SHEFFIELD United’s preparations for the forthcoming League One campaign gathered pace with this comfortable victory over Sliema Wanderers.
With assistant manager Frank Barlow and coach Chris Morgan barking orders on the touchline, the tourists swept aside the Maltese with consumate ease ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Hibernians.
Ryan Flynn, a recent acquisition from Falkirk, made his United debut as a second half substitute with Daniel Bogdanovic - a former Sliema player - also delivering an impressive cameo after replacing Richard Cresswell.
Sliema, the most decorated club in the island’s history, improved as the contest progressed and Jackson Lima claimed a late consolation following a mistake by Lecsinel Jean Francois.
But having seized control courtesy of Michael Doyle’s early strike, United’s dominence was rarely threatened.
Cresswell and Harry Maguire also wrote their names on the scoresheet.
Despite manager Danny Wilson travelling home just hours before kick-off to attend his daughter’s university graduation, he arrived in England confident that progress is being made.
Three of the new signings that Wilson hopes can thrust United into promotion contention next term featured against Danilo Dancic’s enthusiastic charges.
But it was the midfield trio of Matthew Harriott, Doyle and Lee Williamson who emreged as the driving force behind a commanding first-half display which saw the visitors enter the interval boasting an unassailable lead. Doyle fired United into a seventh minute lead with a routine far post finish after Harriott’s pass had pierced Sliema’s defence. Only the width of the woodwork prevented the Irishman from doubling their lead soon after but that task fell to Cresswell when Josef Mifsud was adjudged to have tripped Matthew Lowton in the penalty box.
Maguire increased Sliema’s woes when his free-kick deflected off the wall and past Henry Bonello. Bogdanovic went close soon after the re-start as his experiemental partnership with Slew caused problems for Sliema at the back.
But the flurry of changes inevitably took its toll on the rhythm of the game with Quinn following Williamson into the referee’s notebook.
Sliema’s persistance was rewarded when Lecsinel Jean-Francois felled his marker with a clumsy challenge and Lima netted a late consolation from the spot.
- SLIEMA: Bonello, Muscat (An 46), Mifsud (Cliff 46), Bezzina, Failla, Galabov, Lima, Bajade (Grech 46), Tiganza, Mitev, Silva.
- UNITED: Simonsen (Long 46), Lowton, Kruk (Kozluk 46), Maguire (Jean-Francois 46), Collins, Harriott, Williamson (Slew 46), Doyle (Quinn 46), Tonne (Conneely 70), Cresswell (Bogdanovic 46), Philliskirk (Flynn 46).