Two goals from Che Adams propelled Sheffield United to victory over Chesterfield this afternoon.
The teenager, whose importance to the South Yorkshire club’s cause has assumed even greater levels following the sale of Jamie Murphy yesterday, pounced at the start of each half as Nigel Adkins’ side claimed its first win of the League One campaign.
Chesterfield, managed by Dean Saunders, also contributed towards an absorbing game but, with David Edgar excelling on his home debut for the hosts, paid the price for some careless play around the box.
Adams, however, was clinical throughout and received a standing ovation when he was substituted midway through the second period.
Adkins, taking charge of his first competitive home fixture as United manager, had outlined the importance of making a fast start following last weekend’s defeat at Gillingham. Adams obliged in spectacular fashion, starting and finishing the move which saw the hosts take a third minute lead. The youngster created enough space in the middle of the pitch to clip a fine pass towards Conor Sammon whose shot dragged Tommy Lee out of position and allowed Adams to blast home.
Sharp dragged wide as United attempted to drive home their advantage. But, after preventing any further damage, Chesterfield’s heads eventually cleared with Edgar forced to make a superb intervention to stop Lee Novak, his Birmingham City team mate, pouncing at the far post. Like the United centre-half, Novak is on a season long loan from the Championship club.
Chesterfield continued to create openings as they peppered United’s rearguard with looping diagonal balls. It was a deliberate ploy, given the fact Gillingham had scored three times from dead-ball situations seven days earlier. Some clearances could best be described as last ditch - with Jay McEveley and Edgar deflecting efforts wide - but United held firm before Adams claimed his and their second of the afternoon. Again, Sammon was involved, exchanging passes with the youngster who converted in style.
A familiar pattern re-emerged with Chesterfield applying pressure but failing to show enough attention to detail around United’s penalty box. On the counter attack, Stefan Scougall nearly extended United’s lead after meeting Sammon’s pass but his first time shot was smothered well by Lee.
The Chesterfield goalkeeper excelled himself moments after Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had struck a post - Mark Howard appeared to get a touch - following a Dan Jones set-piece. Sharp was about the wheel away in celebration after outmuscling his marker and directing an angled shot across goal but the ball was palmed clear.
Sheffield United: Howard, Freeman, Basham, Sharp, Baxter (J Wallace 59), Collins, Scougall (Reed 68), Sammon McEveley, Adams (Woolford 64), Edgar. Not used: J Wallace, McNulty, Campbell-Ryce, Long, K Wallace.
Chesterfield: Lee, Jones, Hird, Morsy, Evatt, Gardner (Gnaduillet 81), Ebanks-Blake, O’Shea, Novak, Banks (Ariyibi 68), Talbot (Raglan 81). Not used: Humphreys, Onovwigun, Orrell, Cairns.
Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire),