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BLADES MATCH REPORT: Sheffield United 0 Tranmere 0

Nick Blackman attempts to find a way through

Nick Blackman attempts to find a way through

sheffield United had to settle for a home point in their top of the table clash against Tranmere Rovers.

On paper, this match possessed all the ingredients to be a League One classic.

SEE THE STAR ON MONDAY FOR REACTION AND FULL REPORT.

First versus third and two sets of players beaten a combined total of only five times in the competition this season.

But would Tranmere Rovers’ visit to Sheffield United live up to its billing?

The early skirmishes suggested it would with the visitors - and Cassidy on particular - probing the hosts’ defence while Robinson gave Rovers’ work an abrasive edge.

Rovers, under the expert tutelage of Ronnie Moore, made a flying start to the new season.

But, after winning nine of their opening 12 games, they arrived in South Yorkshire earlier this afternoon searching for a first win in the tournament since November 10 and looking to convince sceptics they are capable of lasting the course.

Cassidy’s 36th minute free-kick flashed wide but had Long scampering anxiously across his line.

Blackman produced a poor cross after a wonderful feint to drift past Bakayogo moments later.

McGurk wasted a set-piece for Rovers five minutes before the interval by sailing the ball aimlessly into The Kop.

With Flynn deployed in an unfamiliar central role, it was up to Williams to provide United with the desired width but he had no chance of hunting down an over zealous 51st minute pass from Doyle.

Collins chipped a perfectly weighted pass over the Rovers backline and although Porter expertly brought the ball down, his attempted back flick towards Miller rebounded off Bakayogo.

In the 64th minute, Kitson made his long-awaited return from a hamstring complaint.

He replaced Porter alongside Miller in attack.

Rovers continued to squeeze space and pressurise United in midfield, reducing their option when in possession. The superbly named Max Power screwed a wasteful 68th minute shot well wide on one of their forays forward.

Robinson provided an insight into Rovers’ state of mind in the 77th minute when, having seen his number flashed up on the fourth official’s board as Thompson entered the fray, he took an age to hand over his armband and trot off the field.

 

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