Match Report: Sheffield United 2-0 Chesterfield

Read via the Chesterfield Post

Chesterfield tasted a first league defeat of the season with a 2-0 loss against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Two goals early in each half from Che Adams saw the Blades dispatch Chesterfield and bounce back from their opening day hammering at Gillingham.

The Spireites controlled the game for large periods but could not pierce a resilient United defence, despite the best efforts of the newly formed forward partnering of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Lee Novak.

Novak was sent straight into the starting line-up by manager Dean Saunders after arriving from Birmingham City on a season-long loan on Friday, in a team otherwise unchanged from the opening day win over Barnsley.

Mirroring the opening three minutes against Barnsley, Saunders’ side again fell behind early on when Adams played in Conor Sammon for the Irishman to shoot at Blues ‘keeper Tommy Lee, only for the save to rebound to Adams who slotted home with a composed finish.

Sheffield United 1-0 Chesterfield (Che Adams, 3’)

The blades were eager to further capitalise on Chesterfield’s shaky start as Billy Sharp collected a wayward header to break through on goal, but the forward’s shot from the edge of the box rolled wide of the far post.

The game was already stretched and Chesterfield had three attempts on goal in quick succession, with centre back duo Ian Evatt and Sam Hird both eyeing goal from corner routines before Dan Gardner saw a drilled effort from distance sail over the crossbar.

The Spireites looked dangerous on the counter attack with Novak demonstrating the pace and power which saw him record 28 goals in League One during his spell with Huddersfield Town.

On 19 minutes Chesterfield came close to levelling through Gardner whose volley glanced just wide of the far post after an inviting cross from winger Jay O’Shea.

O’Shea was again involved orchestrating a prolonged spell of play in the Blades’ half which culminated in a tame Sam Morsy shot, which ‘keeper Mark Howard gathered comfortably.

For all of their first half possession, the Spireites struggled to penetrate United’s solid back line with a definitive final ball.

Novak tested the ‘keeper with a low strike on 37 minutes but the defensive duo of Neil Collins and David Edgar always looked in control in front of Howard.

Drew Talbot was tested regularly throughout the first half with Adams a constant danger down the home side’s left flank and that continued after the break.

A neat interchange with Stefan Scougall left the former Ilkeston frontman through on goal to execute a composed finish defying of his 19 years of age as he looks set to secure a first team berth after the departure of Jamie Murphy to Brighton.

Sheffield United 2-0 Chesterfield (Che Adams, 46’)

The Spireties again found their foothold in the game but the struggle to breach the defence left the Blues frustrated, epitomised by Morsy’s late tackle on Scougall which saw him enter referee Kevin Wright’s book.

Chesterfield varied their approach play and on 56 minutes a delightful lofted pass from O’Shea allowed Novak to beat the offside trap and run through on goal, but his first touch afforded Edgar the time to track back and clear the ball to safety.

Only moments later the ball was up the other end and Adams had a chance to record a first senior hat trick, but Lee denied him from six yards with a smart save as Sammon strayed offside with the rebound.

Spireites midfielder Ollie Banks made way for Gboly Ariyibi on 75 minutes as Saunders looked to pull one back.

Minutes later Daniel Jones whipped a threatening free kick into the box which appeared to glance the head of Ebanks-Blake and somehow stayed out through a combination of defender, goalkeeper and woodwork – which seemed to confirm that it would not be Chesterfield’s day.

United’s direct style of play looked threatening through the game and Sharp, in his third spell with the club, looked to seal the win with a bursting run forward, but Lee managed to get a vital hand to his low effort to divert the ball beyonf the post.

From the resulting corner by substitute Louis Reed, midfielder Chris Basham saw his header cleared off the line by Hird but again Sammon’s rebounded effort was adjudged to have been from an offside position.

Full Time: Sheffield United 2-0 Chesterfield

After the match, Saunders was happy with how his side played despite the result.

He said: “We played really well, we just didn’t get the luck and the bounce of the ball and we could have gone on and scored I don’t know how many, I’ve lost count how many chances we had. We hit the post, we hit the bar, I thought Sylvan had scored in the first half when it ran across the box and somebody got a toe on it.

“We knew they were maybe going to counter attack us a little bit but you can’t give away the goals we gave away right at the start of the game and right at the start of the second half; it just kills you.

“I can’t complain about the way we’re playing, we’ve just got to turn those performances in to wins. Sometimes you’re better off being lucky rather than good.”

The Spireites travel to Shrewsbury on Tuesday night before welcoming Rochdale to the Proact on Saturday where Saunders’ men will be looking to return to winning ways.

Sheffield United
1 Mark Howard;
2 Kieron Freeman, 15 Neil Collins, 19 Jay McEveley ©, 34 David Edgar;
29 Che Adams (17 Martyn Woolford, 69’), 11 Jose Baxter (4 James Wallace, 59’), 6 Chris Basham, 16 Stefan Scougall (22 Louis Reed, 69’);
18 Connor Sammon, 10 Billy Sharp.
Subs: 12 Marc McNulty, 20 Jamal Campbell-Ryce, , 25 George Long, 30 Kieran Wallace.

Chesterfield
1 Tommy Lee;
25 Drew Talbot (16 Charlie Raglan, ’82), 6 Ian Evatt, 4 Sam Hird, 3 Daniel Jones;
10 Jay O’Shea, 5 Sam Morsy, 24 Ollie Banks (28 Gboly Ariyibi, 70’), 7 Dan Gardner (17 Armand Gnanduillet, 82’);
11 Lee Novak, 9 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
Subs: 32 Alex Cairns, 15 Ritchie Humphreys, 21 Michael Onovwigun, , 30 Jake Orrell.

“We knew they were maybe going to counter attack us a little bit but you can’t give away the goals we gave away right at the start of the game and right at the start of the second half; it just kills you.

“I can’t complain about the way we’re playing, we’ve just got to turn those performances in to wins. Sometimes you’re better off being lucky rather than good.”

The Spireites travel to Shrewsbury on Tuesday night before welcoming Rochdale to the Proact on Saturday where Saunders’ men will be looking to return to winning ways.

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