Monday, 14 May 2012

Sheffield United 1 v Stevenage 0 - npower League 1 Play Off semi final 2nd leg

Monday 14th May 2012, at Bramall Lane
npower League 1 Play Off semi final 2nd leg
Sheffield United (0) 1
Chris Porter 85
Stevenage (0) 0
Admission £15, Programme £3
Attendance 21,182
Sheffield United:
Simonsen, Lowton, Doyle, Flynn, Williamson, Collins, Maguire,
Porter, McDonald (Montgomery 45), Quinn, Hill
Unused Subs - Howard, Taylor, McAllister, O'Halloran
Day, Wilson, Laird, Ashton, Byrom (Reid 87), Roberts,
Freeman, Bostwick, Agyemang (Beardsley 63), Lascelles,
Shroot (Mousinho 57)
Unused Subs - Julian, CharlesSupporters of the play off system, will say that these end of season, mini knock-out tournaments are good for the game, sustaining interest until the end of the season and bringing in much needed income for the competing clubs.
Others might say: Sheffield United finished 17 points above Stevenage, so why on earth should they be playing against them, to earn the right to take on either Huddersfield Town or the MK Dons at Wembley, in a winner takes all final?
Friday night's goalless draw in the first leg, was the third time that the Blades have failed to beat Stevenage this season. So they knew this wasn't going to be a straightforward home win.
The Hertfordshire side, seeking their third promotion in three seasons beat Sheffield United 2-1 in the League fixture at Broadhall Way back in November.
And in the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane at the end of April, United had to claw their way back from being 2 goals behind to salvage a point.
After the first leg, United's manager Danny Wilson had this to say:
"It's finely balanced and we're taking nothing for granted.
"We have to have the same determination we had today. If we get carried away the second leg will go against us.
"We've seen too many times where people make assumptions after the first leg result - they think it's a foregone conclusion and it's far from that."Sheffield United version of events:,,10418,00.html
Stevenage FC version of events:,,10839,00.html

So United got the result they required and made it through .to the final, but they made damn hard work of it.
It was a fairly drab first half, with both sides choosing to play with just one man up front, Chris Porter for the Blades and Patrick Agyemang for the visitors.
Both defences were packed solid and congested, meaning goal attempts were few and far between for United, while Stevenage didn't create any at all before the break.
Chris Porter had the best (only) chance to break the deadlock, but his close range header was well saved by Chris Day.
At half time a friend who couldn't get to the game, sent me a text message, asking if the Blades were winning.
I said: "It's 0-0 - United have one striker suspended and another gaol - TBH I can't see where a goal is going to come from"
They replied: "Why are they playing a striker in goal?"
I put my phone on silent and tucked it away in my pocket until after the game.
Thankfully, the game livened up a bit after the break, with Ryan Flynn (twice) and Lee Williamson going close for the home side.
Stevenage too, decided to give it a go too With Luke Freeman ans Scott laird, testing Steve Simonsen in United's goal.
The visitor's, sensing it was now do or die time, when they had a short spell where they were on top, won a free kick 30 yards out and Michael Bostwick tried his luck, but Simonsen saved the speculative quite easily.
But then the Blades, roared on by a partisan crowd, sought to make their home advantage pay. Both Matt Hill and Steve Quinn went close as time started running out and it looked as though extra time and possibly even a penalty shoot out was on the cards.
With just 5 minutes and 34 seconds left on the clock, Chris Porter scored

Then in the 85th minute, Matt Lowdon swung over a cross, that hung in the air for Chris Porter, at the back stick, to power home a header and win the day for Danny Wilson's side.
It won't be easy for Sheffield United in the final, given their current lack of fire power, that has forced them to adopt playing a 4-4-1-1 system.
But with prolific striker Ged Evans being 'indisposed', James Beattie serving a suspension, and Richard Creswell struggling with a shoulder injury, it's going to be a case of them having to resort to 'horses for courses' tactics.
Football, when all is said and done, is a money and results driven business, so don't be a expecting a Wembley show-piece.
Congratulations to Sheffield United, on reaching the npower League 1 Play Off Final at Wembley Stadium, on May 26th, against either Huddersfield Town or the MK Dons, who play the second leg of their Semi Final tomorrow night, at the Galpharm Stadium, where Huddersfield take a 2-0 lead into the tie after they won at Stadium MK in the first leg.
Tickets for the final will range from £34 (right at the back behind the goals), through to £88, for what is, in real terms, a Football League Division 3, Play Off Final.
A *bit* on the unreasonably steep and expensive side then :-O
I probably (in fact there is a 99.99999% chance), won't be going, because frankly, that's a rip off!.
Note, this is a football blog.
Hence, I have not commented on why Ged Evans is in prison at this current time.
But to avoid being accused of 'copping out', I feel I must say:
He's where he deserves to be ... and his accomplices in the sordid crime he committed, should also be serving similar punishments too.
Footnote, added on Tuesday 15th May, 2012:
Result of the other npower League 1Play Off semi final, 2nd leg - Huddersfield Town 1 v MK Dons 2.
Meaning that Huddersfield won 3-2 on aggregate, to set up an all Yorkshire final.