MATCH REPORT: Zejtun Corinthians 0 Sheffield United 6

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GOALS from youngsters such as Joe Ironside, Erik Tonne and John Cofie will have pleased Danny Wilson no end.

But the real story of this match, from a Sheffield United perspective at least, was the sight of Kevin McDonald strutting his stuff in midfield during the first match of their Maltese tour.

The former Scotland under-21 international dispelled any doubts that he is planning to quit Bramall Lane by opting to start this rout of Zejtun Corinthians.

Predictably McDonald, one of the most accomplished performers in League One last term, proved too hot for enthusiastic but limited opponents to handle.

But it was his mere presence rather than performance which will pleased his manager the most.

Wilson, who at one stage feared he would lose McDonald to a Championship club, now knows United will start the new campaign with arguably their most valuable talent still in situ.

Clearly the 23-year-old has committed his future to United.

Now it seems a question of when, not if, his new contract is officially announced.

Zejtun’s name derives from the Arabic word for ‘olive’ but last night’s result at Ta’Qali did not leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Corinthians, who finished fourth in the Maltese First Division last term, were never expected to provide the same obdurate opposition United can expect to encounter at Hibernians tomorrow evening.

But the fact they managed to keep United at bay for barely two minutes - Ironside poking home from close range after Danny Philliskirk had earlier forced a fine save from Ranier Farrugia - will probably have disappointed even the travelling army of supporters who had made the long journey from South Yorkshire.

When Neill Collins doubled the tourists’ advantage seven minutes later, any hopes they had of watching a genuine contest disappeared.

Philliskirk, who delivered an impressive display on this pitch against Sliema Wanderers 12 months ago, was clearly intent on catching Wilson’s eye again.

Farrugia, whose hulking frame seemed to cover his entire goal, again denied the United striker before trialist Mike Mumpaye combined with McDonald to create a third; Tonne applying the finishing touch midway through the opening period.

Mumpaye, forging an excellent partnership with Ryan Flynn along United’s right flank, did more than enough to warrant another outing when Wilson’s squad return to action in Paola.

Nick Montgomery hit the woodwork following a fine piece of control before Stephen Quinn flashed Jordan Chappell’s cross across Farrugia just before the hour mark.

Matthew Pisani turned into his own net and Cofie claimed a fine solo effort during the closing stages.

Zejtun: R Farrugia, A Farrugia, Azzopardi, Cauchi, Magro, Pisani, Vukovic, Zahra, Zarb, Carabott, Bost.

United: Long, Mumpaye (Westlake 64), Maguire, Collins, Williams (McAllister 64), Flynn (Chappell 55), McDonald (Montgomery 46), Harriott (Doyle 46), Philliskirk (Cofie 46), Ironside (Cresswell 46), Tonne (Quinn 46). Not used: Howard.