Hartlepool United 1 Sheffield United 2: Blades leave it late to see off basement boys

Jamal Campbell Ryce celebrates his winner. (Picture: Blades Sports Photography)
Jamal Campbell Ryce celebrates his winner. (Picture: Blades Sports Photography)
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JAMAL Campbell-Ryce was Sheffield United’s hero as his strike with just eight minutes remaining secured a place in the Northern Section quarter-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Experienced front-man Campbell-Ryce deserved his reward following a tireless display of running against the Football League’s basement side.

It was no major surprise that the Blades ended up bossing the first period against a struggling Pools outfit who were without a manager following the weekend resignation of Colin Cooper.

Campbell-Ryce looked particularly threatening, and he latched on to a smart pass from Jose Baxter before drilling a shot wide.

The hosts simply could not contain the Blades’ lively play, and it was no surprise when the visitors fired themselves into the lead on the half-hour mark. Chris Porter set up Baxter and he slotted home comfortably. Porter came close to doubling the lead but he dragged a shot wide.

Hartlepool must have endured a rocket at the interval as they came out for the second period with all guns blazing and equalised five minutes after the restart.

Michael Duckworth produced a well-directed finish to put the tie back in the balance.

However, the Blades went on to grab a deserved winner as Campbell-Ryce finished well after unselfish work from Porter.

Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Austin, Jones, Miller, Green (Walker 74), Woods, Hawkins (Smith 86), Brobbel, Wyke. Unused substitutes: Richards, Holden, Franks.

Sheffield United: Turner, Davies, Basham, McGahey, Harris, Campbell-Ryce, Reed. McGinn, De Girolamo (Murphy 63), Porter (Collins 85), Baxter (McNulty 46). Unused substitutes: Doyle, Willis.

Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).