Olly writes his latest for Vital Football following yesterday’s win over Rotherham.
I was back on the Kop getting soaked and shivering for the game yesterday at BDTBL. It was an early start, presumably for South Yorkshire police expecting trouble (which we never have with Rotherham fans!). As you can expect, it was a big crowd at the Lane, what with Rotherham bringing a large following twelve miles down the road with them.
There were a couple of changes to the starting line-up, Hogan and Duffy started and I did wonder whether CW was expecting an easier ride at home having Sharp on the bench. Hogan did okay to be honest, kept running at defenders and showed that he’s got some pace. He nearly caught the Rotherham keeper, Rodak, out on a couple of occasions, but was pretty pacey throughout.
We started off fantastically again though, a goal within five minutes from JOC, which must have been straight from the training ground as we usually see JOC on the far stick, but this time he was at the near post and turned in the corner to the far side of the onion bag.
After that we did press a lot more, and aimed to take advantage of the twenty-eight minute sending off of Vaulks. A few people around me on the Kop were a bit taken aback by some of our play though, after the sending off Rotherham seemed to camp themselves in their own half. We pressed and pressed, but kept possession by just knocking the ball about from one side of the pitch to the other, with not too many runs against the opposition. I would have thought, as others did as well, that we would have gone in for the kill. Perhaps it’s a bit more difficult to break down the team that’s parked their bus in their own eighteen yard area. It was pretty frustrating watching this type of football, but I suppose winning by one goal was enough at the time.
We seemed to stick in second gear from the start of the second half as well. The same type of play from the latter half of the first period was confusing us on the Kop, if you’re one-nil up you should try and press for the safety of the second goal. It did come in the seventy-fourth minute though with a well taken long range effort from Duffy. That was a good goal and a relief for us in front of the Kop. We have seen Rotherham leave the game until the last ten minutes to press, which they did try hitting us on the break after the sending off, but at least the cushion of the second goal put their comeback to bed.
Basham came off and was replaced by Madine, which we wondered whether CW was trying out a 4-3-3 set up for the first time at home, but later on, after the second goal, we reverted back to 5-3-2 with Cranie coming on for McGoldrick.
I thought the referee had a decent game for once at the Lane, we’ve had some pants ones over the last few weeks, but this one correctly sent off Vaulks for his lunge at Baldock, and did not seem to be biased at all. Hope we get the same style of refereeing at the Lane on Tuesday when Brentford visit.
There was even a bit of comedy with the “long-throw” towel that Rotherham had by the side of the pitch. It was removed, but only thrown into the South Stand, only for our lot to throw it back on. It was funny watching the official walk down and throw it back. This happened a couple of times until it was taken to the dug-out. Mind you it also made an appearance for a corner kick for some reason.
It was a bit disappointing that Leeds and Norwich won yesterday, I though these would struggle against Bristol City and Swansea, Norwich still have Hull and Boro to play, and Leeds have the easiest of the next few matches, apart from our visit to Elland Road! Hoping we can nick three points from them for that game. We’ve a few difficult ones after that as well, with Leeds and Bristol City, so we’re going to have to dig in deep and grind out the results I think. I reckon we can rule West Brom out of the running now that they have inexplicably sacked Darren Moore.
I’ve had time this morning to write this article, thought I was going to get drenched this morning but my lad’s game for Staveley MWFC U18’s against Hillsborough Pumas has been called off due to waterlogged pitch, so I’m nice and dry!!
Anyway, I’ll be back on the Kop on Tuesday for the Brentford game, reckon it will be a difficult game, but I’m sure CW will plan accordingly and we can take the points from them.
Olly Longden (RFA)
Sheffield United MOD/Armed Forces Supporters Branch