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[Report] Raith Rovers 1 – 2 Sheffield United

In the last game of their mini-tour of Scotland, David Weir’s Blades side travelled to Stark’s Park – the home of Raith Rovers.

In the evening sunshine in Kirkcaldy, kick off was delayed until 19:45 due to traffic congestion on the Forth Road Bridge.

The home side got the fixture underway and immediately went on the attack, looking to pressure the Blades defence in and around their own penalty area.

The Blades rear-guard coped with the early pressure and it was United who managed to get the first real effort on target, Murphy’s long range effort being beaten away to safety after cutting in from the left.

Rovers brought Mark Howard his first action as Cardle had a shot from outside the box, but the United keeper caught his effort easily enough.

Looking fairly busy during the opening exchanges, Murphy tried to beat his man down the left and, as it looked like he’d beaten him to the byline, the referee judged that he’d fouled the defender.

The home side got their reward for their early work going forward after around 15 minutes as a dangerous ball was sent in from their right hand side. Spence managed to bundle the ball past Howard at the back post to put the Blades behind for the very first time under David Weir.

United didn’t panic and attempted to work out an opportunity down the other end, only for the home defence to stay organised and clear their lines.

Another patient build up saw a number of passes strung together by the Blades as they looked to stretch Rovers, but Williams’ cross from the left was too far away from Porter and resulted in a goal kick.

It was a more accurate ball into the box that was to bring the Blades level, as the ball was cut back from the byline towards the penalty spot, where Kevin McDonald was on hand to calmly side foot past Laidlaw.

Five minutes later the visitors were in front, as Jamie Murphy smashed a cracking finish past the keeper from just inside the area.

New boy McGinn tried to get into the action just before half time with an effort which went over the bar, before Williams required treatment after a challenge on half way.

As the physio attended to the full back, the referee blew for half time.

In a change from the previous two friendlies, Weir kicked off the second half with the same side that began the game.

Raith were given an early free kick in a dangerous central position around 20 yards from Howard’s goal. It was a wasted opportunity though as the Rovers man hit his shot well over the crossbar.

Back in possession, the Blades went down the other end and under pressure from a couple of defenders, Chris Porter shot just past the far post, with the keeper beaten.

It was to be the strikers last action as he was replaced by Joe Ironside, with Whitehouse also coming on for Doyle.

As the clock ticked into the second half, Weir decided to shuffle the pack further with Brandy replacing McFadzean before introducing Higginbotham, Kayara, Smith, Hill, McGinty and Hodder.

Trialist Kayara, never scared to shoot, had another long range effort which was off target.

Febian Brandy was next up to try his luck, with a wild, off-balance effort well off target from the right hand side.

The final stages were played out without clear cut chances for either side, Howard having no problems collecting on his line as the home side looked to equalise with around ten minutes remaining.

The crowd of 1054 watch the game play out without further excitement, finishing the Blades jaunt in Scotland with Weir’s side unbeaten.

Raith Rovers Starting XI: Laidlaw, Thomson, Booth, Ellis, Hill, Fox, Anderson, Moon, Spence, Elliot, Cardle.

Sheffield United Starting XI: Howard, Westlake, Williams, Maguire, Doyle, Porter, Murphy, Collins, McFadzean, McGinn, McDonald.

Attendance: 1054

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Written by Martin Fox

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

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