Shaw returns to haunt Gillingham

Gillingham 1 - Sheffield United 3

A good piece of business for Sheffield United in January cost Gillingham dear here at the Priestfield stadium when Paul Shaw's two goals effectively condemned his former side to a sixth defeat in seven games.

A good piece of business for Sheffield United in January cost Gillingham dear here at the Priestfield stadium when Paul Shaw's two goals effectively condemned his former side to a sixth defeat in seven games.

Shaw was a snip at £75,000 when the Blades bought the striker in January, but his future seemed in doubt as he spent the first month of this season on loan with Rotherham.

But these two goals have now given Warnock a selection dilemma for the next game. In the more immediate term those strikes, his fifth and sixth of the campaign, lifted United seven places in the Championship to eighth. Gillingham, however, remain second from bottom and in dire trouble.

While they created a few chances, their solitary strike came from an own goal by Leigh Bromby and too late in the game to seriously panic United, although the visitors were down to 10 men for the last 17 minutes when their captain, Chris Morgan, was sent off for a second yellow card after an altercation with Darius Henderson.

Shaw was only given his chance against the club where he spent three-and-a-half years thanks to United's first-choice strikers Andy Gray and Ashley Ward being absent through suspension and injury respectively.

He took his first opportunity well when, with just nine minutes gone, from a Bromby throw-in and Morgan flick-on, he volleyed home at the far post. Soon after, Adam Nowland tested Paddy Kenny from 30 yards; but it was United who showed their opponents how to finish.

With almost an hour gone, Andy Liddell sent in a cross that Chris Hope should have dealt with, but instead teed up for Shaw six yards out.

Those goals had given the Blades a cushion they deserved on the balance of play and from a counter-attack, Alan Quinn passed to Michael Tonge, who found the top corner of Steve Banks' net to settle matters.

Goals: Shaw (9) 0-1; Shaw (59) 0-2; Tonge (71) 0-3; Bromby og (74) 1-3.

Gillingham (4-4-2): Banks; Nosworthy, Hope, Johnson, Southall; Crofts (Sidibe, 72), Hessenthaler (Robinson, 64), Nowland, Spiller; Henderson, Byfield (Agyemang, 64). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Cox.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kenny; Harley, Jagielka, Morgan, Bromby; Tonge (Montgomery, 81), Quinn, Thirlwell, Liddell; Shaw (Lester, 85), Cadamarteri (Gabrieli, 76). Substitutes not used: Barnes (gk), Forte.

Referee: P Armstrong (Berkshire).

Booked: Gillingham: Hessenthaler; Sheffield United: Morgan.

Man of the match: Shaw.

Attendance: 6,964.

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