Crewe 0 Sheffield United 1: Clough delighted with Blades’ performance

SHEFFIELD United erased memories of their previous visit to Gresty Road with a victory more emphatic than the scoreline would suggest.

HERO: Stefan Scougall celebrates his winning goal for Sheffield United against Crewe. Picture: Martyn Harrison

Stefan Scougall’s strike gave the Blades a third consecutive triumph against 10-man Crewe Alexandra.

Last February, United slumped to a 3-0 lost at Crewe, prompting Clough to call a meeting at which he asked his players: “Is this what it is going to be like?”

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Scroll forward to Saturday and the visitors were in charge throughout but only had Scougall’s goal to show for their efforts. He speared a shot home from close in after Jamie Murphy had cut in from the left to lay on the chance.

Jose Baxter should have made completely sure of the win late on after he was felled in the box, but his penalty was saved by Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt.

Mark McNulty, McNulty dropped to the bench despite scoring the opening goal during Tuesday’s win over Yeovil Town, wasted another opportunity for the Blades before Crewe’s George Ray was dismissed for dissent.

The victory saw Sheffield United climb to fifth place.

Clough commented: “It was a dominant performance from the first minute, and to be hanging on just for even 30 seconds at the end didn’t do justice to the performance.

“It’s brilliant because it shows progress. We came here about nine months ago and lost 3-0. That’s how we’re trying to develop playing away from home as well as at home.”

Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Tootle, Ray, Dugdale, Leigh, Brandy (Ness 64), Grant, Turton, Inman (Waters 78), Haber (Haynes 65), Cooper. Unused substitutes: Shearer, Guthrie, Atkinson, Tate.

Sheffield United: Howard, Alcock, McCarthy, Basham (McEveley 84), Harris, Murphy, Wallace, Doyle, Scougall (Reed 85), Campbell-Ryce, Baxter (McNulty 85). Unused substitutes: Davies, McGahey, Higdon, Turner.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).

Man of the match: Stefan Scougall.