Report courtesy of Gloucblade
This was one of those games that we will look back at the end of the season and remember that it was one of those crazy results. United enjoyed the majority of possession, controlled large chunks of a game against a team struggling to find any kind of pattern this season and after having equalised, only one team was going to go on and win the game. … wrong, once again United were their own worst enemy and threw points away.
The Blades following were delighted to see Killa warming up along with new signing Jon Fortune. The tried and tested away formation of 4-5-1 relegated Evans to the bench, Quinn coming back into a five man midfield and Cotterill replacing the injured Ward, with Henderson charged with the “one up front” role.
From the off it was clear that full backs Taylor and Walker would push forward using the width of the Liberty pitch. Both put in good early crosses. Nathan Dyer was seeing a great deal of the ball, but most of the time Andy Taylor came out on top, even finding space to get forward down the left. In the second half Dyer moved inside to look for a bit more room.
Treacy’s injury after just half an hour brought Evans on who slotted in just behind Henderson infront of a central midfield where Harper was in a holding role with Monty sitting infront of the back four.
Bunn saved a Dyer drive down to his left after United had started brightly, winning a number of corners. Early chances for Henderson and Evans came to nothing, but Cotterill was causing the Swans problems down the right side. Swans grew in confidence after the early skirmishes and showed flashes of last seasons form.
Referee Deadman and his assistant on United’s left touchline made some strange decisions, with one very late offside flag and some mystifying free kick awards. Neither keeper had worked very hard in the first half. Killgallon slotted back in comfortably and he and Morgs rarely looked troubled.
Cotterill continued to cause Swan’s problems out wide early in the second half, cutting in and also working hard at tracking back. Evans blasted a 25 yard free kick over as United continued to push forward. From that Swansea went down the other end and the ball found its way to a pedestrian Trundle who clashed with Monty on the edge of the penalty area, and after catching up with play to look at where the incident had happened, a few seconds later Mr. Deadman pointed to the spot and Trundle sent Bunn the wrong way to put Swans 1 – 0 ahead.
United stormed back, Quinn working hard in a midfield role which allowed him to roam more, getting forward whenever possible and benefiting from the ever improving Harper’s central midfield link up.
Blades fans thought Evans had equalised on the hour mark but he was ruled offside from a position two yards from goal, following up a shot rebounding off the Swan’s keeper. Blades fans would like to have seen a replay of that one!
Harper was getting forward as United pushed for the equaliser. Walker was raiding down the right and linking well with Cotterill. The pair continuing to put in good crosses. It was from one of these that Harper, on the edge of the box, shot and Quinn with the ball going across him, back flicked the ball into the corner of the net right infront of the Blades fans.
There was now continued pressure on the Swan’s goal and Lopez’s desperate lunge at Evans was met with the second yellow, lots of shoulder shrugging and an early bath.
With Swansea down to 10 men United pressed forward with 10 minutes left. Tom Butler – who had tormented United in this fixture last season – was on as a sub after an hour and found space in the hole left by Walker’s forward foraging, took a pass from Dyer, and fired in a shot from outside the box which clipped Bunn’s right post and spun in. The second long range shot that has found its way past the keeper recently.
Both teams had chances in the 6 minutes of added time. United’s desperate attempts to pinch another equaliser was leaving holes at the back.
Little came on and showed some good control, but a game that United should certainly have got something from had slipped away from them.
Vital Sheff Utd: Gloucblade
Swansea are a very average side, certainly not the confident footballing side from last season. They lack any striking threat up front, but in Dyer and Butler they have pace out wide who are always likely to cause problems. United should have taken something from the game but recent habits of conceding soft goals and breakaways is very worrying.
The successful away formation of 4-5-1 is tried and tested, and with two pacy genuine wingers United are better equipped to give the loan striker better support. This along with Harper’s improving fitness and ability to get forward where he is most dangerous releases Quinn to roam more. But at both Coventry and Swansea United have given away a string of soft goals. Killas absence at Coventry was certainly one reason, but perhaps the need for a back to the basics that was the foundation of last seasons away successes is now needed.
“I’m not complaining about the performance because we dominated most of the game. But if you give goals away like we did, you won’t win games.
“We started strongly, with a string of corners and after they had a 25-minute spell we were on top again going into the break.
“We are so comfortable playing away from home now that we were like the home side and then they get two goals from breakaways. We probably thought that it would just happen for us but we go back with nothing in our pocket and a lesson learned.
“When you are on top you have to kill teams off and hurt people with deliveries, which we didn’t do.
“We were aware that they hadn’t done very well recently and there would be frustration in the crowd but credit to Swansea, they battled for their lives, which is frustrating because Mark Bunn has picked the ball out of the net twice and virtually had nothing else to do.”