Sheffield United 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Micky Adams held on to his job as Sheffield United manager as the Blades came from behind to beat promotion chasing Nottingham Forest. The Blades picked up their first win since Adams took charge but remain in the relagation zone, six points adrift of safety.
The visitors grabbed the first goal just before half time, as Dele Adebola rolled the ball past home goalkeeper Steve Simonsen from close range. But it was the home side who secured a valuable three points, with Sam Vokes slotting home from a tight angle mid-way through the second half, and a header from Matt Lowton in the 80th minute sealing the win. And manager Adams, who had been under increasing pressure following the Blade’s winless run, was relieved to see his side win.
He said, “I’m just pleased for everybody, the players and supporters were terrific. We have to use this win as a springboard for the last ten games, and see what we can do.”
The game started fairly evenly, but it was the home side who created the first chance. Stephen Quinn had a shot from close range, but it was an easy save for Lee Camp in the Forest goal.
Shane Lowry and Vokes both had further chances for United as they looked for the breakthrough goal, but as the half progressed, the Blades struggled to string together passes and the fans became increasingly frustrated.
Forest tried to find their own way through, as ex-Wednesday player Marcus Tudgay volleyed a shot wide from 20 yards out.
And Tudgay got himself into trouble later in the half when he clattered into Quinn, earning himself a booking, much to the delight of the home fans.
Adebola showed some neat footwork in the box and grabbed the first goal of the game for the visitors in the 42nd minute. Blades keeper Simonsen got a hand on the Forest striker’s shot from close range, but it spun off it and into the net.
There were boos from the crowd at half time, but the Blades started the second half brightly, with a a good spell of attacking play in the first few minutes.
And there were chances for both sides before Bogdanovic was pulled down in the Forest penalty area by Chris Gunter mid-way through the second half and the home team were awarded a penalty.
Bogdanovic got up to take the penalty himself, but his shot was not powerful enough and was saved by Camp, who dived to his left and parried it away.
But United didn’t give up, and there were claims for another penalty moments afterwards when Bogdanovic was again pulled down in the penalty area, but the referee waved them away.
The home team were rewarded for their efforts when they notched the equaliser in the 73rd minute. Some good passing play led to a shot from a tight angle from Vokes, which found its way past the onrushing Camp to make it 1-1.
The home fans became increasingly vocal as they sensed their team could actually get something from the game.
The away side had a couple of chances of their own, but a shot in the 80th minute was parried away by Simonsen and led to a counter attack and a corner for the home side.
Stephen Quinn found Matt Lowton with the corner, and he rose highest to head the ball past Camp to make it 2-1 to the home side. The Blades were roared on by a passionate support in the last ten minutes as the play switched from end to end.
Forest substitute Kris Boyd, who was making his debut after being signed on loan from Middlesborough, looked certain to score as his shot was saved at point blank range by Simonsen.
Both teams had chances as the pace of the game increased in the last few minutes, with Forest desperate to grab an equaliser, but United were resolute in defence and held on to grab a crucial win.
There were loud cheers from the relieved home fans at the final whistle as United finally ended their 13 game winless streak.
After the match, Adams said, “There was a massive mental barrier that we needed to break, and hopefully that’s gone now.”
Forest manager Billy Davies was gracious in defeat, saying, “We didn’t pass well enough in the second half and our possession wasn’t good.
Forest are on a very difficult run of games. The players looked mentally tired.”
Sheffield United Line-Up: Simonsen; Nosworthy (Mattock), Lowry, Collins, Lowton; Cresswell (Yeates), Doyle, Montgomery, Quinn; Vokes, Bogdanovic (Williamson).
Nottingham Forest Line-Up: Camp; Gunter, Morgan, Chambers, Konchesky; Anderson, McGoldrick (McCleary), McKenna, Cohen; Tudgay (Earnshaw), Adebola (Boyd)