Blades snatch victory with late double strike

Sheffield United match-winner Chris Porter (Picture: Martyn Harrison).
Sheffield United match-winner Chris Porter (Picture: Martyn Harrison).
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Jamie Murphy and Chris Porter both scored late on as Sheffield United came from a goal down to beat Port Vale.

Murphy, who is enjoying a revival under the guidance of Blades’ manager Nigel Clough, netted in the 83rd minute to give the visitors parity after Louis Dodds had put Port Vale in front.

Then in stoppage time substitute Porter completed the turnaround, hammering a left-foot shot out of goalkeeper Sam Johnson’s reach.

The outcome means Clough’s side have gone six games unbeaten in the league.

It also marked a double over a Vale side managed by former Blades chief Micky Adams.

Vale broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Dodds’s close-range finish.

However, it required an excellent stop from Johnson to prevent Jose Baxter from levelling things up after he and Stefan Scougall combined well.

Billy Knott’s 25-yard effort was comfortably dealt with by Mark Howard before Clough decided to change things in an attempt to retrieve matters.

He sent on Porter for Baxter, but Vale almost nabbed a second shortly after when a drive from Jennison Myrie-Williams deflected up and over the crossbar.

Scougall’s balance was off when he tried his luck from outside the penalty area, and he dragged his shot well wide.

Blades looked to have run out of luck at that stage, but Murphy and Porter both found the net in the closing stages to keep United in eighth position.

Port Vale: Johnson, Yates, Robertson, Duffy, Dickinson, Myrie-Williams, Griffith (Shuker 87), Lines, Knott, Dodds (Lloyd 76), Williamson (Hugill 76). Unused substitutes: Tomlin, Birchall, Smith.

Sheffield United: Howard, Brayford, Maguire, Collins (Hill 23), Freeman, Flynn, Coady (Davies 78), Doyle, Scougall, Murphy, Baxter (Porter 72). Unused substitutes: McGinn, Paynter, Long, Kennedy.

Referee: S Bratt (W Midlands).

Clough made five changes for the trip to Vale Park, recalling Kieron Freeman, Ryan Flynn, Michael Doyle, Stefan Scougall and Jose Baxter to his starting line-up. Out go Matt Hill, Stephen McGinn, Ben Davies, Connor Dimaio and Chris Porter.

Skipper Doyle started on the substitutes bench in Monday’s goalless draw at Tranmere Rovers while Scougall was rested.

Left-back Bob Harris (groin) is unlikely to play for United again this season.

The hosts came close to opening the scoring after four minutes when former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Chris Lines, available for selection again following a four-match suspension, struck the post with a right foot shot.

United almost made the Valiants rue that miss but John Brayford, on loan from Cardiff City, blazed over.

Clough was forced into making a personnel change midway through the half as Neill Collins picked up an injury, meaning Matt Hill was brought on to play alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of their rearguard.

Goal-scoring opportunities were at a premium, with both sides cancelling each other out. Much to the visitors annoyance, Maguire saw two efforts from distance blocked.

Anthony Griffith was yellow carded just after the re-start following a late challenge on Doyle.

Vale broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Dodds, who slotted in from close range.

It took a superb save by Sam Johnson to prevent Jose Baxter from levelling things up after the Liverpudlian exchanged passes with Scougall.

At the other end, Billy Knott tried his luck from 25 yards but Mark Howard, out of contract at the end of the season, was equal to it.

Clough threw on Chris Porter for Baxter to try and spark his team into life.

However, it was the Valiants who nearly doubled their advantage, with Jennison Myrie-Williams seeing his drive deflected over the top.

Scougall, off balance, dragged an effort well wide from just outside the penalty area as it appeared it wasn’t going to be their night.

But Murphy and Porter registered in the closing stages to keep United in eighth position.

Vale: Johnson, Yates, Robertson, Dodds, Myrie Williams, Lines, Williamson, Griffith, Duffy, Knott. Substitutes: Tomlin, Shuker, Lloyd, Birchall, Smith, Hugill.

United: Howard; Brayford, Maguire, Collins, Freeman; Flynn, Doyle, Coady, Scougall, Murphy; Baxter. Substitutes: Hill, Porter, McGinn, Paynter, Davies, Long, Kennedy.