Blades FT: Sheffield United 1 Colchester 1

Sheffield United v Colchester United     17.8.13'Pic : Martyn Harrison'Febian Brandy  -Sheff Utd & David Wright - Colchester''� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Sheffield United v Colchester United 17.8.13'Pic : Martyn Harrison'Febian Brandy -Sheff Utd & David Wright - Colchester''� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Have your say

‘Courtesy’ and ‘respect’ are two of the most popular words in David Weir’s vocabulary.

But, as his team selection here demonstrated, the Sheffield United manager also possesses a ruthless streak.

Sean McGinty and Tony McMahon were both parachuted into the South Yorkshire club’s starting eleven as its coaching staff looked to address the defensive deficiencies which proved so costly at Brentford last weekend.

And the latter, returning to action following a series of niggling injuries, nearly announced his presence with a fourth minute strike.

McMahon’s long-range shot, unleashed following a patient passing move, had Walker beaten but unfortunately, from a United perspective at least, sailed just beyond the Colchester goalkeeper’s far post.

Despite their unfashionable reputation, Joe Dunne has crafted the visitors into an effective and dangerous League One team.

Indeed, they arrived at Bramall Lane earlier today having won both of their outings in the competition this season without conceding a goal.

Brandy was clearly determined to put that record to the test, and continually foraged along Colchester’s left flank during the opening period before delivering a low centre which the onrushing Murphy was inches away from turning home.

In the 25th minute, though, United paid the price for a big miscalculation.

Having pressed forward, again through McMahon, two defenders found themselves marking three attackers when Colchester cleared.

Ibehre kept his composure and found SEARS who swept the ball past Long. It was the former West Ham youngster’s first of the campaign.

As the first grumblings of frustration began to echo around Bramall Lane, so United’s grip on the contest loosened.

Ibehre could have doubled Colchester’s advantage when Eastman escaped his marker at a 34th minute set-piece but failed to react.

United, who were clearly shaken by Sears’ intervention, regained their composure as the interval approached before Coady was cautioned for a reckless tackle.

Walker, however, had inexplicably lost his. And, in the 44th minute, failed to gather MAGUIRE’S 30 yard shot before watching it bobble into the back of his net.

Colchester, who had seen Watt cautioned after the half-time whistle for contesting a decision, must have experienced a feeling of déjà vu when Brandy started the second period in the same bright fashion he had the first.

Then, Taylor tested Walker with a fierce drive which seemed destined to hit the roof of the net. On this occasion, however, the youngster, on loan from Chelsea, held his nerve. Likewise when Coady sent a header goalwards two minutes later.

Ibehre had a 55th minute ‘goal’ disallowed for offside as Colchester regrouped.

Taylor had a prodded attempt blocked by Walker following some persistent work by Brandy moments before Colchester replaced Watt with Wright.

Seconds later, in the 62nd minute, Collins came within a whisker of meeting a McMahon corner but Walker scrambled clear.

Maguire joined Coady in the referee’s notebook for kicking the ball away in frustration. Sears made way for Bond in the 66th minute when Colchester made their second change.

United, though, continued to press with McFadzean whipping a cross into the box which simply begged to be turned home. Instead, the match remained delicately poised.

United introduced Johns, at McFadzean’s expense, with 14 minutes remaining.

With 12 left on the clock, Brandy showed excellent balance and footwork to tease his way towards the byline only for Walker to pluck his cross out of the air as Taylor waited to pounce.

That was the cue for Morrison, previously of Sheffield Wednesday, to come on for Ibehre. Predictably, to a chorus of boos. Johns became the third United player to be booked as the action became stretched.

Colchester tested United’s resolve - and nerves - by winning two late corners.They survived both and also managed to crowd Morrison out as he tried to squirm through. Then , with only eight seconds of normal time remaining, United thought they had grabbed a winner.

Johns and Brandy combined to send Taylor through. He scored. But the offside flag had been raised.