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Match Reports

Match Report: Sheffield United 2-2 Southend United

14 November 2015

Strikes from Leonard and Payne aren't enough at Bramall Lane.

A stunning Ryan Leonard effort and a Jack Payne goal weren't enough at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United battled back and both sides gained a point apiece in an entertaining 2-2 draw in Sky Bet League 1.

Leonard hammered a beauty into the back of the net just before the half hour mark and Payne scored a peach of his own soon after.

But the Blades came back before the break through Jose Baxter and Neill Collins and neither could find a winner after the break in the steel city, despite their best efforts.

Manager Phil Brown named the same team that defeated Bristol Rovers in the JPT for the game against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

This meant that Adam Thompson and Adam Barrett continue their partnership at the heart of defence.

Michael Timlin came back into the squad and took his place on the bench.

It was a good start from the Blues, who attacked from the off looking to gain an early advantage, and having a lot of possession.

But it was a former Blues man who had the best chance of the opening 25 minutes as Jamal Campbell-Ryce twisted free of his marked but curled an effort over the top of Dan Bentley's goal.

But soon after, the Blues did take the lead, and what a strike it was from Leonard.

The midfielder picked the ball up after George Long punched clear and thundered a half-volley in off the post from 30 yards to give the Blues a deserved lead.

And it got better just a few minutes later as Payne latched onto a neat ball forward to bury into the bottom corner and give Brown's side a two-goal lead.

But the Blades battled back and pulled a goal back eight minutes before the break.

A Paul Coutts corner was curled in and after Blues failed to clear the danger, former Everton man Baxter prodded home from close range after some hesitant defending.

Sheffield's tails were up and after Che Adams' drive was blocked by Thompson and out for a corner, the Blades had one final chance of the half.

And they took it. The initial corner was cleared, but only as far as Baxter, whose cross found Collins at the back post and the defender calmly slotted into the corner of the net.

That was to be the last action of what was a very entertaining half of football in Sheffield.

After the break, the Blades looked to get themselves the advantage for the first time, with the Blues back-line standing firm.

On 65 minutes, Brown made his first change of the game as Joe Pigott came on for fellow forward David Mooney in a straight swap.

And moments later, Blues had the chance to take the lead again but David Worrall could only glance Kevan Hurst's cross wide of the right-hand post.

That was to be the last notable action for Hurst as he was replaced by Myles Weston with 20 minutes to go.

And in the next chance, the Blues were thankful to Bentley who was out quickly to deny Billy Sharp from giving the Blades the lead inside the box.

The time was ticking down in Sheffield if both sides wanted a winning goal, and the Blades came close with 15 minutes remaining when Baxter crashed a shot against the post before the danger was clear.

And a matter of second later the hosts hit the upright again. This time it was skipper Chris Basham who glanced a header off Bentley's left-hand post and out for a goal kick.

With seven minutes left, a great run from Will Atkinson saw the midfielder break from inside his own half before eventually finding  Worrall in the Blades box but the ball somehow went over the upright from eight yards out.

With two minutes left, Sheffield United hit the post for a third time as Sharp's strike from 30 yards cannoned off the post and clear of danger.

And that was to be the last action of note as the Blues held on to take a creditable point home in front of almost 20,000 supporters.

Blues: Bentley; White, Thompson, Barrett, Coker; Worrall, Leonard, Atkinson, Hurst (Weston, 70); Payne (Timlin, 75); Mooney (Pigott, 65)

Unused substitutes: P. Smith, Prosser, Bolger, O'Neill

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