Hallam 0 Sheffield United 3: Leon Clarke on target as Ravel Morrison shines for Blades
Leon Clarke scored twice as Sheffield United, inspired by the excellent Ravel Morrison, beat neighbours Hallam 3-0 at Sandygate tonight.
Mark Duffy, making his second appearance in United colours since news of his recent contract dispute emerged, also got on the scoresheet while Lys Mousset hit the post late on after coming off the bench at half-time.
Kean Bryan also impressed while Richard Stearman, Jake Wright and Kieron Freeman played 90 minutes.
But it was former Manchester United wonderkid Morrison who stole the show, with some superb touches and flicks showing glimpses of his undoubted ability.
After a couple of half-chances for the hosts, the first real sight of goal fell to United and Clarke, who poked wide Wright’s cross after he had overlapped on the left.
Ben Heneghan almost landed Marcus Dewhurst in trouble with a rocky backpass on the bobbly Sandygate surface, with Jordan Turner lurking, before the goalkeeper confidently took a touch round the striker.
At the other end Hallam played their way into trouble when Reece York robbed James Reed in a dangerous position, but his cross was cut out after a powerful run.
Clarke then enjoyed another chance to open the scoring when he got on the end of Harry Boyes’ cross, but the striker was reaching for the ball and could only hear it back across goal and wide.
Clarke was then denied another sight of goal by a superb block from Julian Lawrence, the striker ballooning the rebound over the bar, and Duffy was the next to try his luck from distance but his shot was deflected over as United continued to dominate.
Clarke, after being denied a few times by the opposition, was then kept out by his own man as Duffy got in the way of his goalbound shot, before Duffy and Clarke combined; only for home goalkeeper James Leverton to keep out the latter’s header from a right-wing cross.
Duffy then broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time, with a stinging volley which hit the post and the bar before the linesman decided it had crept over the line. Hallam protested vehemently but to no avail, and United went in at half time 1-0 ahead.
Mousset replaced York at half time and his first action was to snatch at a volley, sending his effort high over the Hallam crossbar.
His second touch was more composed, sending Boyes clear before his effort was saved by Leverton, but the Hallam keeper could do nothing about United’s second as Freeman crossed for an unmarked Clarke to head powerfully home.
Duffy was denied a third by a good save from Leverton, who then excelled himself again to keep out Clarke’s attempt from close range.
Leverton then did well to keep out two efforts in quick succession from Boyes and there was another hair-raising moment for his opposite number Dewhurst, who miscontrolled a backpass and was forced to clear from his own goalmouth.
Clarke made it 3-0 with a composed finish past Leverton before the goalkeeper did well to stop Boyes’ effort, after a delicious lay off from Duffy.
In the dying minutes Mousset hit the outside of the post with a stinging volley.
Blades: Dewhurst, K.Freeman, Heneghan, Stearman (capt), Wright, Bryan, Duffy, Morrison, Clarke, Boyes, York (Mousset, 46). Subs: Broadbent, Hall, Sheppeard, Ndiaye, Amissah, Ompreon.