Friday, 4 February 2011

Sheffield United 0 Leicester City 1

One of those student nights they have from time to time at Bramall Lane, meaning cheap admission and a nice little essay break. Judging by the number of expensive cameras in my section, the Chinese Society had been to the box office just before me and block booked everything. Or maybe it was Darius Vassell’s Far East fan club. I also had the misfortune of having a Lincoln City fans sat behind me – I mean what are the chances?

One of the Chinese lads asked my on the kick-off who I should look out for in the Blades team – the red and white wizard, the superstar on the billboards in Guangzhou. I replied that none of them were particularly good and there was a very high probability they were going to be relegated. At this point, he turned around to see Andy King lob Leicester into a second minute lead and I slipped back into my seat with a glowing smugness.

At the Norwich City game I thought there had been genuine signs of improvement under Mickey Adams and this continued here. United were extremely unfortunate not to take a point from this game and, in fact, probably should have taken all three. But Adams continues to search in vain for his first win in the job and the side dropped into the relegation berths for the first time since August.

They had the chances – Chris Weale saved brilliantly from Nick Montgomery in the first-half and Elian Parrino at the death, Lee Williamson’s free-kick hit the angle of post and crossbar and Matt Oakley headed another Parrino shot off the line – but tactically it was a mess. The long balls from deep just don’t work at the best of times, let alone when there are two physical centre halves in Ben Mee and Souleymane Bamba to mop everything up.

Marcus Bent looked lost and generally fed up, touching the ball about three times in his sordid 75 minute appearance. When Daniel Bogdanovic finally got on to replace him there were plenty even in my student neutrals area who took time out from checking the Premiership scores to suggest it was maybe time for him to go.

I sense the Blades have neither the personnel nor the good fortune to avoid relegation to League One, completing what has been a slow death for Sheffield football.

Next Match: Worcester City vs. Boston United on Saturday

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