We almost had full house of footballing victories, with only a draw for Chesterfield separating our region from a six out of six for the weekend, but what can we take from that and other sports stories from this weekend past.
Here we countdown five things we learned from the action in the past couple of days...
1. Sheffield United need to find a balance between seeing a game out and boring the pants off people.
It’s hard to be negative when a team has just won, but the Blades threw up one of my biggest bugbears on Saturday in the closing stages of their victory over Crawley Town at Bramall Lane. With around five minutes remaining the players began taking the ball into the corner to run down the clock. Five minutes! Add in the fact that the referee threw in an additional four for stoppages, that means they would have happily held it in there for nearly 10 minutes. There are few things more tedious in football and the home support voiced their disapproval. To add balance to the argument, there is a great deal of pressure on United this season and with a number of young players in the team, maybe they felt that this was the best way of seeing the game out. It’s easy to say it, but perhaps they should have more confidence in their own ability to hold onto the ball in central areas.
Thankfully there was a moment of magic to savour from an otherwise forgettable game, as Jose Baxter lit up the encounter with one of the goals of the day in any division. A sublime strike and as Chris Morgan said, worthy of winning any match.
2. There are few more awkward strike forces to play against than Sheffield Wednesday’s Atdhe Nuhiu and Stevie May
They are almost a throwback to bygone time in football, but the bolshy, bustling at times almost bullying style of Sheffield Wednesday’s frontmen is certainly effective. In Saturday’s 3-2 win at Middlesbrough, Nuhiu and May gave the home side a torrid time with the Austrian hitting a brace and the young Scot bagging his first in an Owls shirt... and well taken it was too. The pairing could barely be contained throughout and that has been the case since being pitted together. But don’t let their physicality mark them down as one-trick ponies. Nuhiu gets through a lot of hard work and May is skilful and with a deft touch. Together they have the ability to be a potent partnership.
3. Spireites need a striker
There was always going to be a tell-us-something-we-didn’t-already-know element to this list and here it is. Chesterfield have had a terrific start to the campaign, losing just once in the league so far - a narrow defeat to MK Dons. However, they now haven’t found the net in their last two; of the four they have scored, Eoin Doyle has registered three of them and without wishing to hammer home the point, two of those were penalties. On Saturday, away to top-of-the-table Fleetwood, it was profligacy in front of goal that cost them all three points and boss Paul Cook won’t need me to tell him where he needs to strengthen. However what is in his favour is that the Spireites start has made them a more attractive proposition and should he dip into the loan market, managers of bigger clubs will know they are sending their youngsters to a club with potential and who play attractive football. Get a striker and this could be another big year at the Proact.
4. Rotherham have no fear
Going to the New Den to face a Millwall side in form and coming off the back of match at Hillsborough where a late equaliser will have probably felt like a victory, it was unsurprising that the bookies favoured the home team as the Millers headed for the capital on Saturday. However, this Rotherham outfit are not worried about form or reputation. In each game this season they have gone out and played in the same manner which saw them rise up League One last year and it’s an attitude that has held them in good stead. A 1-0 win over Ian Holloway’s men was a further example of that. If they can keep up this fearlessness, there’s no reason why a play-off place can’t be achieved.
5. Kell Brook is already inspiring
Sheffield’s new world champion was given a terrific homecoming on Friday as the city came out to welcome and pay tribute to Brook. But it is those with similar ambitions who are taking the best ride on the crest of Kell’s wave. Another man with an eye on the big time is Barry Awada AKA Kid Galahad and speaking in The Star today, the young fighter admitted that Brook’s success has made him want to taste the same kind of glory. He’s more than capable and the hope is that Awada isn’t the only one in South Yorkshire who has been lifted by Kell’s triumph.