Match Report: Sheffield United 2 Leeds 0

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Way Back In June, When The Fixture Planners Unveiled Their Latest Piece Of Handiwork, This Match Appeared Certain To Be A Contest Between Two Heavyweight Contenders.

Nine Months On And Leeds, Fifth In The Table And Trailing The Automatic Promotion Places By Only Six Points, Have Fulfilled Their Side Of The Bargain.

But Sheffield United, Despite Clinging On To Championship Status Only By Their Fingertips, Proved They Still Also Pack A Punch By Producing Their Most Impressive Performance Of The Micky Adams Era.

Sheffield United v Leeds United'Stephen Quinn tries to get past eric Lichaj

Sheffield United v Leeds United'Stephen Quinn tries to get past eric Lichaj

Having Waited 14 Games Before Breaking His Duck In The Bramall Lane Dug-out, United’s Manager Is Too Long In The Tooth To Declare That A Corner Has Been Turned In The Battle For Survival.

But, After Watching Eric Lichaj’s Own Goal And A Clinical Finish From Substitute Bjorn Helge Riise Deliver A Second Home Win In Succession, Suddenly His Claims They Can Yet Avoid Relegation Carry Extra Conviction.

Nick Montgomery, Whose Tireless Display Prompted Adams To Describe Him As “The Lifeblood” Of The Club, Was Instrumental In Dumping Leeds Flat On The Canvas.

The Midfielder, Playing Despite A Troublesome Knee Injury, Said: “We Still Got Self-belief. We’ve Shown That By Beating A Top Team With A Top Manager And We’re Not Scared Of Anyone.

Sheffield United v Leeds United'Bjorne Helge Riise scores blades second

Sheffield United v Leeds United'Bjorne Helge Riise scores blades second

“The Rest Of The Lads And Myself Are Ready To Give Everything To Help Keep This Football Team Where It Belongs, Where It Should Be At The Very Least.”

Fears That Familiarity Would Breed Contempt Proved Unfounded As Leeds, Who Had Billy Paynter Sent Off Late On For A Stamp On Shane Lowry, Barely Laid A Glove On Their Bitter Rivals.

United, Including Three Players With Spells At Elland Road On Their Footballing Cvs, Breathed A Sigh Of Relief When Max Gradel Spurned A Glorious Opportunity While The Score Remained Deadlocked But The Visitors Were Indebted To Kasper Schmeichel For Making Three Superb Saves Before Lichaj Turned Montgomery’s Cross Beyond The Great Dane.

His Acrobatic Effort To Palm Stephen Quinn’s First-half Drive Around A Post Either Side Of Blocks To Deny Daniel Bogdanovic And Ched Evans Was Arguably The Pick Of A Very Fine Bunch.

Leeds United's Billy Paynter (front right) is shown a red card during the npower Football League Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2011. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.pressassociation.com/images/restrictions for full restrictions.

Leeds United's Billy Paynter (front right) is shown a red card during the npower Football League Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2011. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.pressassociation.com/images/restrictions for full restrictions.

Montgomery Continued: “The Gaffer Has Been Working So Hard To Try And Get Us Out Of This Position, So A Lot Of Credit Must Go To Him Too.

“The People Who Come To See Us Know That We’ve Done Well In The Past And Then Got Punished For Not Taking Our Chances. We Took Ours Out There Though Today.

“It’s Still A Small Squad And We’ve Got To Carry On Digging In.

“The Fans Were Fantastic Too Because They’ve Not Had Much To Cheer During What’s Been A Really Difficult Season.”

Sheffield United's Bjorn Riise (38) celebates with his team mates abd the fans after he scores his sides second goal during the npower Football League Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2011. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.pressassociation.com/images/restrictions for full restrictions.

Sheffield United's Bjorn Riise (38) celebates with his team mates abd the fans after he scores his sides second goal during the npower Football League Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2011. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.pressassociation.com/images/restrictions for full restrictions.

Despite Being Prolific In Attack - They Started The Afternoon Having Scored More Goals Than Anyone Else In The Division - Leeds’s Defence Has Been Far From Impenetrable And Their Former Loanee Sam Vokes - Now Plying His Trade At Bramall Lane - Twice Went Close During The Early Exchanges.

Gradel Inexplicably Headed Wide After Escaping His Marker At A Free-kick But It Was A Rare Error From A United Defence Anchored Superbly By Matthew Lowton Deputising At Centre-half In Neill Collins’ Absence.

“I Thought All Of The Lads At The Back Were Absolutely Magnificent,” Said Adams.

“And The Goalie Too. We Looked Organised And Resilient.

“We Stifled Leeds, Didn’t Let Them Get Their Passing Game Going And, All In All, Restricted Them To Very Few Chances.”

Bogdanovic Should Have Scored After Collecting Montgomery’s Centre But Instead Allowed Schmeichel To Smother Before Quinn And Evans Peppered Leeds’ Net.

Sheffield United's Joe Mattock (left) and Sam Vokes applaud the fans after the final whistle during the npower Football League Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2011. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.pressassociation.com/images/restrictions for full restrictions.

Sheffield United's Joe Mattock (left) and Sam Vokes applaud the fans after the final whistle during the npower Football League Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2011. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.pressassociation.com/images/restrictions for full restrictions.

Lichaj, Whose Set-piece Had Created Gradel’s Opening, Got His Angles All Wrong When Montgomery Again Made Strides Down The Flank Soon After The Re-start. By Stark Contrast Riise Showed A Perfect Grasp Of Geometry When, After Replacing United’s Captain, He Marked His Return From Injury By Threading A Low Shot Between Schmeichel’s Glove And The Far Post.

Adams, Whose Side Climbed To Within A Place And Four Points Of Crystal Palace In 21st - Albeit With An Inferior Goal Difference - Said: “I Told Them Beforehand That The Doubters And The Cynics Will Be Having A Field Day But To Use That As A Positive.

“I’m Sure The Critics Still Are But The Time For Talking Is Over Now.

“It’s Time For Us To Go Out There And Show That Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

“I Thought We Were Organised And Fit But, Most Importantly, There Was A Real Togetherness And Spirit.

“We’re Not Deal And Buried Yet, Not By A Long Chalk.”

Boss’s View

I Want To Dedicate That Win To A Friend Of Mine, Phil Barnes,, Who Lost His Wife This Week. They Were Both Massive Blades And I Went To Her Funeral. Phil, That One’s For You, Mate.