BLADES SLICE AND DICE CITY

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Colin Hen­rys To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

INTO THE FA Cup quar­ter­fi­nals and now climb­ing the ta­ble af­ter their fifth straight win, things are sud­denly look­ing rosy for Sh­effield United.

Hav­ing moved out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone in mid­week, Nigel Clough’s side put fel­low strug­glers Bris­tol City to the sword through goals from John Bray­ford, Ryan Flynn and Jose Bax­ter.

But in stark con­trast to the buoy­ant mood of the hosts, Bris­tol City boss Steve Cot­ter­ill was moved to lam­bast his side for their lack­lus­tre per­for­mance at Bra­mall Lane.

The fu­ri­ous man­ager said:“We were abysmal. For 90 min­utes we didn’t look like we would get any­thing. We were well-rested, we trained hard for the week and we didn’t put one thing into prac­tice.

“It’s tough for me to take, be­cause I’m a win­ner and when my team doesn’t re­flect me that hurts.

“We were poor.We had a great fol­low­ing, and we let them down big time. We were lethar­gic in ev­ery­thing we did. When we needed com­po­sure we didn’t have it.

“And we gave away a stupid first goal – we worked all week on throw-ins and cor­ners and then just be­fore half-time we didn’t de­fend one prop­erly.

“It was a poor per­for­mance from us.”

Hav­ing been on top through­out the half, the Blades were re­warded on 43 min­utes when Bray­ford fired in at the back post af­ter Harry Maguire headed Bax­ter’s cor­ner on.

Flynn dou­bled the lead on 57 min­utes with a low fin­ish across Si­mon Moore, though it was Jamie Mur­phy who made the goal hav­ing run from deep in his own half to tee it up.

Mur­phy was in­volved again on 61 min­utes, beat­ing Mar­lon Pack’s wild tackle and run­ning from deep to find Conor Coady who shot into the side netting from a tight an­gle.

The third ar­rived on 70 min­utes though, Bax­ter con­vert­ing from the spot af­ter Flynn was brought down in the area by Kar­leigh Os­borne’s clumsy chal­lenge.

Bris­tol City nearly grabbed a con­so­la­tion in the dy­ing min­utes when Mark Howard palmed a bounc­ing shot into Sam Bal­dock’s path, but he re­cov­ered well to save be­fore Ty­rone Bar­nett blazed the re­bound over.

And Blades coach Chris Mor­gan hopes their new-found win­ning men­tal­ity can con­tinue to carry them up the ta­ble.

He said: “There have been some dif­fi­cult games in this run of wins and to get the re­sults is great – par­tic­u­larly the two we’ve had this week af­ter the Not­ting­ham For­est game.

“All five wins took lots of ef­fort. It was al­ways go­ing to be close here, and you could see nei­ther team wanted to lose it.

“Get­ting that first goal was vi­tal and then ob­vi­ously the sec­ond one set­tles things down a lit­tle bit for us.

“The way the lads have played in the last few weeks has been im­pres­sive, and their work rate, has been great but we’ve now got to keep that go­ing.”

SH­EFFIELD UNITED: (4-4-1-1): Howard 7, Bray­ford 7, Har­ris 6 (Hill 68 6), Maguire 7, Collins 7, Flynn 8 (Davies 71 6), Scougall 6, Coady 7, Doyle 6, Bax­ter 7, Mur­phy 9 (Payn­ter 77 6) Subs not used: Long, Porter, Miller, Kennedy

BRIS­TOL CITY: (4-4-2): Moore 6, Os­borne 4, Wil­liams 6, El-Abd 6, Flint 6, Bal­dock 5, Cunningham 5 (Pear­son 70 6), Pack 5 (Reid 70 6), El­liott 7, Bar­nett 4, Em­manuel-Thomas 5 (Burns 76 6) Subs

not used: Field­ing, Moloney, Bryan, Gil­lett

PIC­TURES: Mar­tyn Har­ri­son

STAR MAN JAMIE MURPH

Y SheffUtd HAPPY CHAP: John Bray­ford cel­e­brates the Blade’s first goal. In­set: Ryan Flynn scores their sec­ond

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