COMBATIVE midfielder Nick Montgomery has spoken of his relief at returning to action as Sheffield United’s second string side slipped to their first defeat of the campaign at Bramall Lane last night.
Having shaken off an ankle problem he sustained at Yeovil Town, Montgomery partnered David McAllister in the middle of the park after a four week absence through injury.
The 29-year-old, who was sidelined for six matches, told The Star: “It is nice to comeback ahead of schedule. I have only been training a couple of days but it was good for me to show the gaffer I am match fit and it was great to get the 90 minutes under my belt.
“I don’t think the gaffer was expecting me back until next week. It was a disappointing result but hopefully I have put myself in the frame for the weekend.
“It has been frustrating but I only twisted my ankle. It could have been worse.”
It was Montgomery who came close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when he latched on to Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s pass but his 20-yard drive drifted agonisingly wide.
Kick-off had to be delayed by 20 minutes as Walsall were late arriving to the ground after getting caught in traffic on the motorway. Ironically, they made the brighter start and George Long made a smart stop to keep out George Bowerman’s close range header while he also foiled Joey Butlin after the lively striker had beaten the offside trap and been put clean through on goal by Bowerman.
Out of nothing, United opened the scoring in the 50th minute as Mendez-Laing found the unmarked McAllister in the area and he coolly slotted home past the advancing David Grof.
But the Blades were pegged back 17 minutes later when the impressive Butlin fired in an unstoppable strike from 18 yards. And it was Butlin who nodded in the winner with five minutes remaining after a lovely cross from Darryl Westlake on the right flank.
In added on time, the returning Montgomery saw his rasping left foot effort beaten out by Grof.
UNITED: Long; Conneely, Parrino, Pomares (Brown HT), Warren; Mendez-Laing, McAllister, Montgomery, Flynn (Whitehouse); Philliskirk, Tonne. Unused subsitutes: Murray, Willis, Harriott.