NICK Blackman marked his Sheffield United debut with a goal against Burton Albion this afternoon - but he ended up on the losing side after penalties, writes James Shield.
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Blackman’s goal was not enough to help Danny Wilson’s men reach the second round of the Capital One Cup as they suffered a shock first round exit.
Blackman, signed 24 hours earlier from Blackburn Rovers, cancelled-out Adi Yussuf’s opener for Gary Rowett’s side with his first touch of the contest after being introduced at half-time.
The 22-year-old demonstrated some fine touches but was later guilty of a bad miss before Cleveland Taylor edged Albion back in front in the 96th minute.
Neill Collins edged United back on level terms soon after when Nathan Stanton was harshly adjudged to have fouled Callum McFadzean.
However, the hosts crashed-out on penalties with both Harry Maguire and Michael Doyle failing to convert.
United created chances during the opening period with new signing Shaun Miller and Chris Porter both going close.
However, 11 minutes before the interval, Yussuf punished some uncharacteristically slack play in midfield when he seized upon Billy Kee’s pass and drilled home beyond Mark Howard.
United, though, forced themselves back on level terms within five minutes of the re-start.
Demonstrating an urgency they had lacked before the break, Blackman opened his account for the South Yorkshire club in fortuitous fashion with a mistimed header which completely fooled Albion’s Ross Atkins.
The visiting goalkeeper, who had earlier thwarted both Miller and Porter, redeemed himself soon after by parrying Tony McMahon’s thunderous effort away to safety.
Wilson introduced another debutant - academy graduate McFadzean - during the closing stages with only some desperate defending denying Blackman his second of a less than compelling game.
Porter’s replacement only had himself to blame in the 92nd minute when he failed to hit the target following Quinn’s raking pass.
Taylor took full advantage by wriggling past Marcus Williams following Robbie Weir’s pass and finding the far corner of Howard’s net four minutes later.
Collins restored parity on the rebound after his 102nd minute penalty was saved - Nathan Stanton harshly adjudged to have fouled McFadzean - and during the ensuing melee Albion lost their heads with Zander Diamond booked and Marcus Holness dismissed for dissent.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Howard, Maguire, Flynn (McAllister 91), Doyle, Porter (Blackman 46), McDonald, Miller (McFadzean 69), Collins, Quinn, McMahon, Williams. Not used: Westlake, Long.
BURTON ALBION: Atkins, Stanton, Diamond, Taylor, Weir, C Palmer (Dyer 67), Youssef (Webster 78), McCrory, Holness, Bell, Kee (Richards 60). Not used: Corbett, Palmer, Lyness, Garnett.
REFEREE: T Kettle (Berkshire).
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FOOTBALL is back and this season you can now following all our local teams and more live - with our FREE Star Football App, writes digital editor Graham Walker.
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