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Real Betis 0 – 1 Sheffield United – Pre-Season Friendly

On a day when the Blades once again broke their transfer record, signing Callum Robinson from Preston North End, they also kicked off their pre-season campaign with a win and a clean sheet.

Over a 1000 Unitedites capped off a day of drinking and sunshine with a visit to the Estádio Algarve, to catch a first glimpse of Wilder’s Premier League Blades.

The gaffer named a starting XI of Moore, Bryan, O’Connell, Egan, Basham, Freeman (Kieron), Lundstram, Norwood, Slater, Clarke and Sharp.

Clarke looked to create the first real Blades chance of the game, cutting in from the left wing and shooting from distance, the striker dragged his shot wide to the near post.

Five minutes later, Jack O’Connell got his head on a corner, only to see his effort go wide, not that it would have mattered, as the referee had already blown his whistle as the ball came to him.

The slender looking Freeman was pushing high up the pitch and involving himself plenty and was next to have a go, cutting inside from the right and shooting across the keeper, who struggled with it and had to push wide for a corner.

Some thought the Blades had won a penalty not long after as Clarke was fouled right on the edge of the area, falling into the penalty box as he went to ground. Norwood took the free kick, but flashed wide.

The Blades had a few more corners, but failed to trouble the Betis keeper, before the La Liga side had an attempt of their own, heading over a decent opportunity.

Pressing high up the pitch and pressuring their opponents, the Blades finally managed to get the ball in the back of the net, Sharp’s effort wouldn’t count however, with the referee blowing his whistle, seemingly as the ball hit him in the build up.

As half time approached, Betis had what was potentially their biggest chance of the game, first Moore denied a goalbound effort with a great reaction save, before Kieron Freeman was on hand to clear the rebound off the line.

As is customary with his early pre-season games, Wilder made a number of changes at half time, eight players starting their pre-season’s with the second half.

Second Half XI: Moore, Stevens, O’Connell, Stearman, Jagielka, Baldock, Lundstram, Duffy, Fleck, McGoldrick, Freeman (Luke)

Early in the second half, Blades new boy Luke Freeman was put in behind, but he miscued and lost his footing at the vital time as the ball reached him at the edge of the box.

McGoldrick was next to get behind the Betis rearguard, with a run down the left, he got a shot away at the front post but could only find the keepers body as the stopper smothered it.

Didzy was soon sniffing out another opportunity as he looked to get on the end of a Duffy cross, but a Betis defender just managed to cut out the centre with a sliding interception turning the ball behind for a corner.

It was a poor kick by the keeper that was to result in the only goal of the game, with Lundstram rising to head the Betis keepers kick into the path of McGoldrick who made no mistake in slotting home.

With the Blades in front, Betis hunted an equaliser which never came despite some pressure on the Blades defence, both Jagielka and O’Connell picking up bookings for fouls on the edge of the area.

Both Simon Moore beating away an effort and the post repelling a free kick ensured the Blades kicked off their pre-season campaign with a victory and a clean sheet.

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Written by Martin Fox

Foxy is a long suffering Blade and founder of S24SU.com.

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