Travis Binnion’s Under 18 side kicked off their pre-season with a trip into North Lincolnshire, to The Hawthornes, home of Brigg Town FC.
One of the oldest football clubs in the world (a few years younger than Hallam and Sheffield FC), the Zebras currently play in the Northern Counties East League Premier.
The Blades started positively and forced an early corner, which the hosts keeper misjudged. Callum Semple managed to get his head on the center, but could only direct it over the bar. Brigg came down the other end and tested United keeper Ramsdale with an effort which he had to be alert to, diving low to the right.
A good ball from Shea Gordon put Maw in behind, but his cut-back was cleared for the first of a succession of corners. Slew and then Burton forced great saves from the Zebras stopper before Maw cut inside and had an effort deflected for yet another corner.
The Blades were on top and their persistence was to pay off as Jorome Slew opened the scoring, tucking home with ease.
United almost doubled their lead shortly after, but for another impressive save from a Gordon strike. The communicative central defender Jo Cummings then ran from his own half, beating two men before shooting over the bar.
Soon after, Cummings was replaced by Adebowale, who had a busy first few minutes in the Blades rearguard – first Ramsdale reacted quickly to tip a goal-bound effort around the post, before the hosts wasted a golden opportunity with a header wide.
Shea Gordon and Alex Brown both had goal bound efforts kept out, before the referee blew the whistle for the half time break.
As is common pre-season, Binnion opted to ring the changes with Charlsworth, Ramsey, Hutchinson, Sharvin, Noel-Williams, Litchfield, Ford and Gilmour coming on. Making way were Cantrill, Brown, Gordon, Hallam, Maw, Slew, Burton and Mallon.
The hosts took advantage of the changes and created confusion in the Blades box early in the second half, Ramsey saved low down but could only parry to a Brigg striker who was gutted to see his shot rebound back off the post with the goal gaping.
Jo Cummings returned to the game, replacing Callum Semple at the back.
Good play from the young Blades resulted in a long range effort from Sharvin, but the effort was well over the bar. Noel-Williams sent Brodie Litchfield in behind, but he dragged his shot wide from a difficult angle.
Cummings played a great ball forward to Litchfield, who ran at his man and found his way into the area before crossing to O’Shaye Giraud Hutchinson who acrobatically placed the ball past the helpless Brigg keeper.
Noel-Williams was next to try his luck at extending his lead, but drew a great save from the keeper after an impressive run from Charlesworth.
United did make it three from the resulting corner, when Jo Cummings found the ball at his feet at the back post and made no mistake turning home.
Tyler Smith came on to replace Danny Ramsey in the last Blades change of the game.
There was just enough time remaining for the hosts to try their luck with a free kick, then Charlesworth was alert to make a great last ditch block as the Zebras looked to get a concillation goal.
The Blades saw the final moments out without issue, securing a win in their first U18s friendly of the pre-season campaign.
Brigg Town FC: Saltmer, Watson, Morgan, Lomas, Lee, O’Malley, Bardon, Nichols, Thompson, Hewson, Zand, Richards, Hare, Conyon.
Sheffield United U18s: Ramsdale, Cantrill, Cummings, Semple, Brown, Maw, Gordon (c), Hallam, Mallon, Slew, Burton.
Also used: Adebowale, Charlesworth, Ramsey, Hutchinson, Sharvin, Noel-Williams, Litchfield, Ford, Gilmour, Smith.