Encouraging away point for Wilson’s Blades

The Blades first away trip of the season came in the shape of newly relegated Coventry City, who would prove a stern test for Wilson’s men.

United only made one change from Saturday’s win against Shrewsbury, with Matt Hill replacing Williams at left back. The game started brightly for United, with Stephen Quinn seemingly given license to roam wherever he pleased across midfield, giving him the freedom to join Blackman and Cofie in United’s attacking moves.

The first real chance of the game fell to Kevin McDonald, who found room in the box to get his shot away, only to find Richard Wood stood on the line to make the clearance. United kept up the momentum and Maguire went close with a glancing header from a corner. However, after a while, the game went rather scrappy, with neither team building up a head of steam, and half time could not come fast enough.

The second half began with Coventry on the front foot. The warning signs were beginning to show when a Coventry corner found the head of Malaga, who, along with every other home supporter, thought the ball crossed the line, but the referee and linesman were unmoved and United breathed a sigh of relief. But that did not last long as some school boy defending saw Coventry take the lead. A simple ball over the top was enough to beat Collins and Maguire, and Elliot blasted the ball home from inside the box.

United brought on Shaun Miller for Cofie, as United looked for an instant response. A few chances in and around the box were created, but the Coventry keeper was rarely tested. It was clear to see the Blades lacked width and could not seem to find a way through the Sky Blues defence. As time was ticking on it looked like the Blades really had ran out of ideas, but a ball out wide to Miller, who, with a bit of room, crossed low and hard, and Blackman timed his run perfectly to slide home from 6 yards out to level the match.

After that both teams really just coasted and by the end it seemed both teams were happy with a draw. There were both positives and negatives to take from the game from a United perspective. Some of the build-up play during the first half was very good, trying to stretch the Coventry defence, with Stephen Quinn looking difficult to pin down. I also think Blackman looks a very good bit of business by Danny. He has a good touch, a bit of strength, and an eye for goal. If I had to clutch at straws I would say he has a tendency to be caught offside, and sometimes doesn’t gamble enough, be it a pass or a run or going up for a header, but all in all I was impressed. Just as impressive was Shaun Miller, who looks a very neat player. Always looking to play on the shoulder of the last defender, he seems able to control the ball instantly, and his cross for the United goal was right out of the top draw. I would really like to see him now start a game, and try to build up some sort of partnership with Blackman.

A few negatives also have to be taken from the game as well. John Cofie, on loan from Manchester United, looks a shade lightweight. Seasoned defenders will only have to lean on him slightly to know they have the ball back, and while I realise he is only young, you don’t have much time to learn and adapt in this league. He might be more suited as an impact player, brought on with twenty minutes to go as defences start to look stretched. Also, United have still not bought an out and out winger with genuine pace who can run at the full back and take them on. This means the full backs will be required to get forward to try and provide that extra width at times, and last night Matt Hill was culpable of not getting forward enough, and it was not as though there was anything to stop him from bombing forward as there was no threat in behind him. He should have been over lapping his wide player on a regular basis to provide support but was too often seen behind play instead of keeping up with it. The only time Hill did get forward with any real attacking intent was when he played the ball through to Miller who crossed for the equaliser, so getting forward paid dividends in the end.

However, to sum up, a point away from home is always a point gained in my view, and it was another encouraging performance on the whole from United, who now travel to Colchester to try and keep tabs on the early pacemakers.

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Article title: Encouraging away point for Wilson’s Blades

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