Blades 5-1 Notts Co - report
United are safely through to the northern-area quarter-finals of the Jonstone's Paint Trophy after a comprehensive victory over League Two Notts County at Bramall Lane.
Jose Baxter netted twice from the penalty spot either side of Matt Done's second goal of the season in the first-half, before Stefan Scougall and a Che Adams spot-kick rounded off the win in the second period, after Jon Stead had given County hope.
For the second round tie, boss Adkins was forced into a number of changes. Long replaced Howard in goal, whilst McEveley returned as skipper. Adams was recalled in attack and Done was handed a first start of the season. Amongst the absentees were Basham (suspended), Flynn (groin) and Edgar (hamstring).
Under the Bramall Lane lights, it was United who had the first chance of the game. A short corner routine on the left was executed well between Baxter, Campbell-Ryce and Scougall and the latter saw his shot saved at the near post by Loach.
Having dominated the opening exchanges, the Blades took the lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, after referee Boyeson adjudged Audel had impeded the advancing Campbell-Ryce. From twelve yards, BAXTER powerfully slotted the ball home.
County's response was almost immediate though, as Campbell played in Noble, who sprang the offside trap before lobbing against the crossbar and that miss would prove costly as the Blades doubled the lead with the next attack.
Woolford started the move at the back and it was Adams in the middle of the park that played the defence splitting pass for DONE to race on to before calmly lifting the ball over the onrushing Loach.
On the half hour, Scougall engineered an opening for himself before shooting inches wide, but in the 36th minute the hosts made it three with another penalty. This time Hollis was the guilty party, fouling Adams and BAXTER sent Loach the wrong way to net his second.
On the stroke of half-time, Long was alert to save from Burke and from the resulting corner Hollis headed over from close-range.
At the beginning of the second period, a misjudgement from McGahey allowed substitute Stead a sight of goal but Long was out smartly to deny the former Blade. At the other end, Adams just failed to connect with Done's left-wing cross and likewise Baxter from Woolford's inswinging free-kick.
Just after the hour, County gave themselves a potential lifeline. Hewitt broke swiftly down the right and STEAD was on hand to apply the finishing touch at the back post. But hopes of comeback were quickly extinguished as SCOUGALL combined with Campbell-Ryce from a quickly taken corner to net in front of the Kop.
In the 74th minute, four became five and the visitors were reduced to ten men as Hollis saw red for a foul on ADAMS, who duly dusted himself down before beating Loach from the penalty spot, the first time United have ever scored three penalties in a competitive fixture.
With progression to the next round in the bag, Campbell-Ryce got the home crowd out of their seats on numerous occasions with some dazzling footwork before being replaced by Sammon and the full-time whistle was greeted with a standing ovation from three sides of Bramall Lane.
Blades: Long, Freeman, McGahey, McEveley, Woolford; Campbell-Ryce (Sammon 84), Baxter (Coutts 71), Reed, Scougall, Done (K. Wallace 71); Adams.
Unused: Howard, Sharp.
Notts Co: Loach, Hollis, Noble, Hewitt, Barmby, Campbell, Burke (Swerts 45), Audel, Aborah (Smith 58), Edwards (Stead 45) McLeod.
Unused: Sprockel, Pilkington.