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EIGHT MATCHES without defeat now for the Blades, and who would bet against them once more pulling off the escape that seems to come up as regularly as the flowers each spring?
After two successive victories, everything seemed to be coming up roses again for Dave Bassett when Paul Rogers rather fortuitously gave them a second-half lead. In the end, however, they were fortunate that Kevin Campbell's equaliser was all Arsenal had to show for their increasing domination of a scrappy game.
Sheffield began with the urgency their position in the relegation zone demanded, and frustrated Arsenal's attempts to pass the ball around in blustery conditions that hardly encouraged finesse. Despite the promptings of the inventive Eddie McGoldrick, who put Ray Parlour in with the best chance of the the first half, their three front-runners rarely troubled a United back four confidently marshalled by David Tuttle.
John Gannon's work-rate in midfield gave United plenty of possession but long balls aimed at the diminutive Adrian Littlejohn did him few favours against the towering Steve Bould and Tony Adams at the heart of Arsenal's defence, while Jostein Flo, who had the height and strength to match them, was constantly let down by his poor first touch.
Nevertheless, Littlejohn's pace gave United the best of the first-half openings. He spoiled a 30-yard run by shooting wide with Flo well placed for a pass, and Adams's last- ditch tackle foiled Flo when he got on the end of his striking partner's cross. When Littlejohn limped off after colliding with David Seaman as they competed for a through ball, the Blades lost much of their sharpness.
Yet they took the lead 10 minutes after the break when Roger Nilsen's long throw evaded everyone except Rogers, whose mis-hit shot struck a post and Bould before trickling over the line.
But the improving Arsenal posted immediate notice of a response when Ian Selley hit the upright from McGoldrick's cross and Ian Wright saw Simon Tracey save his header on the line.
But it was merely a stay of execution, Campbell rising at the near post to glance home McGoldrick's perfectly flighted corner in the 68th minute.
Sheffield United (4-4-2): Tracey; Bradshaw, Tuttle, Beesley, Nilsen; Hodges, Rogers, Gannon, Whitehouse; Flo, Littlejohn (Blake, 39). Substitutes not used: Hartfield, Bibbo (gk).
Arsenal (4-3-3): Seaman; Winterburn, Adams, Bould, Keown (Dixon, 79); Selley, Parlour, McGoldrick (Merson, 79); Smith, Campbell, Wright. Substitute not used: Miller (gk).
Referee: D Frampton (Poole).Reuse content