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05/06: Reports:

Football League Division Two, 17/09/05, 3.00pm
Sheffield United
Hard to beat
By Martin Blanc

The thing about lessons is you don't dwell on them. You take what you need and move on. On that basis, this report should be about four sentences long, of which this is already the third, which just leaves the following: if this game isn't a turning point in our season, then Betty "Adrian" Boothroyd truly will have made a difference to this club, been proven a "different" kind of manager, and be most worthy of a more expensive, better-fitting suit on matchdays in future.

Just to add a few thoughts: games that are as overhyped leading up to them as this one was are almost bound to start as drearily as this one did; 6' 3" is an splendidly unarguable height for a striker, and it allowed Henderson to atone for his chronic earlier miss and knock a header into the corner to open the scoring; Mackay was both stupid and unlucky tangling with Kozluk at 2-2; Carlisle was just unlucky with the own goal, and his late hack/tackle at Kozluk was very cathartic for all of us (cheers, Clarke); Fletcher looks a good loan signing, a more compact Gavin Mahon; tucked away in the programme was a feature on which teams had come back most to win games from being behind, and the Blades topped the chart, so it's not like someone at the club didn't know (and Warnock waving his 1-0 fingers at us no doubt reckoned we were tempting fate); having said that, we are still hard to beat, and in many respects contributed as much, if not more, than the opposition to our defeat; and Betty is clearly psychic, what with signing Sir Tom Finney a few days before King gets injured and Henderson's twinge returns after a longer than expected run-out (and only a few months after his 83rd birthday).

In which case (if you'll allow me a fifth sentence), we should be all right in the aftermath of this strenuous, aggravating afternoon - and, in a show of faith (lesson #2: you have to back your hunches), I can't help feeling that we probably will be.