The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By John Brind­ley

JA­MAL Camp­bell-Ryce’s twin­kling feet even­tu­ally brought a smile to Blades fans’ faces but Rochdale boss Keith Hill still found lit­tle to moan about.

The quick-think­ing Jamaican winger, now with his 12th Foot­ball League club, was the home side’s chief threat through­out as United chased shad­ows.

But his 84th minute win­ner – a swirling cross, rather than a shot – was “jammy”, rather than “clas­sic Ja­mal”, as Hill’s men were left curs­ing their luck.

But to run the Blades close at a brim­ming-full Bram­mall Lane was ad­e­quate con­so­la­tion for the Dale man­ager.

“I’m re­ally pleased – we were su­perb,” he said. “We’ve bossed pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory for large pe­ri­ods of the game and it was only in the last five min­utes that you heard the home fans roar.

“It was elec­tric when they scored, show­ing what a place this is to come and play.

“We have ac­quit­ted our­selves re­ally well and it fills me with en­thu­si­asm for the games ahead. We showed what we are try­ing to achieve here but we have to pick up points at hard places like this.”

Hill’s side had their own ma­gi­cian in skip­per Ian Hen­der­son, who led a front line that of­ten had the Blades at full stretch with­out mak­ing enough clear open­ings.

Hen­der­son him­self had Dale’s best ef­fort, a rasp­ing 20-yard drive that rat­tled Mark Howard’s bar in the 71st minute after a typ­i­cally stylish turn.

The fact though that Howard’s best – and only test­ing save – was re­served for Peter Vin­centi’s in­jury time header also told a story.

Blades, for all their short­com­ings on the ball, de­fended ca­pably enough to keep them­selves in the game.

For too long, Nigel Clough’s lack of an out-and-out striker meant all Camp­bell-Ryce’s skil­ful ef­forts amounted to lit­tle to worry Con­rad Lo­gan. Even in the sec­ond half their best on-tar­get ef­forts came from the de­fen­sively- minded Chris Basham and Michael Doyle.

That was un­til Camp­bell-Ryce twisted past sub­sti­tute Tom Kennedy inside the area in the 84th minute be­fore aim­ing a cross to the far post.

Lo­gan was blame­less as the ball curled cru­elly beyond him as the Jamaican soaked up his de­served ap­plause at the cost of bear­ing his chest for a yel­low card.

Only in the clos­ing min­utes did United show some swag­ger and they will have to im­prove on this show­ing to turn last sea­son’s near play-off miss into glory come May.

Clough re­flected: “It was a very good game and credit to Rochdale who have scored a lot of goals away from home.

“I’ve told the lads that could prove to be one of our tough­est games at Bra­mall Lane. Like Craw­ley, they have raised their game and made it dif­fi­cult for us.

“The key was keep­ing our con­cen­tra­tion and not con­ced­ing when Rochdale were on top in the sec­ond half.

“Ja­mal was our main threat – his goal was a cross to the far post but noth­ing else dropped for us.

“We need more qual­ity and bet­ter de­ci­sions in the fi­nal third.”

Sh­effield United: (4-1-4-1): Howard 6, Al­cock 6, Doyle 6, Collins 6, McEve­ley 7, Camp­bell-Ryce 9, McGa­hey 6, Basham 6 (Wal­lace 74, 6), Davies 4 (McNulty 63 ,6), Baxter 6, Murphy 6 (Flynn 65, 5)

Subs not used: Har­ris, Hig­don, Reed, Turner Rochdale: (4-4-2): Lo­gan 6, Raf­ferty 5 (Kennedy 44, 7), Eastham 7, O’Con­nell 7, Tanser 6, Allen 7 (An­drew 86, n/a), Ben­nett 7 (Fenelon 86, n/a), Daw­son 7, Vi­centi 7, Hen­der­son 9, Done 7

Subs not used: Lan­cashire, Hery, Mu­sangu, Bunney

PIC­TURE: Me­dia Im­age Ltd


ELLRYCE Sh­effie

ld United BLADES RUN­NER: Ja­mal Camp­bell-Ryce wheels away with­out a shirt after net­ting the win­ner

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