Retro Blades: This week in 2006...Quinn stars in Sheffield United’s thriller with Aston Villa

Sheffield United vs Aston Villa Sheff Utd's Stephen Quinn 1st goal cele
Sheffield United vs Aston Villa Sheff Utd's Stephen Quinn 1st goal cele
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Sheffield United were going in search of their third successive top-flight victory when Aston Villa were the visitors in front of the Sky TV cameras on 11 December 2006.

The Blades had already beaten Watford and Charlton before Martin O’Neill’s men arrived on a Monday evening with the team fourth from bottom.

Sheffield United's Stephen Quinn scores their 1st goal.

Sheffield United's Stephen Quinn scores their 1st goal.

Neil Warnock predicted a tight contest at Bramall Lane - also revealing that claret and blue were his favourite football kit colours apart from red and white stripes.

There were almost 31,000 inside Bramall Lane that night but the vast majority were quickly silenced when Stiliyan Petrov gave the visitors the lead with just two minutes on the clock.

There was an element of fortune with the ball rebounding into his path after a skirmish in the box but the Bulgarian sent a fierce drive into the bottom of the net.

It was the perfect start for Villa who were in the upper reaches of mid-table and United were playing catch-up.

Danny Webber scores the 2nd Blades goal

Danny Webber scores the 2nd Blades goal

Petrov’s perfectly-weighted free-kick found Chris Sutton who headed the ball on to the bar before Gary Cahill drew a fine double save from Paddy Kenny.

A team led by Warnock is made of stern stuff though and United somehow stood firm and made it to half-time just a goal behind.

They returned after the break a team transformed and within five minutes were level.

Stephen Quinn had produced a fearless, swashbuckling display in only his second Premiership start and his swerving shot cannoned off a defender and into the goal.

Danny Webber, turns away to celebrate after scoring the 2nd Blades goal

Danny Webber, turns away to celebrate after scoring the 2nd Blades goal

Rob Hulse powered a header at the Villa keeper Stewart Taylor and five minutes after levelling, United were ahead, Danny Webber firing home following a well-worked corner involving Keith Gillespie and Quinn.

The lead lasted less than a minute though, Webber’s stray pass allowing Milan Baros to claw Villa back onto level terms again.

There was still time for Quinn to go close again only for Taylor to block and there was a skirmish late on when Juan Pablo Angel tangled with Blades defender Chris Morgan.

There were accusations of a stray elbow on the Villa forward’s behalf and of a confrontation in the players’ tunnel at the end of the match.

Christian Nade has this late chance saved by Villa's Stuart Taylor and Aaron Hughes

Christian Nade has this late chance saved by Villa's Stuart Taylor and Aaron Hughes

The point saw United move up a place to fifth bottom, three points above West Ham in the third relegation spot.

Warnock said: “Both Martin (O’Neill) and I thought it was a great game, you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

“I warned them about the first five minutes.

“Petrov was perhaps a little bit fortunate but you could see why he is worth six or seven million quid by how he put it away.

“But once we realised they were just 11 players then it was different.”

He was also fulsome in his praise of Quinn. “I was pleased for Stephen. He might have been surprised that I picked him because one or two were coming back from injury.

Skipper Chris Morgan, with Juan Pablo Angel, at the end after the elbowing incident

Skipper Chris Morgan, with Juan Pablo Angel, at the end after the elbowing incident

“He is a little grafter but he’s got ability as well, more than people realise.

“It’s up to people to come in and take the shirt.

“He’s got that little bit of cockiness about him in training - sometimes a little bit too much - but I’m delighted for him. He did ever so well.”

Of Angel’s elbow incident, he added: “It was disappointing that the official didn’t see it. Well, Morgs said he did see it but we’ll have to see about that one.

“But it’s a hard game to referee, it was so quick to out there and you are going to make mistakes.”

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