Late Drama Wrecks Home Record
Ashton Gate, Bristol
28 November 2009, 15:00
Sheffield United ended our proud 11-month unbeaten run at home and earnt their first win at the Gate in 38 years on a day when any decent side would have racked up a cricket score.
Gary Johnson baffled many with his team selection and tactics, ringing the changes after last weekend's drubbing dished out by West Brom.
In came his son Lee for Lewin Nyatanga as the manager chose to put out a narrow 4-4-2 formation.
City started purposefully though with Elliott and Danny Haynes threatening the opener whilst Jamie Ward worked Gerken with a low effort at the other end before the game's bizarre opening goal on the half-hour mark.
In-demand Blades centre-back Matt Kilgallon fired a long punt towards Darius Henderson, who rifled his low shot past Gerken for what seemed to be the opener only for the linesman's flag to be up.
Lee Williamson was in an offside position as the goal went in but after much deliberation the ref correctly allowed the goal to stand as he wasn't active.
City's defence was all at sea and it didn't take long for Henderson to double his, and his team's, tally for the day.
Donkey-like defender Jamie McCombe gifted away possession under no pressure on the edge of our box, allowing Ward to scamper down the left and square for the big target man's second of the game on 33.
McCombe then looped a header from Hartley's cross before Elliott's long-range rocket was saved by Carl Ikeme.
McAllister's then sent in a cross from the left which Ikeme dropped to the feet of Danny Haynes, who hit the side netting.
Sno sent Haynes through on the left just before the break but held on to for too long with Nicky Maynard waiting square for a tap-in.
City needed to hit back immediately after the interval to get back into the game and Sno picked out Johnson who saw his shot blocked by Blades debutant Ikeme.
Then came a moment of class from the talismanic Paul Hartley. His inch-perfect inswinging free kick from the left picked out Carey, who thumped his header in to give us a lifeline (53).
Chances continued to come against a fragile Blades team, this time Haynes found Maynard but his shot was saved by Ikeme. The ball rebounded out Johnson, who dallied on the ball with an open goal from the edge of the box.
Carey, leading from the front as usual, then broke down the right-wing on 67 and picked out Haynes who's effort was blocked by the visitor's skipper Chris Morgan.
Ivan Sproule came on to provide much needed width, as did Alvaro Saborio as City went route one, but nobody could've expected what was to come.
With City pumping long balls into the box, one of them forced a goalmouth scramble which popped loose to Costa Rican international Saborio who fired through a crowd of players to seemingly rescue a stoppage time point.
But straight from kick off, a long punt from Ikeme found its way to Henderson who expertly fired home an angled drive past Gerken to win it.
CITY (4-4-2): Gerken, Skuse (Sproule 76), McCombe, Carey, McAllister (Fontaine 88), Elliott, Johnson, Hartley, Sno (Saborio 84), Maynard, Haynes.
BLADES (4-5-1): Ikeme, Walker, Morgan, Davies, Kilgallon, Ward (Reid 88), Montgomery, Harper (Fortune 90+2), Quinn, Williamson (Stewart 59), Henderson.
REFEREE: Andy Hall (West Midlands)
Another industrious performance from our bearded Jock. Ran the midfield and provided real quality with his set pieces, including the assist for our first goal.
Dean Gerken 5
Cole Skuse 6
Jamie McAllister 6
Jamie McCombe 2
Louis Carey 7
Marvin Elliott 5
Lee Johnson 5
Paul Hartley 8
Evander Sno 5
Nicky Maynard 6
Danny Haynes 5
Ivan Sproule 6
Alvaro Saborio 6
Liam Fontaine 5
Poor day for Johnson. Picked FIVE central midfielders in the starting XI and played four players unnecessarily out of position. Clearly has learnt nothing from last week's defeat at West Brom. Expect better.
Has a poor side at his disposal on this showing and came to shut up shop. Didn't do anything tactically to impress, just caught us on a day when our defence were more open than a barn door.
Shambles From Start To Finish
The day Johnson discovers his best team and starts picking square pegs in square holes can't come soon enough.
Worst Ref Yet!
Henderson bagged a good hat-trick today to add to his double for Swindon and goals for Watford against us in the past. I wish he was on our team!