Sheffield United kicked off their pre-season campaign with a short trip to North Derbyshire as they took on Paul Cook’s Chesterfield.
The Blades named a separate line-up for each half, mixing some of the senior players with the youth prospects. After a goalless first half, United would eventually dispatch the National League side with goals from Iliman Ndiaye and Ben Osborn.
First-half XI: Foderingham, Lowe, Fleck, Basham, Marsh, Egan, Norwood, Trialist, Osula, Brooks, Seriki.
Subs: Dewhurst, Sachdev, Neal, Freckleton, Buyabu.
Second-half XI: Davies, Sachdev, Berge, McBurnie, Ahmedhodžić, Robinson, Neal, Osborn, Freckleton, Ndiaye, Buyabu.
Subs: Dewhurst, Trialist, Osula, Brooks, Seriki.
But the first half was centred around promising forward Osula. The young Dane was causing havoc as he had a shot turned around the post by the Spireites goalkeeper Tyrer. And quickly after he had a penalty appeal turned away, after he broke to the byline and got around the back of Williams.
Chesterfield posed a threat of their own through Uchegbulam and Quigley, but United did well to limit them from any real chance. Shortly before the break, Osula was once again the focus when he carried the ball from the Blades half and advanced past multiple defenders before firing a left-footed effort wide.
In the second half, last season’s exceptional strike pairing of McBurnie and Ndiaye graced the field and it didn’t take the duo long to produce a goal. On 52 minutes, Berge played a line-splitting pass into McBurnie but the Scottish international dummied the ball which sent Ndiaye through on goal – Ndiaye proceeded to trick his way past the keeper and slotted the ball home.
On 59 minutes McBurnie would then time his run and spring onto a through ball. And with the Chesterfield backline attempting to catch him offside, he remained untouched as he faced the goalkeeper but he unselfishly nudged the ball to the left to an onrushing Osborn who passed it into an empty net and made it 2-0.
After turning provider, McBurnie also had a few decent chances for himself with a powerful header from a cross from the left. He then hit a tame side-foot effort from the edge of the box.
It was a good run out for the Blades and it’s always nice to bank a win in a pre-season game. Up next for Paul Heckingbottom’s side is a trip to Portugal where United will face Primeira Liga Estoril.
At the end of the match Paul Heckingbottom stated in an interview with SUTV:
“I don’t enjoy these games but I’m pleased with the approach of the players and how we went about the game. Everyone was ready for it, everyone needed it.”
There were no injuries picked up in the match, but Freckleton suffered a slight bang after being trodden on during the second half.
The gaffer relayed United’s upcoming pre-season plans in an interview:
“We’ve got another one while we’re away and an in house one between ourselves while we’re away. Next week will be physical for the players but a lot more tactical because when we come back the focus will shift to the games.”