Swindon 0 Sheffield United 2: Disciplined Blades exorcise their demons

SHEFFIELD uNITED moved up to second place and left manager Nigel Adkins purring at the County Ground.

Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins
Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins

Second-half goals from Neill Collins and Billy Sharp, his second in successive league games, secured victory for the Blades at a ground where they lost 5-2 last season before crashing out in the second leg, play-off semi-final after the drama of a 5-5 draw on the night from 3-0 down.

Adkins said: “That was a really disciplined performance against a very good side. All credit to the players.

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“Credit to the supporters, too. We couldn’t go storming forward but they understood and stuck with us.

“We came with a game-plan and I thought the players were fantastic in their application of it.”

Collins claimed his second of the season with 20 minutes remaining after meeting Louis Reed’s corner with a header as Chilean goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux appeared to be distracted.

Sharp doubled their lead four minutes later with a low finish beyond the advancing Vigouroux on the counter-attack.

The hosts, missing four influential figures through injury, unravelled after that with substitute Martyn Woolford, who replaced England Under-20 call-up Che Adams, denied by a smart reaction save during the closing stages.

Conor Sammon had seen a snap-shot thunder against the underside of the Chilean’s crossbar in the first half.

Swindon Town: Vigouroux, Robert, Williams, Turnbull, Traore, Kasim, Smith (Storey 67), Byrne, Stewart, Rodgers, Rossi-Branco. Unused substitutes: Belford, Brophy, Randall, Marshall, Barry, Iandolo.

Sheffield United: Howard, Freeman, Basham, Sharp, Collins, Sammon (Higdon 90), McEveley, Campbell-Ryce (Alcock 88), Reed, Adams (Woolford 60), Edgar. Unused substitutes: Long, McNulty, McFadzean, McGahey.

Referee: C Sarginson (Staffordshire).

Man of the match: Billy Sharp.