Date: 3rd August 2013 at 5:22am
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Sheffield United kicked off their League One campaign with a 2-1 home win over Notts County.

Kevin McDonald and Harry Maguire were on target for the blades against ten-man Notts County who had a player sent off early in the game.

Referee Keith Stroud was probably hoping for a quiet game at Bramall Lane after his last visit towards the end of last season. On that occasion, he sent off three players and awarded four penalties and within fifteen minutes of the season`s opening game, he was sending off County defender Gary Liddle for a high boot.

Jamie Murphy had the first chance for United on two minutes when he struck his free kick straight at Bialkowski in the County goal.

Murphy was proving dangerous and he had the next effort that drifted wide.

George Long was chosen ahead of Mark Howard in goal and he produced a great save to deny Danny Haynes in County`s first attack.

It was a pivotal moment in the game, United broke and Kevin McDonald received a high boot in the ribs and Liddle was shown a straight red card.

Darryl Westlake was getting forward to help the United attack down the right and he saw a shot deflected wide for a corner.

United were enjoying the vast majority of the possession but all their efforts on goal were from outside the penalty area. Stephen McGinn and then a speculative effort from Febian Brandy both missed the target.

United scored the first goal of the Football League season when KEVIN MCDONALD side footed home after a good ball into the box by Westlake.

County gave United a warning on 35 minutes when Joss Labadie found space at the back post but he headed wide.

United finished the half how they had started it and Michael Doyle and Brandy both had long range efforts go wide.

The second half started the same way the first had finished, Doyle forcing Bialkowski into a good save.

Chris Porter then missed two great chances to extend the lead for United.

His first attempt cleared the bar from close range after great work from Brandy and the second; he just failed to get on the end of a shot from Neil Collins.

County were still in the game and Alan Sheehan saw his free kick go just wide.

United were made to pay for their missed chances when County substitute ENOCH SHOWUNMI outmuscled Maguire before firing home from the edge of the area.

The goal did not deter United who came straight back at their visitors. Stephen McGinn fizzing an effort just over the bar.

United scored the crucial winner halfway through the second half when HARRY MAGUIRE found himself unmarked at the back post and he guided his header into the net following a free kick from McGinn.

Lyle Taylor came off the bench for United and he looked lively. He saw a free kick beaten out by Bialkowski as United looked for a goal to calm the nerves in the closing stages.

With five minutes of injury time being shown, many thought United might have sat back to guarantee the win but they had some great chances in injury time.

Brandy found space in the area but could only hit his shot straight at Bialkowski and Conor Coady fired just wide.

Taylor saw a shot deflected wide and another effort saved as United finished the game the way it had gone on for most of the evening.

A thoroughly deserved win that will give the players confidence ahead of a long gruelling season.

Sheffield United
Long, Westlake, Williams, Maguire, Doyle (Coady 79), Porter (Taylor 68), McDonald, McGinn, Collins, Brandy, Murphy (McFadzean 66)

Subs not used
Howard, Hill, Flynn, McGinty

Notts County
Bialkowski, Dumbuya, Liddle, Leacock, Sheehan, Arquin (Showunmi 56), Labadie (Tempest 58), Campbell-Ryce, Fotheringham, Haynes (Zoko 66), Boucaud

Subs not used
Smith, Coombes, Thompson, Spiess.

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One Reply to “United kick off with a win”

  • Very encouraging. Neat possession football and at last we have pace out wide. Brandy will torment defenders in this division and win many free kicks in good positions, it remains to be seen if referees will be in the right positions to award penalties! Very impressed with McGinn, Taylor looked a threat when he came on and Cody looked different class, missed a sitter after doing all the hard work. 2-1 didn’t reflect Blades total domination. Encouraging start, the 4-5-1 can work with pace out wide…..and we now have it.

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