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U23s 2-2 Stoke - report

25 January 2017

United's U23s drew with top-flight opposition in the Premier League Cup at Bramall Lane on Wednesday evening.

And for long period it looked like goals from Tyler Smith and Jordan Hallam would be enough to beat Stoke City, for whom George Waring scoring a well-taken brace to ensure a point for the Potters.

On a bitterly cold night it was a frantic opening with both teams scoring inside 10 minutes.

Firstly, the Blades took the lead as SMITH applied the finishing touch from close-range after Brooks and Hallam had linked up to get the advancing Kelly behind the Stoke defence. But City levelled six minutes later as WARING capitalised on a slip by Ramsdale who was attempting to keep a over hit back pass in play.

But the home stopper redeemed himself three times in quick succession moments later. After Ngoy had shown Graham a clean pair of heals, Ramsdale made himself big to save with his legs, before making a superb double save to deny Waddington and then Waring on the rebound.

And in the 19th minute, the Blades went back in front, scoring a fantastic team goal that began deep inside their own half. Gilmour started the move, before Kelly advanced down the left, he played the ball to Brooks, who picked out the run of HALLAM, following an excellent first touch the striker calmly finished past the outstretched arm of Bachmann. In response, Ramsdale was again needed to deny Devlin with a header at the back post, before Dunwoody fired against the post from distance.

As the first-half progressed, United grew further into the game and had appeals for a penalty waved away as Bennett and Dunwoody clashed, after another sweeping team move. Stoke always looked dangerous themselves though, with Waddington and Waring in particular causing United problems. The last meaningful action of the first period saw Brooks sting the palms of Bachmann after some fancy footwork, whilst Ramsdale was down quickly to deny Jarvis.

The opening exchanges of the second period were scrappy, with neither team able to establish control of the contest. The first effort of note came from the head of Stoke's Souttar from a right-wing corner but it went wide.

With 23 minutes remaining, Cummings replaced Graham. United were defending well and limiting Stoke into long balls forward in the direction of Waring. As the clocked ticked down, with goalscoring opportunities at a premium, Greaves replaced Mallon in the 77th minute.

Stoke were gradually pushing the Blades deeper and deeper and with seven minutes levelled. Substitute Telford hooked the ball over the Blades back line and WARING timed his run perfectly before controlling and finishing with his left-foot, giving Ramsdale no chance.

The visitors thought they had snatched a late winner with two minutes left to play. A long ball forward saw Waring get the better of Cummings, despite it looking like and foul and he teed up Telford up hit the underside of the crossbar from twelve yards out.

Three minutes of injury-time were signalled, but in the end both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Blades: Ramsdale, Bennett, Mallon (Greaves 77), Graham (Cummings 67), Kelly, Semple, Slater, Gilmour, Hallam, Brooks, T. Smith.
Unused: Eastwood, Cantrill, Doherty.

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