Town drop to home defeat despite better 2nd half
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Mat Sadler, Zak Whitbread, Kyle Vassell (Andy Mangan 63), Sullay Kaikai, James Wesolowski, Jack Grimmer, Abu Ogogo, Nathaniel Knight-Percival (c), Jack Hendry (Shaun Whalley 77), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Subs: Mark Halstead, Ian Black, Jordan Clark, Larnell Cole, Dom Smith
Sheffield United: George Long, Chris Basham, Ryan Flynn (Florent Cuvelier 85), Paul Coutts, Billy Sharp, Matt Done, Jay McEveley (c), Alex Baptiste, Che Adams (Martyn Woolford 90), David Edgar, Dean Hammond
Subs: Mark Howard, Conor Sammon, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harrison McGahey, Ben Whiteman
Referee – David Webb
Assistant Referee 1 – Stuart Eagland
Assistant Referee 2 – Barry Cropp
Fourth Official – Nicholas Barnard
Attendance: 5,064 (513)
Micky Mellon makes three changes from the side that started against Bradford City , with James Wesolowski, Nat Knight-Percival and Kyle Vassell coming in for Larnell Cole, Dom Smith and Ian Black who drop down to the bench.
Town had a great chance to get their noses in early on when they were awarded a penalty with just 7 minutes on the clock, it came after a Town cross into the box was handled by Jay McEveley. Kyle Vassell placed the ball and after a little delay that saw the ref have a word with Long Vassell struck his shot low and the keepers left, but Long guessed correctly and was down smartly to block the shot and then the rebound.
United looked dangerous in attack and they had good options with Sharp and Adams and they were willing to do the running needed to get at the Town defence. There were a couple of occasions the visitors got into good positions in the Town box but there were good challenges from Hendry and Agogo to get in important blocks.
It was United who took the lead on 18 minutes, a simple ball from the midfield found Sharp in behind the Town defence, Whitbread was near but Sharp was in on goal and drove a low shot under Leutwiler to give the visitors the lead.
There was a good chance for Town on 24 minutes when good play and strength from Vassell saw him hold the ball up and hold off the challenge of Baptiste, he then laid the ball off to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who cut into on goal and drove in a low shot but Long was equal to it.
It was a pretty even game to be honest with both sides working hard and looking to create but nothing much in the way of clear goalscoring options.
The half started with a chance for Town with less than a minute on the watch, an early corner was delivered well from Kaikai into the Blades box, Knight-Percival and Whitbread were trying to get the foot to the ball when it dropped but Long was down quickly to smoother the ball and hold on.
There was a break in play when the assistant indicated that he wasn't able to continue, he came across to ref Webb, there was them some confusion as the fourth official Mr Barnard readied himself to come on and finally after around 5 minutes played started again.
After the break the Town crown seemed to find it's voice and the team were buoyed by this, the ball was out on the right with Akpa Akpro, he laid it into Kaikai who drove into the box with purpose, he saw the run of Ogogo into the box and cut the ball into his run and although he didn't connect cleanly he dragged the ball past Long to level things at 1-1.
Town were lifted by the goal and the crowd were vocal in their support with the atmosphere rising in the Greenhous Meadow. There were a string of corners for the home side who were putting the pressure onto the visitors goal but Sheffield were digging in defensively.
Micky Mellon made his first change of the game of the evening bringing Andy Mangan on to replace Kyle Vassell.
It was the visitors who found the back of the net, it came after a quick break down the right saw the ball find Adams in space in the Town box, he drove in a vicious shot on the angle that took a slight deflection to take the ball over the dive of Leutwiler and make it 2-1 to United.
Town had a good chance moments after the restart when Akpa Akpro found the space to get in behind the Blades defence, he drove in on goal and then hit in a decent left footed shot but he was leaning back and the ball flew just over the bar.
With over 12 minutes remaining Micky Mellon made his second change with Shaun Whalley coming on to replace Jack Hendry and a switch to four at the back.
Town were looking more of an attacking force after the changes and they were causing the visitors a number of problems. Kaikai and Whalley were finding the space in behind the Blades defence and were getting good deliveries into the box but they just needed that touch in front of goal.
As the fourth official held the ball up to how 7 minutes added time Town created another good chance with the ball moved quickly around the Blades box, it came into the run of Ogogo but this time he couldn't connect and Long was there to collect.