Pre-Season continued on a warm Friday evening as Sheffield United sent an XI up to Bracken Moor (the Look Local Stadium) to take on Stocksbridge Park Steels.
With a similar squad to the one named in last Saturday’s victory over Chesterfield, it was a young side up against a Steels side playing for the first time under a new management team.
Resplendent in the new Adidas home kit, the Blades got the game underway, attacking the terraced end first half.
Stocksbridge had the first effort of the game, with a shot on target from outside the box. United keeper Ramsdale was down early to easily take the ball safely into his body.
Playing in a less familiar centre-back role, Daniel Cockerline looked to get plenty of the ball in the opening stages, with C.J. Hamilton also very active down the left hand side.
Hamilton looked to create the first Blades chance of the evening, beating his man but seeing his first cross blocked, then another one put out for the first corner of the game.
That early corner and a Blades free kick were dealt with by the Steels keeper, before Slew and Kelly linked up down the left hand side, the latter seeing his deep cross clear everybody.
The busy Hamilton was seeing plenty of the ball down the wing and being encouraged by the bench to push forward, he cut inside and unleashed a shot which was blocked for another Blades corner.
Jorome Slew was next up to try his luck, but saw his shot from distance go safely wide of Andrews’ goal.
It wasn’t long before the Blades opened the scoring, with Ioan Evans reacting first with a calm finish as an original shot was saved by the Steels keeper.
The Blades were in front and looking for another, first Evans headed over a corner, before Jamie Hinchliffe showed great pace to intercept and drive forward, eventually being crowded out by the Steels back line.
Stocksbridge weren’t out of the game though, Scott Turner looked to test Ramsdale with a long-range free kick, but saw his shot clear the Blades bar by a couple of feet.
Graham Kelly showed great attacking intent when, after picking the ball up in his own box, he set off down the left wing, running the length of the field before standing up a cross to the back post. Sadly for the youngster, a Stocksbridge head managed to find the ball and head behind for a corner.
With the clock ticking down towards the half time break, there was time for McDonagh to have a cheeky effort towards goal from 18 yards, a deflection taking the shot just off target.
United decided the shuffle the pack at half time, with the introduction of Banton, Whiteman, Ramsey and Giraud-Hutchinson replacing McDonagh, Hamilton, Kelly and Hinchliffe.
The change in personnel meant a switch to a back three, with Cockerline, Evans and Banton charged with keeping out the hosts.
Ben Whiteman looked to get off to a quick start, with a shot from the edge of the box, but it was a routine enough save for Andrews in the Steels net.
The lively Giraud-Hutchinson picked up the ball in midfield and drove towards goal, only to be taken to ground just as he released a pass.
With the free-kick fairly central and 20 yards out, Whiteman fancied his chances. He was right to do so, striking the ball well and sending a quality shot into the top corner past a helpless Andrews.
Far from feeling sorry for themselves, Stocksbridge went straight down the other end, Chris White blazing a good opportunity wide.
Despite their best efforts, it was to get worse for the home side, as Giraud-Hutchinson danced inside from the right and after some great footwork finished with a shot across the keeper to make it 3-0.
Again the hosts tried to hit back, with Adam Podmore this time cursing his luck as he saw his effort go wide of Ramsdale’s goal.
The Blades took the opportunity to make more changes with Evans, Cockerline, Heh, Slew and Ishmael coming off, to be replaced by Adebowale, Kedman, Fixter, Gordon, Wright and Calvert-Lewin.
With the Blades firmly in front, the game hit a bit of a lull, with not much of note happening in the final third. Both teams were cancelling each other out and despite their best efforts, the Steels were struggling to create any clear cut opportunities.
The lively Giraud-Hutchinson unfortunately took a late challenge after playing the ball to a team-mate, forcing him to limp off in pain with the Blades seeing out the remainder of the match with ten men.
Sheffield United XI: Ramsdale, McDonagh, Hamilton, Cockerline, Evans, Kelly, Heh, Ishmael, Slew, Ellis, Hinchliffe
Subs: Whiteman, Annerson, Banton, Adebowale, Calvert-Lewin, Fixter, Gordon, Kedman, Giraud-Hutchinson, Wright, Ramsey