Sheffield United 1-2 Town
Well I said after the Preston game that it is a long time since Town had won a game which they had not thoroughly deserved to win and yet twice in a week it has happened. A truly fantastic result on our travels, the season has well and truly begun, with back to back wins home and away.
In the opening minutes we settled quickly trying to build through Thomas on the left but United soon took control of the match dominating possession in midfield and camping out in our half. We rarely got on the ball and again Ward and Koroma were isolated upfront and we were overrun in midfield. Having said that United failed to create much, The only save of note in the first half was from Mcburnies’ overhead kick which Nicholls had to get down sharply to his right to turn away. The start of the second half and United continued where they left off, dominating and creating chances, but all were from distance and nothing penetrating the Town defensive line. After 60 minutes Town made 2 changes bringing Ward and High off for Campbell and Toffolo, this prompted a change of formation. With Toffolo on the left wing/wing back Koroma moved to the left in front of him with Thomas moving to the right and Campbell upfront alone. Having one man upfront meant that United did not know who was picking Campbell up and he had more freedom to find space. Koroma is more natural on the left and likes to come inside which brought him closer to Campbell. Toffolo could then use his pace to get down the outside. We finally posed a threat in attack and had options for the man on the ball to hit. Town started to create and Thomas found Koroma in space and after his first effort was turned away he slotted in the rebound. The ref found 5 minutes of added time and Billy Sharp who had earlier volleyed straight into a well placed Nicholls arms miss hit a lose ball which found the back of net in teh 92 minutes. Pandemonium set in 2 minutes later when United failed to clear properly from a corner and Toffolo got was fedon the left in space and squared for Colwill to have a tap in for his first professional goal.
United struggled mid week against WBA where they were overrun and showed a obvious weakness in defence. West Brom got into them all game and thoroughly deserved their comfortable win, today United needed to turn it around and although they dominated play they failed to create much. Brewster will be a good player but at present he lacks goals he has pace and needs to hit the space behind defenders with through balls. We played deep so there was no space for him. McBurnie got a few knock downs but we generally tidied them up. There are elements of United that are reminiscent of when we came down. Playing good football in patches but ineffective and having a losing feeling.
For 60/70 minutes I was frustrated as we did not show what we were capable of but when we changed things around we showed what we can do. Defensively we were strong but I fear will get taken apart by the better teams with how we set up at present. There does appear to be more togetherness unless I am getting carried away. The formation in the last half hour is how we need to progress if we want to do well this season and certainly this week has put a different complexion on things. By operating with Koroma on the left and Thomas on the right we play narrower and therefore afford less space to the opposition to attack from deep.
Although not voted MOM for me he was. He collected all crosses, took the pressue off the defence, kept organising the men infront of him and pulled off the saves when he was needed. He reminds me of Steve Francis with his positioning which makes his job look easier.
Pearson was strong at the back winning plenty in the air and in the tackle when needed. He was unbalanced when Sharp scored but again he was solid at the back
Sarr looked settled at the heart of the defence, more so than last season when he was on the left. He won a lot of ball in the air and cleared up loose balls in the area. I was glad to see that there was less playing around with the ball in the area and Sarr therefore was uder less pressure.
Had a good game. In the first half he was very busy as he was not afforded much protection and Basham & Baldock caused him problems which he handled well. In the second half he was provided some protection which helped. It was good a to see him showing good anticipation in the area in the 94th minute to slot in his first goal.
Hogg had a decent game breaking up play and tidying things up. He did what he appeared to be asked to do and was more vocal. Needs to show more composure but did well.
Made a mistake early in the first half which cost him a yellow card as he tried to recover. I feel that he is better as a right back than in a more advanced position which he is being asked to cover. Was steady and calmed down afterwards.
Showed all his pace again early on causing problems and being positive. He did dissappear a little as the game progressed. Delivered some good balls into the box from set plays and although he offers lots from the left I feel that for the good of the team it is better that he plays on the right.
Was breaking up attacks and in the last half hour got himself up the pitch causing problems and trying to set up opportunities. An improvement from what we saw on Tuesday and good to get 90 minutes under his belt.
Drifted wide on teh right in the first half which offered Turton protection but gae United too much space in central areas which caused us problems. High, like the rest of the team struggled to get on the ball much, put in a shift but will have better matches.
For 60 minutes he struggled to get into the game finding very little space and the quality of the balls forward were poor. For the last 30 minutes he caused problems with his movement finding pockets of space and picking up the ball. Took his goal well and will hopefully take confidence from this match into the next.
Again Danny put in a shift for the side but with the ball forward being hopeful punts for most of the time that he was on the pitch he struggled to impact the game. Operating as a 2 man attack does not really suit Ward.
Campbell came on for Ward on 60 minutes and has movement caused United problems as they could not pick him up creating space for Koroma to run into.
Came on for High on 60 minutes. Toffolo probed down the left with an attacking intent and found space late on to supply the assist for the winner.
Vallajo came on for Koroma late on.
You have to be fair and appluad him for masterminding 6 points from 6. Yes it was not pretty but the points and consistency is what is important now. I would prefer for us to open up more and play to our strengths and hope that that is on the agenda when all first team players are back fully fit. For 60 minutes our only threat was through Thomas but when we change dthe formation suddenly we had lots of avenues we could use. I am trusting that Carlos played to keep it tight for 60 minutes and then upped the tempo intentionally. Following games will show whether that is the case or not, roll on Tuesday night and the toffees.