On Wednesday 28th March I went to Bramall Lane to watch Sheffield United play Chesterfield.
This match was the fourth and final game of the season against a Sheffield side for the Spireites and as well as the obvious local rivalry, the game was also very important in regards to both teams’ league positions.
Chesterfield came in to the game on a high having lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Sunday. However, the Spireites were sat at the bottom of League 1 and relegation was becoming a very real possibility so a victory was desperately needed to keep them in with a chance of survival. Meanwhile, Sheffield United knew that victory in this game would send them back in to the automatic promotion spots and above their biggest rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
After walking around and soaking up the atmosphere for a short time, we made our way through the turnstiles and in to the ground. I have been to Bramall Lane numerous times, but this was my both first time watching my team there and also sitting on the away end.
Our seats were right on the front row of the away end and we were sat right behind the net. While this gave us a brilliant view of the near net, it was difficult to see what was happening at the opposite end.
The game got underway in front of a crowd of 20,159, and the early stages were quite even with neither side taking control of the game. The first good chance of the game fell to United’s Matt Lowton but his near post volley was easily saved by Tommy Lee.
Chesterfield nearly opened the scoring early on when Josh Thompson got on the end of a corner and directed it towards the bottom corner but Steve Simonsen got down well to tip the ball wide.
It was the Blades who took the lead on the 38th minute. Stephen Quinn charged down the wing and his cross was knocked forward by Ched Evans, who found Lee Williamson unmarked in the box and he blasted the ball in to the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
However, just 6 minutes later the score was level again. On-loan midfielder Franck Moussa fired an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area which flew in to the back of the net to make it 1-1 at the interval.
On the 49th minute United were gifted an opportunity to regain the lead from the spot after Alex Mendy tripped Evans in the box. The Blades top scorer stepped up and placed the ball right in to the bottom corner to give the home side the lead for the second time.
The Chesterfield players’ heads seemed to drop after this and it was quickly 3-1 to the Blades, once again courtesy of Evans. A quick free kick from Williamson found Evans who put the ball in the bottom corner with ease to grab his second and United’s third goal.
Evans completed his hat trick on the 63rd minute when he charged past a couple of defenders and fired past Lee with a good finish to put the result beyond doubt.
I was very disappointed to see the Spireites fall apart in the second half after a good first half performance. Not only was it disappointing to be well beaten by one of our local rivals, but the result made survival look almost impossible. The Spireites realistically need to win 6 of their last 7 games to stand any chance and, having won only 7 games all season, this will be no easy task.
Sheffield United 4-1 Chesterfield
Williamson ’38, Moussa ’44, Evans ’49 (pen), 60, 63Simonsen, Lowton, Collins, Williams, Hill, Doyle, Williamson, McDonald, Quinn (O’Halloran ’82), Evans (Beattie ’72), Cresswell (Hoskins ’61) Lee, Trotman, Thompson, Hurst, Smith, Allott (Randall ’69), Moussa, Westcarr (Boden ’69), Mendy, Bowery (Ajose ’69), Talbot