First Team vs. Whitby Town (4 : 1)
Sheffield put in a great night's work and progressed through to the next round of the League Cup, writes Bill Towning, with a comprehensive victory on a very chilly night at the sea-side. Club were 3 - 0 up after 20 minutes, Ash Longstaff with a couple and Kieran Walker bagging his first in Club colours. Jake Eastwood saved Mark Robinson's penalty on the hour, and Lee Mason pulled a goal back for the Seasiders on 73 minutes, with Joel Purkiss wrapping up a well-deserved and morale-boosting win for Club in added time.
Sheffield made several changes from the side that played at Norton United at the week-end. James Knowles returned and Rhema Obed and Michael Onovwigun started with Matt Roney taking over the captain's armband for this game. Also starting were Sheffield United youngsters Jake Eastwood (goalkeeper) and Ioan Evans (centre-back) who have joined in work-experience terms.
It was very cold but the visiting supporters soon had something to warm their hands as some neat okay in midfield allowed James Gregory to test the Whitby defence with a good run, and after five minutes good play at the back got Jinky away and suddenly it was 3 on 2 and the ball was laid off to Ash Longstaff who curled a lovely effort past Bland to give Sheffield the lead. The goal galvanised the visitors into more good work and in the opening minutes there was only one team in the game.
Walker earned a corner for Club with one of his throw-in missiles and from a good delivery he made a good run into the 6 yard box and headed the ball powerfully into the back of the net. 2-0 Club, 10 minutes played. Whitby managed to have a little spell of play and Lee Mason had their first effort on goal from distance, well wide.
After 20 minutes Sheffield were 3-0 ahead. Gregory was causing a lot of trouble with some mazy runs and was getting a bit of a battering round the ankles. He was brought down in the danger zone and Roney curled a low free-kick round the wall bringing off a block from Bland, Longstaff following up well and hitting the re-bound into the goal. From this point Sheffield had some defending to do as Whitby realised the tie was slipping away, and Mason knocked in an inviting ball from the right, and Liam Shepherd had a shot blocked. Whitby played some neat stuff around the edge of the Sheffield area but Evans and Walker were in control and there were few chances, Dave McTiernan's long range effort wide was typical of what the hosts were restricted to.
When Sheffield got the ball in this spell they looked dangerous and from a corner Longstaff headed the ball on to Walker who headed wide. From some hard defensive work in the Sheffield area the ball was cleared to Onovwigun and in no time at all, seemingly with no effort, he was in the Whitby area but was crowded out before he could get a shot away. Gregory was again fouled on the edge of the area and Roney tried his luck again but Bland was well positioned this time. At half time it was Whitby Town FC 0 - 3 Sheffield FC
At the start of the second half Whitby started well after Sheffield had lost possession. However, neat build up between Roney, Obed and Knowles set up Ben Turner to drive on and shoot just wide. Whitby had the ball in the Sheffield net but were ruled off-side. Obed and Onovwigun combined well with the young Chesterfield midfielder showing some great skill to slip the ball to Longstaff who hit a good shot which was turned away for a corner. Ioan Evans was having a great game at the back and the Sheffield defenders were very well organised. Sheffield's next chance came to Matt Roney, some nice passing got the ball to Longstaff and he laid it off to the skipper but his left (I repeat left) foot shot was a little way wide.
Whitby Town were awarded a penalty on the hour with Eastwood having brought down Clarkson, the referee ruling that the ball had travelled sufficiently far enough away to make a caution appropriate. Mark Robinson hit a decent penalty to Eastwood's left but the young keeper had guessed correctly and stretched out, making a good block and with defenders rearing well and clearing the danger. Another good break out of defence from Sheffield, Onovwigun sent a superb pass across to Roney, his shot was blocked and Longstaff follow up was well defended.
For the hosts, James Brown had two glorious chances to score as Sheffield tired, one he put wide when scoring looked easier, and the other was agonisingly close. In between Bland pulled off a good save to deny Longstaff a deserved hat-trick. With 20 minutes remaining Joel Purkiss replaced a hard worked Onovwigun, and minutes later a good passing move invoking Obed, Purkiss and Longstaff set up Warren Burrell - it seemed all he had to do was slot the ball into the net but somehow he tried to round the keeper and dragged the ball too wide.
Turner thought he had scored from Roney's cross but was adjudged off-side. Whitby gained a lifeline with 73 minutes gone when from a corner, Lee Mason was able to get free and scored a nice goal to give the home side some hope. Whitby were looking dangerous at this point with Sheffield tiring after a good night’s work, and Eastwood was forced into a good stop at his near post. Longstaff took a knock and was replaced by Whittaker on 80 minutes, Purkiss having to play the lone striker role for last 10 minutes. Obed almost had Purkiss through on goal with a clever free-kick and Sheffield continues to hold a good back line catching the town striker’s off-side once again. Running down the clock, Roney was replaced by Pemberton in the final minutes and he had a good left foot effort just off target, before Purkiss was set through on goal in the last minute of added time, making no mistake in his one-on-one contest with Bland and putting the icing on a very well deserved and hard worked for victory.
Whitby Town: Bland, Shepherd, Robinson ©, Pell (Hassan), King, McTiernan (Doran), Mason, Hopson, Brown, Clarkson (Snaith), Waters. Subs Not Used: Burgess, Williams.
Sheffield FC: Eastwood, Obed, Turner, Knowles, Walker, Evans, Roney © (Pemberton), Burrell, Longstaff (Whittaker), Onovwigun (Purkiss), Gregory. Sub Not Used: Green.
|Matt Roney ©||