Macclesfield Town 0-4 Sheffield United (Pre-season Friendly)
Two games in two days makes for lots and lots of reviewy goodness. Second pre-season outing at Moss Rose for me and it was yet again versus tough League One opposition. This time, in the form of Sheff United, we would be facing our toughest opponents yet and following a 0-0 with Rochdale and a narrow 0-1 defeat against Bury we would need to be at our best to stand any chance. We had (finally) got off the mark with two goals against Stockport County in a 2-1 win, but this would be a whole different type of challenge. The Blades had just managed a 2-2 against Premier League side Newcastle in their last game- and following the re-signing of club idol Billy Sharp, they would be in the mood to show just why many are calling them favourites for promotion to the Championship this year.
Fresh from yesterday's trip to Vale I arrived nice and early in Macclesfield for a pre-match pub-crawl with some of the lads I know from Stafford. Proper, old-fashioned Yorkshire men was the best description- two Sheff United fans, one Man United fan, one Barnsley fan. When I arrived I was greeted by one of the guys with "oh no, he's wearing his Macclesfield top." which was followed by "Go on then, what you having?" Ahh good, an insult followed by a free pint.
|Duh, duh, duh, duh, pre-match pub-crawl.|
|Stafford Rangers won the FA Trophy in 1971-72 and they never looked back, or forwards.|
|The Blades out in full force.|
|Half Time, 0-2 down and looking out for a silver lining.|
10 days until the season starts and from 5 and a half friendlies so far the stats make for worse reading than some of the performances. 6 Played- 1 Win, 2 Draws, 3 Defeats, 2 Scored, 7 Conceded. We have, however, only played one team who are at a similar stature to ourselves (Stockport) and did beat them- and we had looked good against Rochdale and slumped to an unlucky defeat against Bury, so who knows, perhaps a good season could be on the cards. Today's "Pint of Football Moment" in the pre-season programme was another classic from the "10 things you didn't know about..." section. According to fact 9, "Former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron admitted in 2003 that he dreamed of playing for Sheffield United when he was younger."
|Some say he only joined United so that he could be scouted by the Blades.|
As it stood the Blades looked more than comfortable without the use of Juan, so I took my seat to see how the second half would play out. Having watched Campbell-Ryce go off just before half-time, I was hoping the midfield would be less dominant- how wrong I was. After 15 minutes of good play it was the substitute Che Adams who struck a third for Sheff United. Macc 0-3 Blades. As with previous friendlies I've attended, the majority of the second half was filled with subs and people going to the loo. This proved to be merely an interlude tonight between Adams's second and first goals. He shrugged off Halls and slotted in the penultimate goal of the game with ten minutes to go. Macc 0-4 Blades.
|The fans put on that familiar brave face as the fourth goal finished the game.|
Full Time followed shortly, Macc 0-4 Blades. I don't know why I was disappointed, as we played ok and Sheffield United are clearly the best team that we've played in pre-season. I shared a look with the fans which suggested we could've kept the game a bit closer and I think that were this an FA Cup tie we would never have let it be as one-sided. We looked to get a goal, when possible, and in the end that killed us as the League One side showed superior fitness and pedigree. The 500+ away fans will head back to Sheffield very happy and I would rejoin with the lads. Expecting to receive some mockery from the winning fan I asked him what I thought of the game, to which he replied, "Yeah, it was alright. Decent run out." I think he was perhaps underwhelmed by the game and I doubt it will feature in his top 100 Blades away days. He swiftly suggested we move on to the final pub before the train, see you on Saturday Moss Rose.