Match Report: Sheffield United 1 Blackpool 1

Chris Porter and Ian Evatt wait for the ball to come down
Chris Porter and Ian Evatt wait for the ball to come down
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SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson declared himself satisfied with his team’s efforts despite seeing them held to a draw by Blackpool.

SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson declared himself satisfied with his team’s efforts despite seeing them held to a draw by Blackpool.

Chris Porter opened the scoring just before the interval but Craig Sutherland made the hosts pay for spurning a series of chances by claiming an equaliser during the closing stages.

Wilson, whose side dominated for long periods, praised United’s “honesty, quality and endeavour” but admitted: “We’ve got to start putting teams away and making sure that good work doesn’t go to waste. Another striker is still one of my priorities but I mean that with no disrespect to the lads we’ve got out there. I’m pleased with their attitude and also very pleased with some of the stuff we put together. They’re showing a willingness to implement our ideas.”

Alex Kruk and Kevin McDonald, both enjoyed their final chance to impress Wilson in a real match situation before the League One opener at Oldham Athletic. Whether or not their performances will be enough to earn them moves to South Yorkshire could become apparent as early as today.

But, while presenting far from irresistible cases, McDonald and Kruk certainly provided coaching staff with food for thought.

Likewise Matt Duke who has made no secret of his desire to secure a deal with the club he has supported since childhood.

“We’ll sit down and have a chat about things,” added Wilson. “We have to be sure they are the right people.

“But, I’ve got to admit, they didn’t do themselves any harm.”

Ian Holloway is known as one of the game’s great jokers but the visitors’ manager is deadly serious about his football and followed Wilson’s lead by naming a strong starting 11.

Barry Ferguson, the former Glasgow Rangers and Scotland captain, Brett Omerod and Neal Eardley all featured alongside mysterious marksman ‘A Trialist.’

Not one of Ollie’s most amusing jokes.

McDonald announced his intentions with a perfectly timed tackle on Ferguson but opportunties to showcase the midfield magic which could press his claims for a contract at Bramall Lane did not present themselves until the 27th minute when he sent a long-range drive fizzing just past the post.

Having spoken of his desire to rid United of their route one image, Wilson, suited, booted and arms crossed tightly on the touchline, will have been delighted with the 15th minute move which created the first opening of the afternoon.

Lee Williamson and Daniel Bogdanovic combined to force the ball across goal but Kruk blasted over.

With Matt Gilks looking less than assured, United continued to press.

Fortunately for Blackpool, though, those patrolling the box in front of their goalkeeper appeared far better drilled with Bogdanovic and Porter twice caught offside in quick succession.

Porter’s appeals for a penalty following a challenge by Matt Hill were waved away moments before McDonald’s howitzer while Stephen

Quinn deposited the ball on the roof of Gilk’s net thanks to a superb piece of individual persistence

Steve Simonsen was forced to parry clear when Ludovic Sylvestre seized upon Matthew Lowton’s lapse of concentration.

But Porter ensured United’s dominance was rewarded when he fired home on the rebound following Bogdanovic’s 42nd minute break and Erik Tonne’s shot.

Jordan Slew should have doubled their advantage immediately after the re-start before forging another for Porter and Duke denied Blackpool substitute Gary Taylor-Fletcher with a good block.

Sutherland restored parity with a clinical 78th minute finish.

SHEFFIELD UNITED: Simonsen (Duke 60), Lowton, Lecsinel, Bogdanovic (Slew 46), Williamson (McAllister 46), Collins, McDonald

(Montgomery 60), Porter (Philliskirk 60), Tonne (Doyle 46), Kruk (Maguire 70), Quinn.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks (Bouzanis 46), Eardley (Baptiste 46), Harris (Crainey 46), Sylvestre (Southern 46), Hill, Evatt, Clarke (Sutherland 46), Grandin (Taylor-Fletcher 46) (Djordjic 87), Trialist (Phillips 46), Omerod (Ince 60), Ferguson (Angel 57).

Referee: D Deadman.

Attendance: 5,696.