Sheffield Utd 2 Notts Forest 1: Adams’s long wait is finally ended by Lowton

MICKY Adams finally celebrated his first win as manager of Sheffield United last night, ending a long and painful wait at the 14th attempt against promotion chasing Nottingham Forest.

Matt Lowton’s header, nine minutes from time, raised the roof at Bramall Lane and offered fresh hope of avoiding relegation from the Championship.

The victory may have failed to reduce the six-point gap to safety due to a late winner for Crystal Palace against Cardiff City but, in terms of morale, this result could prove priceless.

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The Blades have 10 more games to play before the end of the season and, if anyone needs a lucky omen, they only need to look back 20 years when the club pulled off an equally unlikely escape act in the top flight – starting with a victory over Nottingham Forest at Bramall Lane.

Adams had made four changes to the side beaten by Portsmouth last weekend. Winger Bjorn Helge-Riise and striker Ched Evans had both suffered injuries in training while Lee Williamson and Johnny Ertl dropped to the bench.

Captain Nick Montgomery started for the first time in six games after a knee injury and there were recalls for defender Shane Lowry, after a four-game game ban, and strikers Daniel Bogdanovic and Sam Vokes.

Scottish international striker Kris Boyd, meanwhile, started on the bench for Forest after arriving from Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season.

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Although Forest started the night in fifth spot, they arrived at Bramall Lane having won only once in their last seven games.

The Blades more than matched the visitors in the first half and midfielder Stephen Quinn might have done better with two early chances. Forest’s David McGoldrick also flashed two shots wide from distance as play initially swung from end to end.

Playing in a 4-5-1 formation for the first time at home this season, the Blades used Vokes as a targetman with Bogdanovic and Richard Cresswell supporting from the flanks.

The on-loan Wolves striker had not started since making his debut five games ago and was largely seen challenging for high balls in the middle of the park.

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Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Marcus Tudgay collected the first caution of the game for a high kick on Quinn as the pace of the game slowed and Forest soaked up long balls from the Blades.

This patience paid off just before the break as Dele Adebola broke the deadlock with a neat shot on the turn from six yards out.

Collecting a ball from winger Paul Anderson with his back to defender Neill Collins, the veteran striker swivelled and just managed to get enough power on the shot to beat goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.

The goal again raised question marks about Simonsen as Blades manager Adams continues his search for a new goalkeeper.

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Cresswell spurned a chance to equalise just after the break when making a hash of an attempted half volley eight yards out.

Frustration started to show in the stands and Forest so nearly doubled their advantage when Collins deflected a cross narrowly wide of his own goalpost.

There were ironic cheers as Adams substituted both Cresswell and Nyron Nosworthy – two players now fighting a battle for acceptance with a section of the crowd.

It was 63 minutes before the Blades won a corner only for Montgomery and substitute Mattock to miscue half chances in a crowded area.

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Blades striker Bogdanovic is fast developing a reputation for winning penalties under pressure from opposition defenders in the box. The Maltese international had won two in the last three home games and duly converted both from the spot.

Forest defender Chris Gunter was undoubtedly lured into a position last night where it was easy for Bogdanovic to trip over his foot. Referee Tony Bates awarded the 67th-minute spot-kick but Bogdanovic failed to beat Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp.

Bogdanovic went to ground again soon after, this time under pressure from Paul Konchesky, sparking angry protests from the Forest players.

The Blades kept up the pressure and finally levelled through Vokes in the 73rd minute, the striker drilling the ball home from a tight angle.

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And Bramall Lane erupted with joy when Lowton headed in the winner just eight minutes later.

Sheffield United: Simonsen; Nosworthy (Mattock 56), Collins, Lowry, Lowton; Doyle; Cresswell (Yeates 56), Montgomery, Quinn, Bogdanovic (Williamson 89); Vokes. Unused substitutes: Ertl, Kozluk, Long, Bent.

Nottingham Forest: Camp; Gunter, Morgan, Chambers, Konchesky; McKenna, Cohen, Anderson; Tudgay (Earnshaw 76), McGoldrick (McCleary 74); Adebola (Boyd 72). Unused substitutes: McGugan, Majewski, Bennett, Darlow.

Referee: A Bates (Staffordshire).

Former Sheffield United defender Chris Armstong has announced his retirement from the game due to multiple sclerosis.

Armstrong, 28, spent five years with the Blades and played for the club in the Premier League before moving to his current club Reading three years ago.