Live Commentary: Sheffield United 1-0 Yeovil Town - as it happened

Sheffield United's Callum McFadzean celebrates a goal against Yeovil Town on May 3, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole's live coverage of the League One playoff tie between Sheffield United and Yeovil Town at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United went into tonight's League One playoff semi-final first leg against Yeovil Town without a goal in more than four hours of football.

The visitors looked in confident mood early on and shaded a tight first period, which saw Barry Robson substituted early after a clash with Yeovil skipper Jamie McAllister.

The Blades broke the deadlock early in the second half as replacement Callum McFadzean's deflected drive from distance crept into the bottom corner.

Look back at a big win for Chris Morgan's side with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.


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6.50pmEvening Football League fans! A busy fortnight of playoff action in League One gets underway tonight, with Sheffield United and Yeovil kicking things off at Bramall Lane. Both sides are dreaming of a return to Wembley later this month, but must first negotiate a two-legged tie that looks evenly matched on paper.

6.52pmFor much of a grueling campaign Sheffield United had their sights set firmly on automatic promotion, but a late collapse saw those hopes fade and ultimately cost manager Danny Wilson his job last month. Caretaker boss Chris Morgan has been charged with lifting the Blades as they bid to end their playoff hoodoo at the seventh attempt.

6.55pmBlades fans will remember all too well their painful defeat to Huddersfield Town in the playoff final last season after a marathon penalty shootout. Morgan has a string of experienced players at his disposal who must rise to the challenge of putting right a horrible run of form towards the season's close, with United winning just three of their last 13 games.

6.58pmYeovil have defied pre-season skeptics to reach the post-season lottery, under the guidance of veteran coach Gary Johnson. The 57-year-old has enhanced his legendary status at Huish Park in his second spell in charge, transforming Yeovil into promotion contenders.

7.01pmThe visitors have also had the goals of bargain buy Paddy Madden to thank for their promotion push. The striker was initially signed on loan from Carlisle but has 23 goals to his name this season, finishing as League One's top scorer. Ably supported by experienced marksman James Hayter the 23-year-old has quickly built a reputation for clinical finishing and will be expected to deliver for Yeovil this evening.

7.03pmTonight's opponents could scarcely have finished the season in more contrasting form. Yeovil managed to win four of their final six games to cement their promotion credentials, while United stuttered into the top six with just one victory in the same number of matches.

7.05pmBoth sides also come into this evening's crucial clash with injury worries concerning key players. United are sweating on the availability of forward Jonathan Forte, while Yeovil have a series of fitness concerns in defence. Jamie McAllister, Byron Webster and Dan Burn all missed last weekend's defeat to Bury and are doubts to feature at Bramall Lane.

7.07pmThe Blades will definitely be without Tony McMahon tonight, with the defender sidelined by an Achilles complaint. Experienced defender Danny Higginbotham is also rated as 50-50 to start as he continues to struggle with a persistent hamstring problem.

7.10pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! It's a case of good and bad news for United this evening as news of tonight's lineups reaches us. First the good, with Chris Porter and Barry Robson back in the starting XI. Unfortunately for Morgan both Forte and Higginbotham miss out after failing to overcome hamstring injuries. A full look at two the teams will follow in just a few moments.

7.12pmSHEFFIELD UNITED: Long, Westlake, Maguire, Hill, Doyle, Porter, McDonald, Kitson, Collins, Robson, Murphy

7.15pmYEOVIL: Stech, Ayling, Webster, Burn, McAllister, Foley, Edwards, Upson, Dawson, Madden, Hayter

7.17pmWith Forte sidelined Scottish striker Jamie Murphy leads the line for United this evening alongside Dave Kitson. Robson and Porter will provide support from midfield, with Morgan opting to make two changes to his starting lineup.

7.19pmHigginbotham misses out at the back for the Blades, with Harry Maguire and Matt Hill continuing in a youthful defence for the home side. Morgan had hinted prior to his team selection tonight that places were up for grabs, but the caretaker boss has resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes.

7.22pmYeovil have recalled Burn and McAllister in defence, with Byron Webster also fit to start in a familiar-looking Glovers' defence. Matt Dolan has failed to recover from a knee problem, with Ed Upson and Kevin Dawson continuing in midfield.

7.25pmThe visitors are able to name start strike duo Madden and Hayer in attack as they chase a fifth win in seven matches. Reuben Reid has returned from a loan spell with Plymouth Argyle, but he has not made the 18-man squad at Bramall Lane tonight.

7.27pmA quick scan of the substitutes reveals that Forte has missed out altogether tonight for Sheffield United, but Higginbotham is fit enough to make the squad. Yeovil have creative midfielder Angelo Balanta available as an option if required. A full look at both benches will follow shortly.

7.29pmUNITED SUBS: Coyne, Higginbotham, Chapell, Ironside, McFadzean, Whitehouse, Barry

7.31pmYEOVIL SUBS: Stewart, Hinds, Blizzard, Williams, Maksimenko, Young, Balanta

7.33pmAt the risk of riling Blades fans before kickoff their side have a terrible record in the playoffs. In six attempts United have never earned promotion through the post-season showpiece, a record manager Morgan will be desperate to put right this time round.

7.35pmThis season's playoff contenders in League One look very evenly matches. With Brentford taking on Swindon Town in the other semi-final clash all four sides are definitely capable of claiming promotion to the Championship.

7.37pmBoth managers have been keen to stress that their form in League One this season counts for nothing ahead of tonight's encounter. Blades boss Morgan in particular has insisted that his squad have the talent and belief to end their playoff hoodoo at the seventh time of asking.

He told reporters: "We've been here before but everything is new. History is there and you can't change it. We've known for a few weeks that it will be the play-offs and that has been the players' mindset.

"We've got a talented group of players and we know what makes this team tick. We've got players who can score goals in big games.

"Their front two are excellent and they work well together. The team has a great team ethic and they work hard. We know what they do well and we have to prepare for two tough games."


7.39pmYeovil boss Johnson has also tasted the pain of defeat in the playoffs twice before but sees their post-season adventure as a bonus on this occasion.

He told reporters: "I think we have to aim to win tonight. We must make sure we keep possession at places like this. I'm pleased we have key players fit and if we play our game tonight we'll get chances to score, no question."


7.42pmPREDICTION! Tonight's game is difficult to call, despite Sheffield United entering the match on a run of five hours without a goal. Yeovil have key defenders fit and a pair of strikers bang in-form and I think the Glovers can secure a positive result at Bramall Lane this evening. I'll back Hayter to score in a 2-1 win for the visitors.

7.45pmBoth sides are out at Bramall Lane, met by a guard of honour to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the passing of former United goalkeeper Mel Rees. Can the Blades lift themselves to meet the challenge of promotion via the playoffs, or will Yeovil match their highest ever league finish with a move to the Championship? The first leg of a tight tie is just moments from getting underway.

2 minWe are slightly late getting underway in Yorkshire, with Yeovil eventually kicking off in a changed bright Yellow and Black strip. The visitors almost immediately concede possession, with United defender Maguire then thumping out of play as he attempts a long diagonal pass.

4 minUnited work a neat opening as Kitson beats the offside trap to break free in the penalty area to meet a pass from Porter. The forward has time to aim a looping cross towards Murphy at the far post, but his attempted cross is overhit and allows Yeovil to regroup and scramble clear.

6 minMaguire is made to work hard as his attempted clearance is chased down by Madden in the far corner. The central defender eventually sweeps a long ball forward at the third time of asking, with Robson keeping the long pass alive to create a counter attack. His curling cross finds Kitson unmarked in the penalty area, but the forward can only head wide under little pressure.

9 minSHOT! Robson picks out a clever pass for Porter to chase in the far corner, with United eventually winning a free kick just outside the penalty area as Ed Upson commits a silly foul 20 yards from goal. Westlake and Robson both want to take, with the Scottish international eventually curling just wide with a brilliant effort that had Stech scrambling towards the far corner.

11 minYeovil are growing in confidence as McAllister sends a forward pass down the flank, but neither Madden or Hayter read the full-back's intentions and a hopeful ball runs out aimlessly for a goal kick.

14 minSheffield go long under pressure from a persistent Yeovil midfield, with Robson again managing to create space on the right wing. Murphy then cuts inside from the left and finds Porter, who contests a high ball and is brought down in a tussle with Burn. Referee Stuart Attwell takes his time to deliberate a fierce penalty appeal but eventually waves away United protests. Yeovil can count themselves lucky to get away with one on that occassion, with Burn clearly hauling Porter to the ground!

17 minYeovil attack at the other end to relieve home pressure as Madden drifts into space out wide. His looping cross picks out Edwards just outside the penalty area, but his scuffed effort from 20 yards drifts through to Long without any danger. Hayter then wins a first corner kick for the visitors, but the referee gives a foul from the delivery as Burn hurls Maguire to the floor.

19 minDawson nearly makes United pay United pay for slack passing in their own as McDonald's short effort back to Long is deflected on its approach to the goalkeeper. Under pressure the keeper adjusts well and hammers clear, much to the relief of a stretched back four.

22 minA determined run down the far side from Edwards earns Yeovil a throw in the final third, but Yeovil are unable to provide service to their front two as United shield a poor effort out for a goal kick. Glovers' defender Burn is then involved again as the centre-back is brought down by Porter as the duo's aerial tussle continues.

24 minPorter shows desire to chase down a lost cause near the corner flag and keep possession for United, with Ayling found wanting for pace in a straight race for the ball. Superb Yeovil pressing then forces the home side to launch long, but Murphy is quick to win a cheap free kick for United in the opposition half.

26 minCHANCE! Robson's free kick is kept alive by Collins as Yeovil fail to clear their lines. A bobbling ball eventually falls to Murphy at the far post, but the winger's powerful strike lacks composure and flies well over the near post from close range.

28 minMcAllister shows experience to stop Robson making contact with a deflected cross at the far post, doing just enough by leaning into his marker at the crucial moment. The United midfielder is winded after taking a heavy fall, but returns to play after a short spell of treatment.

30 minMadden is too eager to met a diagonal pass aimed into space behind the United rearguard and strays just offside. Meanwhile worryingly for the Blades Robson is down once again and seems to be favouring his ribs, which may force caretaker boss Morgan into an early change.

32 minSUBSTITUTION: A huge blow for United as the Scottish international is forced off. 19-year-old midfielder Callum McFadzean is quickly introduced and takes up a central position.

35 minMurphy curs inside to send a dangerous looping cross towards the far post, but Yeovil eventually clear at the second time of asking as Burn beats Porter in the air. Yeovil regroup to aim a long pass towards Hayter, who in turn threads a neat pass forward in search of Hayter. The pacy forward has once again failed to time his run correctly and is stopped from shooting by a late offside flag.

37 minCHANCE! Yeovil create their first chance of the match as Hayter and Dawson combine in the penalty area. Dawson has time to pick his spot but sends a tame low shot well past the far post. United are furious and feel that Foley pushed the ball out for a throw in the build-up to that shot, but once again a contentious decision goes against the home side.

39 minYELLOW CARD! United striker Kitson is handed the game's first caution after a late lunge on Hayter. Intent combined with persistent fouling in the first period probably counted against the veteran there as he is cautioned.

41 minThe match has definitely become more heated in the last few minutes as the referee's assistant awards a foul against Dawson for sliding in to close down Doyle near the halfway line. This game is just threatening to boil over as both sides show their frustration at a scrappy start.

43 minQuick thinking from Yeovil keeper Stech sees the visitors break in numbers as Madden meets a long punt forward. His touch towards Foley is underhit and the midfielder's drive towards goal is deflected by a brilliant late block from Maguire.

45 minYELLOW CARD! Yeovil full-back McAllister is a touch fortunate to receive just a yellow card as he flies in late with studs showing on Westlake. The referee decides a booking is punishment enough just before the break, much to the disappointment of an angry United dugout.

45 min+2Yeovil smash clear a free kick after anticipating a header back across goal from Collins in the penalty area. At the other end Foley fails to pick out Hayter with a curling cross from deep as both sides struggle to deliver with a killer pass in the final third.

8.35pmHALF-TIME Sheffield United 0-0 Yeovil Town

8.37pmA scrappy first period draws to a close, with penalty claims and late tackles dominating a half lacking in genuine quality. United have just about shaded possession but Yeovil's determined approach has frustrated the home side so far tonight.

8.40pmBlades boss Morgan will feel his side should have been awarded a penalty early on for Burn's physical challenge on Porter. Replays suggest that the Yeovil defender was fortunate to escape punishment, with United also denied a penalty soon after as McAllister clashed with Robson in the box.

8.42pmAfter taking an elbow to the ribs Robson was forced to withdraw after just 30 minutes. Losing the experienced Scottish midfielder was a blow for the Blades, with the home side definitely missing a cutting edge in the final third this evening.

8.45pmYeovil boss Johnson will be largely pleased with his side, who have pressed and dictated a fast tempo from the outset. What the visitors must look to do after the break is find Madden and Hayter with quality delivery quickly, with the forward line largely restricted to chasing long passes into the channels in the first period.

8.48pmYou can see from a determined but ultimately fruitless first period why United have gone more than five hours without a goal. Strikers Kitson and Porter have been restricted to meeting crosses from deep so far, with both forwards isolated by a lack of support from midfield. Morgan will want his side to stretch game when play resumes and hit the byline regularly, but Yeovil look strong and resolute in defence.

8.50pmIn a tight first period Yeovil were the only side that managed to register a shot on target, while between the two teams a total of 15 fouls were committed. A moment of inspiration is badly needed at Bramall Lane if either side is desperate to secure an advantage in the tie.

47 minGOAL! Sheffield United 1-0 Yeovil (McFadzean)

49 minJust two minutes into the second period United have made the breakthrough as substitute McFadzean scores his first ever goal for the Blades. The midfielder timed his run to perfection as he met a Porter cross first time. A low, powerful strike took a wicked deflection off Burn and hit the post before ending up behind Stech in the back of net. Advantage United after a frantic start to the second half!

51 minYeovil quickly win a corner kick at the other as Madden chases down a long pass to see his cross turned behind by Maguire. The visitors send numbers forward but McAllister's cross is a real disappointment and fails to beat the first defender at the near post.

53 minThe visitors again attack in numbers as Hayter races to the byline and crosses into the six-yard box. Dawson beats his marker but fails to make contact at the far post as United scramble clear at the second time of asking. The Glovers have reacted well to conceding the opening goal as they press for an instant equaliser.

55 minSHOT! Upson decides to test Long from 30 yards and his low, powerful shot is tipped back into a dangerous area after a slow reaction from the United keeper. Fortunately for Long no Yeovil player follows up and a chance to tap home from close range goes begging for Hayter and Madden.

57 minA poor touch from Foley sees United win back possession and hand their defence a much-needed breather, but Yeovil are quick to regroup as McDonald smashes into the corner. Strong defending from Ayling shield the ball for more than 10 yards and earns the visitors a goal kick.

59 minA late offside flag denies Yeovil the equaliser as Hayter strays behind his marker. The experience forward had time to view the offside trap and despite a clever chipped finish over Long had strayed at least a yard beyond two central defenders. Yeovil desperately need more composure in that position if they are to draw level tonight.

61 minUnited press forward at the other end and strike from distance as Murphy drives into the final third before letting fly. His effort lacks power and eventually drifts through to be caught with relative ease by Stech.

63 minYELLOW CARD! Doyle is undone by quick feet from Edwards and picks up a caution after catching the Yeovil midfielder with a late sliding tackle. Surprisingly given the competitive nature of the match that booking is only the third handed out so far tonight.

65 minA sustained spell of Yeovil pressure sees Hayter capitalise on a slip from Maguire to race clear in the penalty area. The forward has time to pick out strike partner Madden, but his lofted pass is too high and allows Hill to clear with a covering tackle. From the follow up Ayling launches a swirling strike that flies well wide of Long's near post.

67 minMcFadzean lands heavily after an aerial tussle with McAllister and needs medical attention on an eye problem, forcing an unwelcome break in play for the visitors. Yeovil deserve to be at least level but a lack of composure in the final third has undermined their efforts so far this evening.

69 minSAVE! A poor clearance from Stech sees United stride forward when play resumes, with McFadzean leaving McAllister for dead with a superb piece of skill out side. The youngster races into the penalty area and shoots from a tight angle, but his low strike is parried clear by a strong stop from Stech as the Yeovil keeper eventually redeems himself.

71 minWIDE! McFadzean is quickly involved again as his precise pass picks out Foley in space out wide. He cuts inside two Yeovil defenders before launching a powerful strike that ends up whistling past the far post. Encouraging signs for the Blades in the last few minutes as they go in search of a second goal.

73 minUpson, Foley and Edwards link up brilliantly outside the penalty area for Yeovil, before picking out Ayling out wide. His cross finds Madden at the far post, but the forward's header misses the target and is eventually smashed clear by Collins. That was Yeovil's best chance of the night and really should have been taken by their top scorer.

76 minSUBSTITUTIONS: The visitors make their first change in attack, with Ayling replaced by tricky playmaker Angelo Balanta. The former Wycombe loanee has around 15 minutes to make a difference tonight. Meanwhile United decide to swap Kitson for young striker Joe Ironside in attack.

78 minBalanta is quickly caught in possession deep by Doyle, but the midfielder's brilliant interception is let down by a wayward strike towards goal from 20 yards. Yeovil are just struggling a touch to keep pace after setting a high tempo for much of the night.

81 minFoley concedes a free kick for holding just wide of the penalty area, with Morgan furious that the assistant failed to initially award the foul despite standing in close proximity. After chesting down inside the box Webster eventually clears and launches a quick Yeovil counter. The visitors want a penalty as Ayling's cross connects with the arm of McFadzean, but the referee waves away fierce Yeovil protests.

83 minFrom the resulting corner kick Webster rises highest to meet a curling corner kick, but his effort is too central and caught cleanly by Long. At the other end Porter shows strength to retain possession and pick out McDonald, but after working a clever cross Westlake's delivery is poor and gets claimed under no pressure by Stech.

85 minMadden chases down a long diagonal ball and crosses for Balanta, who keeps the attack alive as he chests down for Edwards. Dawson eventually crosses towards the far post, but his effort carries too much power and misses the late run of Madden into the penalty area. Time is running out for Yeovil to restore parity as we head towards the final five minutes.

88 minStech concedes a silly corner kick as he carries a speculative long clearance from Collins over the line, with the effort definitely falling wide of the target. United nearly profit from the corner as Ironside beats the offside trap, but the young forward is at full stretch and fails to connect with a long pass into the danger zone.

90 minYeovil are once again found wanting with the final pass as an ambitious effort form Upson finds Foley offside. The visitors against lose possession quickly as Balanta slips in the final third. More positive work from Foley and Madden sees a third penalty appeal for handball, but Maguire is not peanlised after the ball ricochets off his hand after initially hitting his thigh.

90 min+2SAVE! Westlake puts the home side under pressure as he concedes a cheap foul near the halfway line. From the high cross Webster forces Long into a quick reaction save as he flicks a shot towards goal on the turn. That was a fine stop from the young goalkeeper to maintain his side's narrow advantage.

90 min+4SUBSTITUTION: United make a change in the first of four added minutes, with Whitehouse brought on to replace Chris Porter, who has worked tirelessly in attack on his return to the starting XI. When play resumes Yeovil launch forward but Burn's long pass has too much power to find a chasing Balanta.

90 min+5Madden looks to be clear in the dying seconds for Yeovil, but a heavy touch from the forward allows Maguire to recover and clear with a crucial block tackle in the penalty area. United attack at the other end through Murphy, who cuts inside to send a curling cross into an empty penalty area.

9.42pmFULL-TIME Sheffield United 1-0 Yeovil Town

9.44pmIn the end a hard-fought first leg is decided by young Callum McFadzean, who netted just sixty seconds after the interval. Yeovil can be encouraged by a spirited display ahead of Monday's second leg back at Huish Park.

9.47pmThat just about does it for Sports Mole's coverage form Bramall Lane as Sheffield United earn a slender advantage over Yeovil Town. Thanks for joining us for playoff action and goodnight!

Adam Le Fondre celebrates after scoring his second goal to equalise against West Brom on January 12, 2013
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