A point and we should be happy

Last updated : 03 November 2007 By Paul Collis
David Unsworth
David Unsworth - had a stormer
The Clarets deserved at least a share of the spoils, with a performance in the second half that could, on another day, have earned us all three points.

I must admit I wasn't confident of us getting anything before the match, and with our last win at Bramall Lane dating back to 1973, you can understand why. The Blades who haven't had a good start to the season would have been looking to kick start their season with three points against us today, manager Bryan Robson desperate for a home win.

Steve Cotterill made one forced change to the team that started against Southampton, with veteran and ex-Blades player David Unsworth being chosen to partner Clarke Carlisle at the centre of the Clarets defence.

We started off quite solid. Neither team looked brimming with confidence with balls being hit long for the likes of Beattie for the Blades and Gray for the Clarets. However United were the first team who got going and their forward Luton Shelton was causing us a few problems with his pace and unpredictability. Carlisle dived in a couple of times and Shelton slipped away from him only to be wasteful when getting in good positions. Danny Webber came closest to opening the scoring in the first few minutes of the game, his shot being turned round the post by Gabor Kiraly for a corner.

But then Burnley started to get into the game. Spicer and McCann looked to get the ball down in midfield and up to the front two pairing of Gray and Blake. It was Blake who created our first opening, holding the ball up before laying it back for Alexander to deliver a juicy far post cross, only for Carlisle to head over from 6 yards.

United then started to press forward and Kiraly saved brilliantly from Beattie who directed a firm header down, to Kiraly's right, only to see the Hungarian stopper react with a lightening reflex save and push the ball wide. Kiraly was called into action again a few minutes later after finding himself one on one with Blades striker Danny Webber. Kiraly flew out towards Webber and blocked him with both legs, the ball going clear down field out of danger.

Shortly after these few hairy moments at the back Burnley got into their stride. Robbie Blake, who looked more like his inspiring self today, curled a wonderful free kick just wide of the keeper's top left corner on the 35 minute mark.

All in all I was very happy with our performance going into half time. Yes, the Blades had had a few chances, but so had we. More pleasing was the fact we were playing some nice football.

The Clarets came out in the second half in a very positive manner. Blake was getting on the ball and spraying it out it wide. Alexander and Elliott were linking up well down the right and Kyle Lafferty caused former Burnley loanee Phil Bardsley problems, both in the air and on the ground.

Blake who again was causing the Blades problems got bundled over on the edge of the box. Unsworth looked favourite to hit a shot, however the ball was laid off to Alexander who forced a save to the keeper's bottom left corner from 25 yards.

We continued to press forward and Unsworth had a header ruled out from a Robbie Blake corner for an alleged push. I thought it was a fair decision.

Stephen Jordan, who was having a solid game at left-back, limped off on the hour, replaced by Harley who looked sharp considering his lack of first team action this season. Harley got forward well too, putting over a couple of decent crosses.

Andy Gray was up against United's best player today, a certain Gary Cahill. Gray didn't really get a sniff a goal until mid way through the second half when he got the ball played into his feet 12 yards out with his back to goal. Gray turned neatly with Cahill all over him. Gray shot and the ball deflected off Cahill and over the ball for a Burnley corner - Cahill pulling Gray down in the process. Blake delivered the resulting corner which was attacked by Carlisle at the back post, and deflected off the head of another United defender for yet another Clarets corner.

After Burnley had the lion's share of the play in the 2nd half, the Blades put us under some pressure in the dying minutes with long throws, corners and free kicks. Webber had a goal ruled out in the last minute, James Beattie being pulled up for a foul as he headed the ball across the goal for Webber to stab home.

A draw was probably a fair result - we certainly didn't deserve to lose. This was a good team performance from a Burnley side going into the game, who must have been fairly low on confidence.

Kiraly was superb making 4 or 5 good saves. Alexander was good on the ball as usual and made one crucial tackle in the second half. Carlisle had a shaky start but got better as the game went on. Jordan was solid.

McCann and Spicer went about their jobs efficiently throughout the game. McCann composed on the ball and Spicer keeping it simple and also bursting forward a couple of times in the second half to join in the attack.

Elliott and Lafferty both put good shifts in today. Their tracking back particularly impressive. Blake showed us what he can do. Gray didn't get much change out of Cahill. Harley looked like he had never been away and slotted in perfectly when he came on. Mahon didn't really have chance to get into the game when he came on for Lafferty.

That just leaves one player to mention - David Unsworth. Looking at him you would hardly call him an athlete. However today he had a stormer. He organised the back four from the first whistle to the last. He gave a no nonsense performance and his composure on the ball was fantastic. He was a huge factor in this team performance.

So we got a point and we should be happy. I hope this gives the players the confidence to give a similar if not better performance at home to Hull on Tuesday that would surely get us a much need home win.