FLASHBACK Sheffield United 4 Leyton Orient 1 - January 14 1961

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This week, 53 years ago Sheffield United were riding high at the top of League Two - before the continually confusing re-branding - the second tier of English league football.

However, while the Blades were in fine form, heading to Bramall Lane were Leyton Orient, a side who had won their last four games at United’s home.

Blades fans need not have worried though, as amid the mist in Sheffield, the visitors were finally put to the sword and in emphatic fashion.

Strikes from Russell, Mason, Coldwell and an own goal by Orient’s Charlton had United 4-0 up before a late consolation by Elwood gave the Londoners a goal that The Star’s Fred Walters admitted that evening in his Green ‘Un match report, he could barely see due to the density of the fog.

United went in front after three minutes when a corner by Mason found Pace, who fed Russell and the in-form forward shot low past George in the Orient goal.

On 25 minutes the lead was doubled when Russell turned provider, knocking a Coldwell clearance on to Mason who cut inside Lewis and fired home.

Bonetti's desparate save -'Chelsea's young goalkeeper, Bonetti, throws himself at the feet of Sheffield United inside right, Billy Russell, in the First Division match at Stamford Bridge Ground, London - 9th September 1961

Bonetti's desparate save -'Chelsea's young goalkeeper, Bonetti, throws himself at the feet of Sheffield United inside right, Billy Russell, in the First Division match at Stamford Bridge Ground, London - 9th September 1961

After that, Fred Walters wrote: “Mist started to creep in from the cricket side of the ground making one wonder if this would prevent United victory.”

Our reporter added: “By now all that the crowd in the centre of the stand could see were phantom figures dashing here and there in the Leyton goalmouth.”

Referee AJ Rowbottom played on and United, then under the stewardship of Scotsman John Harris in his first spell as boss, went further ahead early in the second half when Coldwell let fly from fully 30 yards, past George.

That all but sealed the game for United but they made sure, though in fortunate circumstances, as Simpson’s cross cannoned off Charlton and past his own goalkeeper.

Elwood pulled one back but the day belonged to United who maintained top spot ahead of Ipswich Town, albeit having played two games more than their rivals.

It would be the Suffolk side who would end the season as champions, though United did finish in second place and gained promotion to the top flight ahead of Liverpool who, under new manager Bill Shankly, were in the embryonic stages of what would become a legendary era on Merseyside.

See Sports Retro, our new four-page nostalgic pull-out free in The Star, every Monday

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