SHEFFIELD UNITED: The pressure is on you, Blades

Sheffield United: Blades news, reports and more.
Sheffield United: Blades news, reports and more.
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STEVENAGE boss Gary Smith claimed all the pressure is on Sheffield United after a goalless draw in the first leg of their League One play-off.

Boro came closest to breaking the deadlock in a typically tight semi-final when Blades keeper Steve Simonsen tipped Craig Reid’s first-half piledriver against the crossbbar.

The Blades, pipped to automatic promotion by city rivals Wednesday at the weekend, finished 17 points ahead of their opponents.

But the sides will head to Bramall Lane on Monday night all-square, 90 minutes from Wembley and a shot at promotion to the Championship.

“Sheffield came with a good game plan to frustrate our fluid play,” said Smith.

“We are disappointed not to have made more clear-cut chances and make the most of our openings.

“That’s as disappointed we have felt after a game in a long while, and it has come to something now when we say that a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United is a disappointment.

“But although we were below par we are well and truly in this game.

“There is more to come and the pressure is now on them. And although they probably feel they are in the box seat, we scored two at their place two weeks ago.”

Certainly the Blades’ record in the play-offs will not inspire too much confidence, with five failures from five attempts, while they have not beaten Stevenage in three matches this season including the 2-2 Bramall Lane draw a fortnight ago.

And having recently lost top scorer Ched Evans to a jail sentence and James Beattie through suspension, they look desperately short of firepower.

Manager Danny Wilson said: “We had to make sure we were a threat and I thought we were.

“It’s finely balanced and we can’t take anything for granted. We know we have to have the same determination we had here.

“We’ll be very careful, we don’t want to get carried away in the second leg or it’ll go against us.

“My players put a good shift in and celebrated putting a good shift in. We see too many times when people make assumptions after the first leg result and form a conclusion.

You don’t know how it’s going to pan out. They went for it today and we stopped them. The three games between us have been very tight.”