Easy for Blades against hopeless Blues

Sheffield United 2 Ipswich Town 0DISJOINTED and out of sorts Ipswich Town were well beaten by Coca-Cola Championship automatic promotion contenders Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this afternoon.

Elvin King

Sheffield United 2 Ipswich Town 0

DISJOINTED and out of sorts Ipswich Town were well beaten by Coca-Cola Championship automatic promotion contenders Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this afternoon.

Greg Halford gave the home side the lead in the 19th minute with a 22-yard shot and Darius Henderson added a second in the 27th minute with a close range header.

Town had offered little in attack despite the hard work of A Quinn and Norris, and at the back they were sorely missing McAuley and D Wight.

There were cries of 'You don't know what you're doing' directed at Town manager Jim Magilton at Norris' early departure.

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Ipswich were forced into making changes following injuries to Gareth McAuley, Giovani Dos Santos and David Wright with Luca Civelli and Jon Walters already on the injured list.

Veliche Shumulikoski came in for his first league start of the year, Alex Bruce was back after four games and Owen Garvan after eight.

Jon Stead was up front and Alan Quinn in midfield against their former clubs while Moritz Volz had recovered from groin surgery to be named on the bench. Tommy Miller, who had been suffering from a dead leg, was substitute with keeper Richard Wright taking over as captain.

Stead and Alan Quinn were given good receptions when introduced over the PA system.

In the 17th minute Halford's long ball put Henderson clear with Wright rushing out to clear - Morgan heading the resultant corner across goal.

Two minutes later, former Colchester United player Halford found himself in space on the left of the goal and fired in a right-foot 22-yard shot that arrowed its way into the far corner of the goal - perfectly placed and just inside the post.

In the 27th minute Stead and Bruce got in each other's way in clearing a free-kick. Stead eventually poked the ball only as far as Naughton who curled in a cross from the right. Henderson climbed above Bruce and Balkestein to power a header wide of the diving Wright's stretching left hand.

It is now all United with a rout looking on the cards. S Quinn headed six inches wide when unmarked 18-yards out and Wright had to dive frantically to his left to tip away a goal-bound touchline effort from Cotterill.

The home side had spent part of the previous two-week international break in Malta resting playing golf and racing go-karts, and the trip had appeared to have done them good.

Keeper Kenny makes a fist of a 38th minute A Quinn cross, and Garvan had time to tee up a shot before shooting left-footed into the side netting.

Blades' fans were still jeering their team for misplaced passes, but they were too good for a poor Town side at the interval - with ironic cheers from visiting fans when A Quinn forced Kenny into a save after a neat passing movement.

This game will be the feature match for ITV's Championship programme tomorrow morning with the Blades looking to continue their good run and put pressure on the teams above them as they seek an automatic promotion place.

It will not make good viewing for Town fans with manager Jim Magilton surprisingly not making any interval alterations.

Wright saved from Henderson a minute before Counago and Haynes replaced Stead and Norris - with Town fans chanting 'You don't know what you are doing' at the effective Norris' removal.

The game looked done and dusted with Kenny not employed, but the Blades were not so dominant now with the pace having dropped. Town were still looking a disjointed and under par side. When Shumi lost possession, Ward had a great chance but shot wide from 20-yards in the 67th minute.

Ipswich came more into the game but could not manufacture a chance despite Kenny making a fist of dealing with a cross - and the ball bouncing around the six-yard box before being cleared.

Balkestein had a header pushed away by Kenny following a left wing corner and then saw a header cleared by a defender from the resultant second corner in the 82nd minute.

Teams

Sheffield United: Kenny; Naughton, Morgan, Kilgallon (sub Bromby 87 mins), Naysmith; Halford, Montgomery, S Quinn (O'Toole 75), Cotterill (Beattie 67); Ward, Henderson. Substitutes: Lupoli, Hendrie.

Ipswich Town: R Wright; Bruce, Campo (Volz 73), Balkestein, Thatcher; Norris (Haynes 55), Shumulikoski, Garvan, A Quinn; Stead (Haynes 55), Lisbie. Subs: Bialkowski, Miller.

Referee: Mr N Miller (Tyne and Wear)

Attendance: 25,315