Jose Baxter’s brace of penalties gave Sheffield United a comfortable 4-0 win against Scunthorpe United at Bramall Lane this evening,
United, who had earlier taken the lead when Jason Holt curled home his first goal in English football, were in commanding form throughout this contest and went 2-0 ahead when Baxter emphatically finished from the spot, after Jordan Clarke had tripped the recalled Ryan Flynn.
It remained that way until half time until Jamie Murphy made it three my meeting Kieron Freeman’s throughball and chipping neatly over Iron goalkeeper Luke Daniels.
Baxter then smashed home his second soon after from the spot, after Miguel Llera was adjudged to have dragged down Marc McNulty in the box.
To compound a miserable afternoon, former Sheffield Wednesday man Llera - recalled to Mark Robins’ starting XI - was shown a second booking and was given a typical send-off by the Bramall Lane crowd.
United started brightly and went ahead when Holt netted with a smart finish from outside the box, exchanging passes with Paul Coutts and sending a curling effort into the corner of the net in the 15th minute.
And Baxter doubled United’s lead from the spot with a thumping penalty, after Ryan Flynn had been clumsily tripped in the box by Iron defender Clarke.
McNulty replaced the impressive Steven Davies in the second half and Michael Doyle was introduced at the expense of Paul Coutts, before Jamie Murphy put the result beyond all doubt when he outpaced Miguel Llera, met Kieron Freeman’s incisive throughball and chipped home to make it 3-0.
Baxter then dispatched his second from the spot, after Llera had made the long walk towards the tunnel. Flynn was then replaced by Ben Davies.
Earlier, manager Nigel Clough made two changes to his side from the 1-0 win over Port Vale at the weekend.
Out went Mark Howard, with a recurrance of his long-standing back injury, and Matt Done, who picked up a knock.
In came goalkeeper Iain Turner behind the posts, while Flynn replaced Done on the right wing.
Freeman was booke during a scrappy opening few moments, with Paddy Madden causing problems for United’s rearguard.
But Bob Harris and Coutts combined well down the left wing shortly after, the former’s cross forcing Daniels to react sharply to smother.
United faced Iron for the second time in a matter of weeks, after a 1-1 draw at Glanford Park earlier this month.
And Freeman, who scored United’s equaliser that day, was in an attacking mood early on as he foraged forward on two impressive occasions; the latter almost creating an opportunity for Flynn.
But it was Holt who broke the deadlock in emphatic fashion - although Llera was left complaining to the assistant referee that a United player had impeded Daniels’ line of vision, and should have been flagged offside.
The win put Clough’s men six points clear of seventh-placed rivals Barnsley. This match was originally due to be played in December, but was postponed due to adverse weather conditions around Bramall Lane.
Former Sheffield Wednesday defender Llera featured for Mark Robins’ Iron, with ex-Blade Marcus Williams on the bench.
Blades: Turner, Freeman, Brayford, Basham, Harris, Flynn, Coutts, Baxter, Murphy, Holt, S Davies.
Subs: Alcock, Doyle, McNulty, Willis, Done, B Davies, Adams.
Scunthorpe: Daniels, Canavan, Madden, Adelakun, Townsend, Lundstram, O’Neil, McSheffrey, Llera, Clarke, Osbourne.
Subs: van Veen, Evans, Boyce, Wootton, Williams, Davey, Anyon.
Attendance 19,442 - Away 745