Sheffield United travel to Ewood Park tomorrow to face Blackburn Rovers – who they haven’t faced for over a decade.
The last meeting between the two sides came in Lancashire on February 3, 2007, when Morten Gamst Pedersen’s late free-kick sealed a 2-1 victory for Blackburn. Neil Warnock’s Blades were eventually relegated from the Premier League that season on goal difference.
Earlier in the campaign, at Bramall Lane, the teams drew 0-0 in an extraordinary game which saw Mike Dean, no stranger to controversy and the limelight, award three penalties. Paddy Kenny, the United ‘keeper, saved one and Brad Friedel, his opposite number, kept two out.
In that game, all three spot-kicks came in the last 20 minutes of the game. First, Blackburn skipper Lucas Neill saw Kenny save his effort after Benni McCarthy had gone down somewhat theatrically in the box, before Friedel kept out David Unsworth’s spot-kick.
Warnock’s men were handed another lifeline when Andre Ooijer was adjudged to have handled in the box, but Friedel was the hero once more as he saved Rob Hulse’s well-struck effort.
"Obviously I thought ours were penalties and theirs wasn't,” Warnock said at the time.
"Theirs was typical of an international player going down in the area after simply being briefed on and the only thing that was missing was a couple of dramatic somersaults.
"As for ours - the first was sheer stupidity from the boy that he pulled Hulse, while the second whether it was shoulder or arm, that's where Ooijer controlled it. For all that, I enjoyed the game.”
In the return leg, Pedersen headed Rovers in front to make United pay for their early-game profligacy in front of goal, but Blackburn old-boy Jon Stead levelled the scores with a cool finish.
United’s chances of getting a result from the game improved when Stephen Warnock was sent off for two bookable offences, but the ten men sprung something of a surprise in the 90th minute when he curled home a free-kick to break Blades hearts. Some months later, it was a result that ultimately proved fatal for United.