Defensive lapses cost United the points at Bramall Lane today, as Cardiff claimed the points in a seven goal thriller!
Wantaway defender Matt Kilgallon was the centre of attention and recipient of boos from the Bramall Lane faithful after his incompetence aided Cardiff City’s cause, in their 4-3 victory.
Kevin Blackwell recalled Evans, Treacy, Little and Bennett to the starting line-up as the Blades converted back to 4-4-2, but were rocked thirty minutes in when Andy Taylor was withdrawn through injury, replaced by Jordan Stewart.
The majority of the action came in a five minute spell at the end of the first half, which saw the Blades twice come from behind to keep the scores all square at half-time.
Bothroyd, who had previously had a header chalked off for offside, thought the linesman had put a premature end to his celebrations on 41 minutes, but the referee overruled his assistant to award the goal. Chris Morgan’s clearance hit the back of Kyle Walker, before the former Charlton man stroked the ball past Bennett. Whilst it didn’t settle well with many Blades fans, there would have been heated discussions had it been at the other end.
Within a minute, Darius Henderson had levelled, as Kyle Walker’s ball wasn’t dealt with by Hudson, and the striker fired the ball past Marshall from the left hand side of the goal.
Henderson, doubled his tally, just two minutes later, Evans header was saved, but the big man was on hand to bag his brace with a looping header.
Somehow, the visitors had found time to re-take the lead in between the two goals, after Bothroyd had been brought down in the area, Peter Whittingham had stepped up to beat Bennett from twelve yards.
Ian Bennett was called into action early in the second half, saving comfortably from a Joe Ledley shot, but was powerless to Whittingham’s second of the game. A long throw from the right was not dealt with by Walker or Kilgallon, and Whittingham had chance to allow the ball to travel the width of the six yard box, before striking on the turn to put the Bluebirds back in the lead.
Henri Camara was given a debut and shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box, and Matt Kilgallon had two shots off target, but it was his display at the back that will have concerned the 25,000 in attendance. Incompetent positioning allowed Chopra and Bothroyd to stroll through the defence with no danger of offside, and square to Whittingham who was on hand at the far post to claim his hat-trick.
James Harper netted his second Blades goal in injury time, benefiting from good work by Camara and Quinn, and the latter thought he’d equalised in the dying moments, but his rebound from Walker’s shot was ruled out for offside.
Vital Sheff Utd: Shepsblade
Well, where to begin, I haven’t had my say for a while but felt that this was the ideal time. Scoring three goals at home, you would expect to win the game, and had it not been for the defensive display, they would have. So, where did it all go wrong?
All successful teams, have a strong spine, and on this performance, the Blades spine is slightly crooked as only one half of each partnership is putting the work in.
Up front, Darius Henderson is putting £3million Ched Evans to shame with the effort in his performance, and Stephen Quinn, despite being slightly frustrating at times likes to be part of the game that James Harper watches pass by for ninety minutes.
However, the most crucial partnership of them all, the heart of defence is what’s most worrying. Chris Morgan and Matt Kilgallon have seen a solid defensive partnership ruined, for what reason is only to be speculated about. A complete lack of communication was evident today, with the usually bullish Morgan neither praising nor criticising the ex Leeds man, who was involved in a significant manner.
The 10,11,12,13 injuries we’re hearing about so often can only be used as an excuse for so long, and United were only Nick Montgomery and Jamie Ward short of the team that was winning games at the start of the season.
“I thought we played very well at times but clearly the goals conceded are a big disappointment and perhaps they summed up how things are going for us at the moment.
“For the penalty Bothroyd who is six foot five inches tall went down like a rag doll, and when Morgan cleared the ball it hit Walker and fell to a Cardiff player who would have been offside otherwise.
“The third goal was the most disappointing because we had talked about the second ball being important, and their fourth came about because we were throwing people forward and was understandable.
We only had Morgan, Kilgallon and Henderson from the team that won at Cardiff towards the end of last season today whereas they had almost the same players still there.”
Cotterill and Quinn obviously don’t count. Also, whose fault is it Howard and Bromby aren’t there? You sold them and changed the side, injuries didn’t take them to Reading and Leeds.