Monday, 13 August 2018

Game by Game - 7

SkyBet Championship, QPR (A), 1-2
We welcome Jon Bradley back to A United View, for his take on an away day in West London, having taken a slightly different route there than most Blades And a slightly drier one.
A London away day so early in the season was an unexpected bonus when the fixtures were released. 
Trains were booked, pubs were identified and the inevitable 'my train is earlier than your train' jibes between the drinkers amongst us were exchanged.  Not for me though as I was up at 5:00am to drive from St. Ives, following a family holiday, to Bristol where I would get the train in to meet up with my mates in the capital.  The train journey was smooth as were the 180 miles from Cornwall to Bristol, the bump in the road arrived when I decided to order some beer on the train.
“What beers do you have?” I eagerly asked the kind lady pushing the trolley.  This was greeted with a sharp draw of breath and a quite abrupt “what would you like? I don’t like to encourage it usually, at this time of the day." It was 10:10am, yes a little early, however, I had every faith my friends from Sheffield had been sipping the amber nectar at much more of a witching hour!  “Any lager” was my response, “I will fetch them you soon.”  40 minutes later and my day had really kicked into second gear when 2 cans of Kronenberg turned up.  Viva la France.
Once in Paddington, I made my way on the tube to Hammersmith and took up position with friends in Wetherspoons.  The app took a hammering as I made my way through some beers with mates before descending on Loftus Road.  A grand old stadium Loftus Road is and when United took to the field, after an unnecessary argument about someone being sat in my seat, I was genuinely pumped up.
The Blades started with a degree of energy which had been absent in the previous two outings.  Returns of three old favourites and Stearman made us instantly look like a Wilder side.  Freeman and Duffy particularly showing things which have been absent prior to this game.  Despite all the effort, United found themselves behind after some last-ditch defending. A prolonged spell of QPR dominance and the ball fell on the edge of the box to Eze who smashed it home past Henderson.
Groans and infighting filled the upper tier near where we were sat.  One gentleman in particular must have had a run in with Leon Clarke because the way he was going on anyone would have thought that poor Leon invaded Poland in 1939!  Nevertheless, United made the breakthrough when three of the returning players combined.  Duffy to Freeman to Sharp to 1-1.  Easy.
Despite the equaliser, I went down at halftime pretty angry at my fellow supporters.  You pay your money you can shout what you want, but I couldn't help but feel that the atmosphere in the stand was pretty toxic.  Considering what has happened in the last few years in and around the club it really shouldn't be.  As I exchanged pleasantries with Blades mates it became apparent they shared this view.  I mean there are two drivers here.
Firstly, the digital age allows us all to access information, statistics or footage to inform and base opinions on.  I mean I am sat here writing an article, as a fan, for a mate, for other fans to read.  Why?  Its a bit of fun and someone will enjoy it, I hope.  This era though also allows for nonsense throwaway comments to be tweeted or used as fact by fans.  My favourite last week was someone kicking off that we hadn't got a Man City striker on loan who had gone to Preston, I can't even remember the loanees' name.
Secondly, which is almost worse, is the "I am a bigger Blade than you" bollocks which goes on when things aren't going so well.  Which in its own twisted way is full of arrogance and entitlement which isn't necessary nor productive.  If you've been to every game for 20 years and seen the reserves away at Exeter on a Tuesday, stood on your own, in December, in the rain, then good for you. But it doesn't mean that you know more than @bladex4lyf4eva.
We are supporters and we all see the game differently.  We should, however, all be able to look at the game differently without throwing vitriolic negativity at our players, who for 24 months have made us as proud as any set fo supporter in the land.  Anyway, I had a cider, it was shite.
The second half started as both teams pressed to seek an advantage.  It was a nervy affair with a few good Henderson saves being the highlight from a Blades point of view.  Then, in the 65th minute, the substitute McGoldrick was flattened by two of the hosts and a penalty was awarded.  McGoldrick took it upon himself to rifle the ball home.
United introduced Leonard late on for McGoldrick who had a dead leg.  They managed to control the game to its conclusion by any means necessary.  Leonard went close late on, but the game finished 2-1.  Wilder led the players to the away end for an exchange of pleasantries.  Dean Henderson looked like a boy on Christmas morning as he joined in the singing with the away following.
Wilder pushed Sharp towards the away end for some personal recognition, something echoed in his post-match interview.  As we all made our way home, delighted that United had some points on the board, it's fair to say the gaffer was equally pleased.  Particularly me, who knew that I could have a beer on the way home without judgement and that sometimes just being a fan is pretty fun.
Three final thoughts:
Dean Henderson - the kid oozes quality and if he continues to behave like that when we win he will become a fan favourite in no time.
Cautious optimism - United beat a poor QPR team but a little confidence can go a long way with this bunch of players.
He's not the messiah... - Duffy did help United towards the victory, however, whether or not we need can pin our hope on him doing it in the remaining 42 games remains to be seen.  Along with Freeman and Sharp though on this occasion, they did make the difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment