Sheffield United 4 Exeter City 4: Blades in Lane goals thriller

Danny Wilson: Sheffield United manager.
Danny Wilson: Sheffield United manager.
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Sheffield United had to settle for a point after an eight-goal thriller at Bramall Lane against Exeter in League One, writes Robert Gledhill.

Danny Wilson stuck with the side which had recorded a 2-1 victory over MK Dons in midweek for the visit of Exeter, who also named an unchanged side

It meant that the Blades continued with 17-year-old George Long in goal with Richard Cresswell and Billy Clarke up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

Exeter opted to operate with captain David Noble playing as the lone striker with Matt Oakley playing in front of the defence and with former Barnsley striker Daniel Nardiello out on the left in a 4-1-4-1 line-up.

A terrible mix-up between Long and left-back Marcus Williams on the edge of the area allowed Nardiello to nip between them and tap home the 10th-minute opener for Exeter.

Worse was to follow for the Blades midway through the half when Noble was given far too much space 30 yards out to line up a shot which took a slight deflection off Kevin McDonald which was enough to take the ball looping over Long into the net.

The Blades struck back just before the break through a hooked volley from Matt Phillips, which was deflected in off Troy Archibald-Henville.

Ched Evans replaced Richard Cresswell early in the second half and the Blades’ pressure told in the 65th minute as Clarke tucked away across from fellow Blackpool loanee Phillips to make it 2-2.

It was soon 3-2 to the Blades. Clarke playing a short corner to Quinn, whose cross was headed by Harry Maguire for Matt Lowton to force home from close range.

The Blades were stunned in the 83rd-minute as substitute John O’Flynn beat the offside trap and ran in to head a chip from Noble over Long for the equaliser.

There was more drama as Phillips put the Blades back in front from a head down by Evans only for James Dunne to chase a long ball and score from an acute angle to make it 4-4.