's through ball, Baxter had a good chance to double the lead but his shot was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Martin and at the other end Odelusi was causing a couple of problems, although Howard and Harris prevented him from levelling the scores. The Dons sub also headed wide a Lewington cross on 78 minutes.
Odelusi had become the home side's biggest threat and as the last ten minutes approached he headed wide once more. The Dons, however, were committing players forward and Baxter used the space to fire at goal on 81 minutes before injury forced Clough to use his final change - Kennedy replacing goalscorer Scougall.
Academy graduate defender Kennedy went in to re-enforce the back line as the pressure from the home side continued. Plenty of crosses were peppering United's box and from Lewington's centre a header from Odelusi was this time on target but straight at Howard.
Four minutes of added time was announced as the Blades attempted to hold on. Baxter was booked, despite appearing to get the ball, whilst the home side's final chance was messed up when McLeod and Baldock got in each other's way from Alli's cross.
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Cole (Odelusi 52), Chadwick (Smith 52), Reeves, McLeod, Alli, Powell (Hall 52), Baldock, Spence, Kay.
Unused: McLoughlin, Hickford, Collinge, Summerfield.
Blades: Howard, Harris, Brayford (Davies 17), Hill, Flynn, Doyle, Baxter, Collins, Coady, Scougall (Kennedy 81), Murphy (Porter 40).
Unused: Miller, Paynter, Long, Reed.