John Fleck shows timely Sheffield United 'quality' reminder as highly-rated starlet passes Sheffield Wednesday test
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The Scottish international got 75 valuable minutes under his belt on his comeback from a fractured leg injury suffered earlier in the season and will have impressed the watching Paul Heckingbottom with his attitude and application in the game, which was settled by a header from promising youngster Louie Marsh in the second half.
The goal came from a superb cross from Fleck, which saw Marsh nod home in front of the Kop for what proved to be the winner against 10-men Wednesday, who had Adam Alimi-Adetoro sent off for two bookings in the first half.
Describing the cross from Fleck as “the one real moment of quality in the game”, Blades U21 boss Michael Collins admitted: “The sending off changed the whole dynamic of the game. Until then it was quite lively without too much happening.
"Both teams were feeling each other out and I was waiting for it to spark into life. We had moments of quality and the second half changed the whole complexion of the game, it became attack versus defence which is never easy.”
Marsh’s goal was his 16th of a campaign in which he has also been called up to the first-team squad for FA Cup fixtures earlier in the campaign, and will hope for a potential senior debut next month in the next round at home to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
He did his hopes no harm against Wednesday’s youngsters, overcoming an otherwise-quiet display to nod home the winner. “He’s shown that sort of quality over the course of the season,” Collins added.
"I think he's had more impactful games this season and I thought he was quieter today. To be fair to Wednesday, they marshalled him well but he stayed in there, stayed in touch with the game if you like and then took his opportunity when it came.
"He's going to get tests like that, even at this level. So it's a good learning curve for him. Credit to him, he came up trumps and got the winner.”