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U21s 2-1 Ipswich - report

18 April 2016

United's U21s got the result needed to secure a top two finish and subsequent play-off berth in the Professional Development League, by beating Ipswich at Bramall Lane on Monday afternoon.

First-half strikes from trialist Alex O'Hanlon and Jamie McDonagh put the Blades in command against the Tractor Boys and despite an improved showing from Town in the second-half, Teddy Bishop's goal wasn't enough, with the home side even having the luxury of missing a penalty with the final kick of the contest through Diego De Girolamo.

United took the lead in the seventh minute, Gilmour robbed McKendry on the halfway line, before freeing O'HANLON who cut inside from the left and netted confidently with his right foot.

The Blades continued to control the game as the first-half progressed and duly doubled the lead in the 27th minute. Brooks drove at the Town defence, fed the ball into the feet of De Girolamo and after Town failed to clear, MCDONAGH side footed home from inside the box.

Before the break, McDonagh could have made it three, but after Gilmour played him in, the striker was denied by Town stopper Crowe. Then, De Girolamo was denied twice in quick succession, firstly Crowe saved, before Robinson and Fowler combined to somehow keep the ball out. From the resulting corner, Kennedy headed straight at Crowe.

Ipswich began the second-half brightly; McKendry drew a save from Ramsdale, before Paterson fired inches wide from long-range. And on the hour, Town gave themselves hope. After McKendry was fouled by Gilmour, Benyu found the advancing run of BISHOP, who calmly slotted past Ramsdale from close-range.

The Blades were struggling to get a foothold in the second period and with 20 minutes remaining Gordon was introduced in place of Kennedy, with Banton moving to centre-half. The Tractor Boys continued to press forward and only a deflection prevented Bishop from getting a second after the ball fell kindly following Benyu's run at the home defence.

Cummings replaced trialist Graham and from Reed's through ball, De Girolamo stung the palms of Crowe, as the Blades looked for a third goal. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Coustrain replaced Brooks, as United controlled possession more.

With the final action of the game, De Girolamo was denied by Crowe from the penalty spot, after the goalkeeper had been adjudged to have upended United's number 10 in the box. But it mattered not as the Blades guaranteed themselves a place in the play-offs.

Blades: Ramsdale, Banton, Brown, Gilmour, Kennedy (Gordon 70), Graham (Cummings 76), Brooks (Coustrain 81), Reed, McDonagh, De Girolamo, O'Hanlon.
Unused: Eastwood, Cockerline.

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