Saturday, 7 January 2012

Sheffield United 3 v Salisbury City 1 - FA Cup 3rd Round

Saturday 7th January 2012, at Bramall Lane
FA Cup 3rd Round
Sheffield United (1) 3
Porter 18, Evans 60, Webb OG 72
Salisbury City (0) 1
Macklin 86
Admission £10 Programme £2 Attendance 10,488Sheffield United:
Simonsen, Ertl, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois, Williamson (Chapell 78), Doyle, McDonald, Flynn (Cresswell 51), Evans, Porter (Beattie 51)
Unused Subs - Long, Montgomery, McAllister, Williams.
Salisbury City:
Scott, Webb, Dutton, Giles, Brett, Adelsbury, Anderson, Clarke (Losasso 62), Williams, Read (Macklin 62), Fitchett (Knight 81)
Unused Subs - Arthur, Casey, Kelly, Harris.
The FA Cup 3rd Round.
In which Salisbury City, sat 16th in the Blue Square Bet Southern Division table, prior to today's game, travelled up from Wiltshire to South Yorkshire (in Swindon Town's coach - see above) to take on Sheffield United, promotion contenders in the NPower League 1 (Division 3), currently sat in 4th place in the table ... though they were 3rd until Huddersfield Town battered Wycombe Wanderers 6-0 last night and climbed above the Blades (who still have a game in hand over the Terriers) on goal difference.
Charlton Athletic are clear at the top of the League 1 table with a 5 point cushion and in second place, 2 points ahead of United and Huddersfield are, err ... the other Sheffield side.
For the benefit of those of you who don't want to do the maths, that's an 84 place gap between today's sides, which by the time Salisbury left the pitch, had grown to 85, by virtue of Maidenhead United beating Eastbourne Borough 1-0 (in injury time) to move above City in the BSBS pecking order.
Take notes, there might be a question about some of the above scene setting preamble and waffle in the quiz at the end.
Prior to kick off, there was a minute's applause by way of a tribute to Gary Ablett, the former England Under 21 defender who passed away on New Years Day, Ablett had made a dozen appearances on loan for the Blades in 1996.
Though Salisbury battled gamely, played an attacking formation and kept going right until the very end, in front of their vocal following at the Bramall Lane End of the ground - this victory was fairly academic and straight forward for United, who should've been out at least 4-0 up by half time.A combination of sloppy finishing and a string of great saves from City's keeper Mark Scott (who, like the team coach, is on loan from Swindon Town), kept the score down to 1-0 at half time. Ironically, the one and only time that the home time did find the net, Colin Porter scored through the otherwise impressive Scott's legs, after getting onto the end of a Lee Williamson cross.
Williamson used to be a team mate of the current Salisbury City manager Darrel Clarke when they both played for Mansfield Town.
After Clarke left the Stags, Danny Wilson was his manager at Hartlepool United.
Wilson of course, is now the manager of Sheffield United.
Small world innit?
The second goal on 60 minutes was a messy one.
Lescinel Jean-Frabcois shot, his effort took a deflection but Scott still managed to save it. From the rebound Kevin McDonald took aim and either, i) the ball hit Ched Evans on it's way into the net, or ii) Ched Evans cleverly diverted it past Scott and deserved to be awarded the goal ... it probably wouldn't have gone in without Evans' contact, so there you have it.
A Ched Evans shot, that he actually meant, led to the third Blades goal too, it deflected heavily off of Danny Webb and that was it, game over, bar all the the shouting and "We'll support you 'ever more" chants from the away end.
The Shoreham Street 'Kop' wasn't open for business today

Today's referee was called David Webb, he isn't the same David Webb who scored for Chelsea in the 1970 FA Cup Final replay against Leeds Untied at Old Trafford, but Danny Webb of Salisbury City, who put the ball past his own keeper in the 72nd minute, is the son of the former Stamford Bridge favourite.
Sometimes, I don't know how I manage to cram in so much historical and factual insight and fascinating information into the match reports on the humble blog.
Hmm, I wonder if anybody really reads all this long winded space-filling stuff.With about 12 minutes to go, Lloyd Macklin fired over Steve Simonsen's crossbar.
With just 4 minutes to go, he scored a cracking goal from 25 yards out.
Though it came too late for the visitors to salvage anything from the game, apart from some pride, at least gave the sizeable away support something to cheer before their long ride home.
Both sets of fans applauded Salisbury City off at the end ... and so did I.
Sheffield railway station is only a brisk 10 minutes walk from United's ground and I made the 17.24 train, with time to spare for some liquid refreshment en route.
One Retford based Blades fan will be grateful that I spotted him asleep in the train carriage as I stood waiting to get off, or who knows where he might have ended up tonight!?