Stevenage 0 Sheffield United 0: Blades thwarted by post and weather in Borough deadlock

Aidy White
Aidy White
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Twice the woodwork came to Stevenage’s rescue and denied Nigel Clough a very happy Christmas as Sheffield United manager.

On-loan Leeds United defender Aidy White saw his effort strike the post before Jose Baxter’s shot hammered the upright.

With Blades goalkeeper George Long largely untroubled, there were plenty of positives for Clough as United sit two points above Stevenage, who occupy the final relegation spot.

“It was a terrific performance, the best we have seen in the last two months,” said Clough.

“We controlled the game from start to finish, the only thing that was lacking was the winning goal, apart from that it was the complete performance.

“We got the ball down and played the well. We didn’t give Stevenage any encouragement, we dealt with conditions brilliantly, handled the strengths of the opposition comfortably and struck the woodwork twice.

“Sometimes we have bemoaned a lack of quality, but in other instances such as when Aidy (White) hits the post, it comes down to that bit luck.

“I was delighted with the team’s performance, George (Long) didn’t have a shot to save, that tells you something about our dominance.

“We created numerous chances, our attitude was first-class and we showed no signs of weakness.

“On another day we could have walked away with a 2-0 win and nobody would have had any complaints.”

Stevenage boss Graham Westley thought the blustery conditions spoiled the contest.

“The conditions were the winner this afternoon, it was very tough out there,” he said. “In the first half it [the wind]was really up, and we had to defend our goal with real resilience.

“It was difficult to get the ball down and keep it under control. As a consequence there was a lot of back-to-front ball played. It was a game that I always thought would be 1-0 from a set play.

“You had to make sure you didn’t make mistakes, that you kept yourself solid, that you kept your concentration, and you hope that you could win it.

“We had a couple of moments; Jordan with the far-post header, nobody there to pick up the seconds.

“Dunny [James Dunne], when he tried the chip, probably could have whipped the bottom corner for me.”

Stevenage: Day, Jimmy Smith, Chorley, Ashton, Freeman, Morais (Jones 24), Parrett (Dunne 53), Heslop, Tansey, Burrow (Andrade 86), Zoko. Unused substitutes: Arnold, Wedgbury, Tounkara, Haber.

Sheffield United: Long, White (Murphy 76), Maguire, Collins, Hill, Doyle, Miller, McGinn, McMahon, Porter, Baxter. Unused substitutes: Howard, Flynn, Taylor, Coady, Brandy, Lappin.

Referee: D Phillips (West Sussex).

Man of the match: Jose Baxter.