Date: 26th February 2011 at 9:18pm
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Sheffield United`s quest for third division football continued today as they slipped to a third straight defeat at home to Derby County.

It was a game that would have left neutrals salivating; not for the quality on show, but for the abysmal showing by both sides that would have made a coma more appealing.

Jonny Ertl replaced the suspended Shane Lowry at the heart of the defence, and Lee Williamson lined up against Michael Doyle in the centre of midfield.

Theo Robinson scored the only goal midway through the first half, and aside from a point-blank header that was tipped over by Frankie Fielding the game was completely without incident.

It leaves United six points from safety with only Preston North End below them.

The negatives
Shep’s view:
It’s rare I give opinions but after seeing ‘that’ I can’t help it. There are positives and negatives to take from any game so here goes:

The Positives:

The negatives
On Tuesday United went 2-0 and it was clear to see had little idea what to do when they were in front. Today, there was no chance of them going in front.

The previous two ‘must win’ games have come against sides scrapping for their lives, getting the odd result here and there but ultimately being amidst the same relegation scrap as the Blades. Today, United faced a side in freefall but who were there for the taking, and still they failed to capitalise. From back to front there were a handful of performances that couldn’t be described as incompetent, but on the whole, it’s the perfect word.

Steve Simonsen in goal was faultless for the goal, but if he could distribute the ball as long as he does high, the strikers may have a slight chance of winning it. Who am I kidding? Richard Cresswell winning something? no. The veteran (still with a couple of years on his deal) who captained the side today doesn’t win things, he dives into tackles, dives when he is tackled and has a first-touch that Carlton Palmer would be ashamed of. But let’s not forget… ‘He works hard.’

Alongside him Ched Evans is one of the few that can take some dignity, but it’s too little too late from the Welshman who you feel is putting himself in the shop window for next season. 18 months of abject performances have disappeared as Evans finally shows the quality we were promised following his £750,000 deal from Manchester City. Perhaps if he’d worked on match fitness a little sooner the goals would have come under a previous regime and we wouldn’t have struggled at the start of the season.

Marcus Bent, Daniel Bogdanovic and Sam Vokes all came on in the second-half and were ineffectual, through little fault of their own. It’s all well and good having the strikers on the pitch, but without the service what are they supposed to do?

That service is expected to come from midfield, but it’s unlikely with the ‘creative’ Mark Yeates on the bench. Yeates who can be frustrating at times must have been pulling his hair out (figure of speech) watching the ball continuously break down in advanced positions.

One man who finished on the bench after starting the game was Stephen Quinn. The Irishman usually bears the brunt of fans criticism, but today was a rare highlight on the field. Before people get confused and think this should be in the positives column, his showing was far from excellent, and was fairly mediocre. This should give those who weren’t there some idea of how the rest performed.

Williamson struggled, Doyle looked uniterested and Bjorne Helge Riise for his ball playing ability is not a winger!

What is a problem, is when the standout performer in the backline is Nyron Nosworthy and even more worryingly it was the second successive game. Whilst he looks uncomfortable going forward and that unorthodox throwing is more hindrance than help, he defended much better than his compatriots.

Jonny Ertl’s use of the ball was poor at best but looked like Rio Ferdinand next to Neill Collins who missed his calling in life as a winger. Collins is more than happy to collect the ball from the goalkeeper and make use of it, yet throw a routine ball to him and he’s unable to defend. Over on the left young Matt Lowton is little better. I don’t like to criticise youngsters, especially local youngsters who have developed through the academy but Lowton is simply not the solution at left-back. The imbalance is incredible as his inability to use his left-foot constantly leaves him very one dimensional, usually looping the ball goalwards and hoping for the best.

All in all, a poor showing, a poor side and poor spectacle week after week. Why? Because this is a very poor team. Misfits is a word that’s thrown about referring to this team, and you have to feel it’s apt. What happened to the partnerships? Even as recently we’ve been used to seeing a team develop with a core to it, but not now.

No leader, no flair and no creativity. Say goodbye to Elland Road, the City Ground and 20,000 plus attendances. Unwanted trips to Oldham, Rochdale, and worst of all, the decrepit Hillsborough await.


6 Replies to “Blades Ram Raided in Abysmal Game”

  • I’ve given Adams the benefit of the doubt – After all he started fairly brightly at the club and we saw some decent performances with no reward (Norwich & Leicester spring to mind). But today was just awful!!! His decisions are just bizzare? 1. Why take off Quinn when he was having one of his best games for months? 2. Why play Riise on the wing when he’s so much more effective in the middle? 3. Why on earth sign Collins when he’s just an awful centre back. 4. WHY WHY WHY play Cresswell AND make him captain AGAIN???? What is it gonna take for Adams to realise that one of our main problems up front is Cresswell!! The football today was just terrible. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but since Bassett’s arrival all our players have done is hit aimless balls as long and high into the air as they can. F***ing atrocious!!!

  • Not much in your negatives column to disagree with, Sheps. Having seen a good performance in many areas at Palace, I was (mildly) encouraged for Scunny & yesterday. The defensive comedy at Scunny soon destroyed that illusion, then yesterdays total capitulation without the least hint of fight – with the notable execption of Stephen Quinn – just confirms the realisation that its just about all over. For me Williamson and Doyle are a complete waste of space in midfield, and the main reason that wide (?) men or strikers arent seeing the ball. Williamson has no pace whatsoever, cant go longer than a hour and as for Doyle, words fail me. And one correction to your comment on Nyron, Sheps, thats the third match in a row he has stood out, he was MOTM at Palace!

  • Sad and depressing with relegation seemingly inevitable. Unfortunately yet another bad choice of manager – I at first believed it was not his fault as he inherited a poor squad but some of his signings (Doyle and Collins especially) have made it worse and the better signings like Riise and Vokes have not really worked because of poor tactics and team selection. Where next? I honestly don’t know any longer. My gut instinct is to accept the inevitable and start a major clear out. I’d like to start with McCabe though that is unlikely unless a serious buyer appears (currently equally unlikely). Afraid MA has to go (not to be replaced by Bassett please) to be replaced by a young lower league manager with drive and ambition – they do exist – suggestions? As for the players – hard to say who is worth keeping – any thoughts?

  • Just got back from having to work in us over bad was it then? Did fans turn onplayers and club? My old mans report of crap as all I got to hear! Once relegation is confirmed I think a big clear out is duly needed – km only goes when someone wants to buy it but adams needs to go first then all bar probably simmo, morgs, lowton- sod the rest they ain’t got the attitude required… Ched def playing for move but who can blame him, the rest I’ve no time for- even mints has been half hearted this season- too many happy picking up wages and not working hard…start again next season and let’s have a year or two tonsort it all out and then come back up…Bassett wants to be gone and a Keith hill type brought in

  • i dont think we play much different now to how we did under blackwell – the difference being KB had a stronger defence and a dominating centre forward in hendo…we never created chances really in his last full season, (and to an extent the second half of the 08/09 season) but woudl score with our one or two chances then be strong enough with the experience and ability of morgs, ugo (for a while) killa, naysmith,two kyles / halfords to hold on comfortably…the policy of selling and replacing with loans is the major undoing of it all but the style of play has long been questionable whcih for me hasnt helped – the team hasnt been set up to create goals since it got relegated really and that is wrong..and in league one theres o pont trying for a one nil it doesnt happen you have to be attacking to go anywhere

  • MA will be out within 3 months with Basset taking over for the summer. We are going down, just how soon we get it confirmed. Sad, very sad. I love united but MA wasn’t the man, but who the hell could have been?

    Let’s just hope we get something sorted for the start of next season… 12 games to go and I have given up…

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