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Match Report


Posted Sat 10 Mar 12 at 16:57 PM


Sheffield United striker Ched Evans scored a Griffin Park brace as the promotion-chasing visitors beat Brentford 2-0.

Brentford had the better of the first half hour and the majority of the opening 30 minutes was played in Sheffield United territory.

But The Blades had pace, power and experience in attack and that enabled them to take the lead with their only chance of the first half hour.

The ball was played long by Steve Simonsen and Chris Porter rose above Leon Legge to head down to his strike partner Evans - the Welshman worked his way past Jake Bidwell and fired an unerring low shot past Simon Moore.

That was very much against the run of play but showed the danger of United's front pair and whenever Evans and Porter linked up, the visitors looked capable of producing something.

That they did it little early on was due to the excellence of Brentford's diamond midfield, who controlled the game.

But The Bees couldn't find a leveller and Evans punished a mistake from Moore to score a second just after half time.

With that lead, they set about being well-organised and keeping Brentford out, which they did without goalkeeper Simonsen especially over-worked.

Brentford were not far behind United but couldn't find a way through - Adam Forshaw faded a shot wide before United's goal and Jonathan Douglas had a shot blocked soon after.

Legge had a great chance to equalise when a Bidwell free kick reached him at the far post but the central defender got the ball stuck between his feet and Simonsen was able to keep the ball out and then scramble it away.

The goalkeeper held on to a looping Harlee Dean header soon after and moments later Brentford had a great chance to level.

The hosts won the ball in midfield and Toumani Diagouraga fed Clayton Donaldson, the striker curled a shot that looked to be heading in to the far corner before Harry Maguire dived across to block.

The Bees appealed that it had hit the defender's arm but referee Christopher Sarginson deemed no offence had been committed.

An acrobatic effort from Diagouraga went wide and Simonsen held on to a Legge header but United could have been out of sight at the break as they missed some gilt-edged chances.

Evans missed the best of them when Moore, Legge and Dean got in a mess trying to deal with a long Matt Lowton punt forward, the ball dropped to Evans but with the Brentford goalkeeper stranded he inexplicably shot wide.

They had another good chance moments later when Will Hoskins got in behind the Brentford defence and cut back, his cross found Porter at the far side but Moore went full stretch to keep out the striker's header.

Evans had a header deflected wide soon after but Brentford ended the half well.

Marcus Williams made an important clearance inside his six-yard box when Diagouraga swung a ball in from the left and Simonsen held on to a low Forshaw effort as the first 45 ended with promise of an entertaining second half to come.

Brentford had been more than a match for their lofty opponents but United's threat in attack had been plain to see.

The second half never really had a chance to build as United doubled their lead and all but sealed the game five minutes after the break.

Evans horribly missed the target from the left side after being well fed by Lee Williamson but Moore's goal kick went straight to him - the striker raced clear, keeping Dean behind him, rounded the Brentford goalkeeper and rolled the ball home.

Brentford had been forced to bring on Niall McGinn for the injured Sam Saunders in the first half and introduced Myles Weston as they sought a way back in to the game.

The Bees did create openings but Sheffield United largely kept them at arms length.

A weak Donaldson header was saved and a McGinn shot deflected wide before Weston and Saido Berahino missed the target with long range efforts.

Douglas fired a free kick over and then missed the target from distance before Berahino forced Simonsen into a save with a curling shot.

United's front two were still a threat on the break and Moore made a fine save to deny Porter following nice interplay on the edge of the penalty area

Maguire headed wide from the resulting corner but most of the action was at the other end, albeit not really in United's penalty area.

Shaleum Logan and McGinn had shots blocked before Legge and Weston were just unable to turn in a Bidwell free kick.

Brentford had most of the possession and territorial advantage but Sheffield United's excellent defence were keeping them at arms' length.

Donaldson created a shooting opportunity but soon had it snuffed out and a Douglas shot was deflected away.

From the resulting corner, Berahino was just unable to head in after the returning Karleigh Osborne diverted the ball towards goal.

Moore saved with his legs to deny Evans a hat-trick and Williamson also had a shot blocked while at the other end Osborne volleyed over from a corner.

The Bees continued to push forward late in the piece without ever really looking likely to find a way back in to the game and Sheffield United left with the points.

Brentford: Moore; Logan, Legge, Dean (sub Osborne 76 mins), Bidwell; Diagouraga, Douglas, Forshaw (sub Weston 54 mins); Saunders (sub McGinn 36 mins); Berahino, Donaldson

Subs (not used): Lee, Thompson

Bookings: Diagouraga (22 mins) (fifth of season)

Sheffield United: Simonsen; Lowton, Maguire, Hill, Williams; Hoskins (sub Montgomery 66 mins), Williamson, Doyle, Quinn; Porter (sub Cresswell 77 mins), Evans

Subs (not used): Howard, Egan, Beattie

Bookings: Maguire (61 mins), Cresswell (90 mins)

Attendance: 7,414 (1,785 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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