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Chris Wilder’s men made it four on the bounce against Peterborough in a hard fought 1-0 victory at Bramall Lane. Their first clean sheet of the season proved crucial in sealing all 3 points, after a fantastic display from Simon Moore in the United goal. The Blades will now look to build on the performances they have put in during recent weeks. Seemingly Wilder has created a team with quality in depth and great character, 2 very key assets in the quest for promotion. However only time will tell if he has found the right blend this season.
It took just 10 minutes for the Blades to start troubling the Peterborough defence. Some calm play out from the back allowed the ball to find its way to Kieron Freeman on the right hand side. His driving run and cross was met by Matt Done, who struck a ferocious first time shot from 12 yards out. He was only to be denied by a fantastic save by Luke McGee in the Peterborough goal, who threw himself to his left.
3 minutes later a great ball by Mark Duffy from just inside the Peterborough half found the chest of Billy Sharp. He held then ball up and played in Kieron Freeman who had made a surging run from the right wing back position. His cross was met inside the six yard box by Matt Done, who tucked to ball home to give United a one goal lead. It was his 2nd in two games, a credit to Wilder’s decision to play him more centrally.
In the 34th minute, a great goalkeeping display by Simon Moore kept the Blades in the game. A ball forward by Leo Da Silva Lopes allowed Taylor to get a shot away just inside the The Blades’ area. However Moore made an excellent save to his right, palming the ball away. Just moments later it was Taylor again who tested Moore, this time from range. However his shot was again palmed away with by the strong hands of Moore.
In the second half The Blades however reasserted their dominance on the game. Firstly, a curling shot by Duffy from the left hand side nearly nestled in the Peterborough net. Then, McGee was forced into another good save, this time by Scougall, whose thunderous left footed shot from 25 yards nearly beat the keeper.
With just 25 minutes remaining Gwion Edwards then nearly got Posh back into the game. After receiving it on the edge of the area, Edwards played the ball out wide. He then showed real desire to get on the end of the resulting cross, only for Moore to make an excellent reactions save. It was an excellent opportunity that Edwards will regret missing.
The Blades dug in to grind out the win and take all 3 points at Bramall Lane, enough to put them in a playoff spot. With Scunthorpe at the weekend, United will hope they can find the same quality and desire they’ve shown since their rocky start to the campaign. Wilder seems to have found a settled side and formation, and has created great team spirit within the camp. Something which can be seen in their every performance. United now have a group of players with both the footballing and personal qualities to succeed. Their results in the next few weeks are crucial and will be a big determinant in how the season pans out.
Firstly, I believe Wilder deserves some credit on the excellent team character he had built. He has removed a few suspected bad eggs from the camp and had brought in players who have the right attitude. As a result, unlike last season United possess the ability to dig in and grind out a result as they did on Saturday. Whether it be Done, Freeman and Basham’s persistent running, Wright and Ebanks-Landell’s desire to win every aerial challenge, Moore’s goalkeeping excellence or Sharp’s ability to hold up the ball, every United player wants to win for eachother. The side looks well balanced and will win several games 1-0 this season. The defence will be happy to get their first clean sheet under their belts. And now, as the back 3 and goalkeeper becomes settled they will only become stronger with the partnerships they forge.
Talking of partnerships, United seem to be progressing due to many small partnerships starting across the field. The side has found a back 6, a midfield 2 and a front 3 who all work together with the people who accompany them in their roles. Done complements Sharp, as Basham does Coutts, as does Moore with the 3 centre backs. And the more they play together and get used to their partners, they better they will play. United are becoming a unit as Wilder has seemed to find a way to cut through the several different managers and systems they have been signed for and bring them back together for one cohesive philosophy.
Things are looking up this season, and Wilder may just have found the right blend. However Saturday’s game against Scunthorpe his weekend will test just how tough The Blades really are.
image taken from sufc.co.uk