9/11/2018 7:45 pm
|Sheffield United||Sheffield Wednesday|
|Clarke||McGoldrick 75||Matias||Penny 79|
The Steel City derby honours were shared after United and Wednesday saw out a second successive 0-0 draw at Bramall Lane. United completely dominated the game from start to finish in terms of possession, attempts on goal and play but a penalty save from Cameron Dawson and saved at the beginning and the end meant Wednesday somehow got out with a point. United played some lovely football and controlled proceedings but will have been disappointed with their play in the final third when they did not enough to break down a determined defensive rear-guard.
Played in front of abysmal weather conditions, Wilder brought back Basham, Duffy and McGoldrick for Cranie, Coutts and Clarke. Wednesday did not feature Forestieri despite rumours he may make the match day squad and went with one up top; Fletcher in a very defensive looking formation. After the Remembrance Day tributes pre-match were observed the game kicked off and United were straight on the front foot. Within a few minutes neat football saw the ball moved across and Fleck hit a shot that stung the palms of Dawson. O’Connell got on the end of the corner but nodded over. Wednesday were on the back foot and Duffy was prompting and probing and Stevens ball just evaded a United attacker. A rare break saw Fox get on the end of a deep cross but his effort went over under pressure from Freeman.
On 15 minutes more, slick football saw McGoldrick link well with Duffy and the United man was felled under Fox’s challenge. It seemed a fairly routine decision and referee Madley immediately pointed to the spot. McGoldrick had scored all his efforts this season but this time his effort was palmed round the post from Dawson who made an excellent save. The corner came to nothing and United had to bounce back from this disappointment.
United won a number of other corners and then Sharp could not quite direct his effort. Norwood shot wide and then Stevens again got in the left-hand side but his cross was cleared. It had been one-way traffic all game. Fleck then probed and linked well with Duffy but Wednesday held firm. Duffy then had a cross shot headed wide by Hector which seemed on target. Baker then scrambled clear after another incisive move.
The second half saw United continue in the ascendancy. McGoldrick came inside and hit a shot but Dawson saved this one comfortably. Basham then got in but his cross was cleared. The game became scrappy for a spell and Wednesday had not been defending as deep as the first half as United started to not quite have the same level of control in the final third; even though they were dominating the football.
Reach had a long-range effort well over but it was back the other way quickly enough and Stevens drew a bad foul on Banana who got booked. Mattias who came on nearly got in by Henderson and Freeman blocked the opportunity out. Clarke came on for McGoldrick but United had not create as many clear openings this half despite having much more of the ball again. Duffy had a low shot saved by Dawson and United won two more corners but O’Connell mistimed his jump again. Norwood gave it away cheaply and as with the game last year United were always concerned about conceding a smash and grab goal.
Hector then got booked for wrestling Clarke down before Mattias had an effort that Henderson save easily. The game went into three minutes of additional time and in this time United had two chance and Sharp flashed his header just wide from a Norwood corner. Then after Clarke was fouled again; Norwood had the final chance but his free kick was beat away by the man of the match Dawson and that was the last moment of the game. As they did last year the Wednesday fans celebrated the 0-0 draw like a victory whilst the United fans trooped away disappointed.
After reflecting back on the game both sets of fans may see things differently. United proved again they are a really good side, that just lack a bit of cutting edge and penetration and the ruthlessness they need. Wednesday showed some heart and gusto and were resolute but never really tried to attack. If both teams replicate those levels of performance week in, week out, United will finish near the top and Wednesday will finish near the bottom. Still a disappointing night for the Blades when a poor Owls team was there for the taking but we did not do enough to get the win our performance deserved.
United – Lots of good things. First half we were very good and dominated and should have been a few goals up. The penalty goes in and the game changes and they cannot defend anymore like they were doing but the longer the game goes on; the more they can sit back. We played some lovely stuff and the football again was excellent. We had some ok chances but nothing clear cut. I felt still we had enough control, possession, play in the final third, corners and enough of the ball to make it count. We should have been winning by a few goals at half time. They were not in the game.
2nd half we never quite had the domination we did first half but still were better but it was too slow to be moved forward and we did not penetrate enough. We took too many touches and allowed them to get all 11 behind the ball. I felt we kind of were a bit toothless and no one showed the gusto to run at them and draw men. If we had advanced more bodies forward or committed the defenders more; we may have got chances. We did dominate but other than the Fleck and Norwood long range efforts at the beginning and end and the penalty miss; how many clear chances or saves occurred. That is disappointing for all the good play. It was not as if they were tremendous or defended brilliantly. We just took too long to move it and overplayed. We needed to get more crosses in the box, take more shots and take more of a risk. We kept it but did little meaningful with it.
No one played really badly but no one was outstanding. Our players and team were all good but not very good the level we needed to beat a poor opponent. Forget who it was; we have to be better to break teams down like that; especially one who had not kept a clean sheet all season till tonight.
We had our best 11 out and some decent options on the bench in Clarke and Coutts but still lacked that thrust to me. It was all nice and pretty but not ruthless and reminded me of many games last year post Xmas. The sort of performance once again that was good and nice to watch but makes you think we might be a bit short again for the top 6. We need to get those extra options at the top of the pitch to make it count in such games. We had no pace or Duffy alternative to really go and stretch them and in the end other than the late free kick they saw us out fairly comfortably despite our possession advantage.
Not going to get too down in the dumps. We still are a good side to watch. We are still a damn sight better than them and will finish higher in the league.
Wednesday – They got a point and battled hard. They were garbage and very negative though. Barely kept the ball for more than 2 passes all game and just had 11 behind the ball. Suppose it worked but it was awful to watch. They play like that the rest of the season and they might do down as there was no attempt to try and even win the game.
They can celebrate wildly their point but in 3 or 4 games they will lose a few more on that type of approach and want the manager ousted still. In the long term the result might not be the best for them as the manager will remain before inevitably being sacked.
Shows how the mighty have fallen when they are defending desperately against us and delighted to get a point Football wise there is no comparison between the two side. They may mock and saw that got us the same result as them but over the course of a longer period; our play will yield greater rewards.
Opponent man of the match – Dawson was man of the match with the crucial save and some other decent saves. The defence played ok but everyone was more workmanlike than playing well. Not sure one of their players touched the ball more than 4 or 5 times each half to even merit a mention. They just kept their shape and positions without needed to.
Weak link – Not sure anyone was bad. Fletcher barely had a kick and the wing backs got pulled apart. Fox gave a penalty away and missed their only decent chance so maybe he wins this award.
Henderson 7/10 – Nothing to do. What he did he dealt with fairly comfortably.
Freeman 6.5/10 – Did not get forward as much and felt he was slow to react to a few things and a bit sloppy.
Stevens 7.5/10 – Played well. Felt he was our best defender and really bombed on and gave us an outlet. Few cracking balls in that no one got on the end of.
Egan 7/10 – Steady enough under no real pressure. An easy game defensively.
O’Connell 6/10 – Thought he was our poorest player. Seemed to be slow to react to things. Slice a few out and mistimes his headers defensively and attacking. He had no idea how to time a leap and missed two decent corner chances.
Basham 7/10 – Good to have him back. Defended completely and got forward when he could but so hard to find gaps against so many men back.
Fleck 7/10 – Better performance than he has shown recently and at least showed flashes of driving at defenders etc. Had one good shot. Felt he faded 2nd half.
Norwood 7/10 – Steady game and pinged a few passes about but not sure he hurt them enough where it mattered and most of his play was too deep to hurt them.
Duffy 7/10 – Got man of the match but not sure he did enough for that award. First half he was good and got on the ball and showed his quality but 2nd half not sure we saw enough. Like with others hard to make a difference with so little space. He could have moved it on a bit quicker I felt at times but that is nit-picking.
Sharp 7/10 – Worked hard; held it up and tried to bring others into play. Had one chance – the header flash wide and would be annoyed not to see more balls come into the box. Desperate to score the winner I am sure but needs better service. Everything was too slow to come into the strikers.
McGoldrick 6.5/10 – His general play was decent and had some good runs and intelligent lay offs and interchange but missed the big chance from the spot. Did not go under and kept going but 2nd half nothing came clear to him other than one half chance he made himself.
Clarke – Did ok actually and won 2 free kicks in decent positions with his strong running and hold off play.
Wilder 7/10 – Performance is decent to good but we did not win. Team was the team most would pick and sub was fine when we were chasing the win. Be annoyed we have not beaten twice now in two games at the Lane when we have been better in both but not created enough clear chances.
Referee – Madley was ok. The pen seemed obvious as did all the bookings. I felt that he gave them a few 50-50 first half but maybe that is just me with my home blinkers on. The advantage rule he used well. He will be complimented on a decent performance I am sure.
Crowd – Like last year; at times it was very noisy and the atmosphere crackled but with little genuine goalmouth action; it meant it was hard for the home side to turn up the volume. Sometimes you feel in games like this; the nerves are that much it is hard to make a constant noise.
Report by Deadbat_DB