Sheffield United 2 Southend 2: Collins nets in Blades fightback

Sheffield United.
Sheffield United.
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Sheffield United returned to League One action this afternoon but were held by Southend United at Bramall Lane

The surprising team news saw George Long retained in goal over Mark Howard.

The Blades kicked off in pouring rain towards the Kop and there was little to choose between the two sides in the opening exchanges.

But two swift goals put the visitors in front. First, Ryan Leonard fired home from long range, the ball going in off the inside of the post, before Jack Payne doubled Southend's lead.

Jose Baxter replied, when he poked home after the visitor's goalkeeper failed to hold a greasy ball.

And parity was restored, when Neill Collins drilled the ball home following Baxter's corner in first-half stoppage time.

In the second half, United did everything but score.

Three times they hit the woodwork, from Baxter, Chris Basham and Billy Sharp.

Sharp was also denied from close range by the goalkeeper to make it a frustrating afternoone for Nigel Adkins's side.

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