Clough’s de­light at late show­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ricky Charlesworth

NIGEL Clough was left beam­ing af­ter this victory over league-lead­ers Swin­don topped off a hugely sat­is­fy­ing week for the Blades.

Clough's cup kings main­tained their pro­mo­tion push thanks to Jamie Mur­phy’s sec­ond-half dou­ble.

The victory came at the end of a week when the Bra­mall Lane club made a clutch of new sign­ings, handed new con­tracts out to key play­ers and put in a ter­rific per­for­mance in their League Cup semi-fi­nal tie with Pre­mier League Tot­ten­ham.

Clough made an as­ton­ish­ing ten changes to the side which pushed Spurs all the way dur­ing that sec­ond leg in their pre­vi­ous out­ing and he was de­lighted that his ro­ta­tion paid off.

“It’s been a very sat­is­fy­ing week, es­pe­cially when you con­sider we’ve put two nearly dif­fer­ent teams out in the last two games,” said Clough.

“Some of the changes were en­forced but that’s what you've got a squad for.

“It’s been a great week in terms of play­ers com­ing in and play­ers sign­ing new con­tracts.

“It’s all pos­i­tive stuff for the club.”

Mur­phy's in­tro­duc­tion came just be­fore the in­ter­val, af­ter Michael Hig­don nearly saw red for a flurry of petu­lant fouls. The re­place­ment made a big im­pres­sion, pro­vid­ing en­ergy and cre­ativ­ity be­fore bag­ging both goals in­side the fi­nal 20 min­utes.

Swin­don had un­til that point been the dom­i­nant side.

The first half was a poor one in terms of gen­uine chances and was con­sis­tently punc­tu­ated by fouls from both sets of play­ers.

Che Adams, fresh from a dou­ble against Tot­ten­ham, cre­ated United’s first real open­ing of the game ten min­utes be­fore half-time, when he con­trolled a cross­field ball and bent an ef­fort just wide of the Swin­don goal.

The vis­i­tors wasted at least three chances with Jonathan Obika and John Swift both fluff­ing their lines in­side the area as the Blades scram­bled to hack the ball away. In al­most the fi­nal act of the half, United won a free-kick right on the edge of the area and Ben Davies stepped up only to see his ef­fort bounce back off one post and roll across and hit the other, be­fore be­ing cleared away by the re­lieved vis­it­ing de­fence.

Swin­don were the brighter side af­ter the restart with a flurry of ef­forts from Andy Wil­liams, Chelsea loa­nee John Swift and Obika all go­ing close within the first quar­ter of an hour.

United set­tled down though and man­aged to string to­gether a cou­ple of ef­forts them­selves, although Swin­don’s well-drilled de­fence were prov­ing a tough nut to crack.

The scor­ing was then opened with lit­tle over 15 min­utes to play and it was su­per-sub Mur­phy who did the dam­age.

Louis Reed scam­pered down the wing and cut the ball into the path of Mur­phy, who found the back of the net with an in­ci­sive, first-time ef­fort.

United were buoyed by the goal and they then soaked up the pres­sure and hit Swin­don on the counter attack late on to se­cure the cru­cial sec­ond.

Cen­tre-half Terry Kennedy pro­vided the through­ball and Mur­phy fin­ished with aplomb to grab his sec­ond of the game and seal the points for Clough’s men against high­fly­ing Robins.

Swin­don boss Mark Cooper re­flected on an af­ter­noon where his side just couldn’t find the back of the net no mat­ter how hard they tried.

He said: “We should have been two or three up at half-time.

“Full credit to Sh­effield United, they’ve done a job on us and they’ve got a lot of help here from ex­ter­nal sources.

“We have to move on. I thought we had loads of op­por­tu­ni­ties in and around the box.

“We just need to be calm and roll the ball in, but we ended up tak­ing too many touches or smash­ing it when a calm fin­ish would have been enough.”

PIC­TURES: Blades Sports Photography

GOOD TIMES: Jamie Mur­phy cel­e­brates with his Sh­effield United col­leagues

WHAT A FIN­ISH: Jamie Mur­phy scores a sec­ond goal for Sh­effield United


Y Sh­ef­fUtd

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