Fleetwood Town 1 Sheffield United 1: Forward thinking pays off for Clough’s Blades

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough was left to rue two dropped points despite going on the attack at Fleetwood.

Nigel Clough is unliikely to risk James Wallace at QPR

The Blades opted for two strikers, in Chris O’Grady and Michael Higdon, with Jamie Murphy handed a free role behind the pair.

The tactics certainly worked as Bob Harris put the visitors – who handed a debut to Kieran Wallace in midfield – in front on their first trip to Highbury Stadium.

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But the Cod Army snatched a share of the spoils in the second-half with an Antoni Sarcevic header.

“It is a good point away from home, although it is always disappointing not to win the game when you have taken the lead,” said Clough.

“We were pleased with the first-half performance, perhaps our formation surprised Fleetwood. It is the first chance we have had to get the two big lads together up front, with Jamie Murphy in behind and offensively it worked well.

“It is just a shame we had so many midfielders unavailable on the day, and with every formation there are pros and cons and the way we set up left us exposed down the flanks as we saw for their equaliser.

“We want to be a bit more positive, so we sacrificed the width and got the ball forward quicker at times.

“Against certain opposition it might work, against others it won’t, but at least it gives us another dimension.”

Fleetwood Town: Maxwell, McLaughlin,Roberts, Jordan, Andrew, M Hughes, J Hughes, Sarcevic, Evans (Haughton 82), Morris, Proctor. Unused substitutes: Schumacher, Dobbie, Hitchcock, Bleeker, Davies, Cartright.

Sheff Utd: Howard, Flynn, McCarthy, McEveley, Harris, Murphy, Doyle, Baxter (Basham 69), K Wallace (Cuvelier 79), O’Grady, Higdon (McNulty 75). Unused substitutes: McGahey, Campbell-Ryce, Turner, Adams.

Referee: A Marriner (W Midlands).

Man of the match: Jamie Murphy.