Kendall awaits first win

Sheffield United 1 Birmingham City 1

PHIL ANDREWS

Sheffield United 1 Birmingham City 1

Howard Kendall's arrival at Bramall Lane was heralded by Sheffield United's new chairman, Mike McDonald, as the start of a new golden era. Three consecutive draws is not exactly the Midas Touch, but at least Kendall has shown that he knows something about added value.

One of his first deals was to sell the Blades' leading scorer, Nathan Blake, to Bolton in exchange for Mark Patterson and about pounds 1m. Patterson scored on his debut at Stoke, and his second goal yesterday meant that United's biggest crowd of the season, drawn to Kendall's first home game in charge, did not go home with Christmas spirit dampened.

But a golden future implies Premiership football and neither United nor the equally ambitious Birmingham showed much evidence that they were ready for that sort of company. Both sides put too many passes astray, while the Blades' continuing fondness for the long ball showed that old habits learned under Dave Bassett die hard. Birmingham's lack of a winger meant Kevin Francis, their 6ft 7in striker, was starved of service in the air.

In the event, his height played no part in Birmingham's goal. Ian Richardson found Steve Claridge, who drew both goalkeeper Alan Kelly and Francis' marker, Scott Fitzgerald, before slipping the ball between them for Francis to tap in from two yards.

Had the Blades been sharper, they would not have found themselves chasing the game. David White had a shot smothered by Ian Bennett, David Tuttle narrowly failed to turn in White's flick-on from Mitch Ward's corner, and Richardson's back-header brought the best save of the match out of his own goalkeeper, but his relief was short-lived. From another corner, he could clear only as far as Patterson, whose header from the edge of the penalty area flew into the top right hand corner.

"They were the better side in the first half," Barry Fry, Birmingham's manager, said. "We were lucky to go in front and they deserved their equaliser."

Fry, who has used 33 different players in his side this season, knows when to ring the changes. He brought on substitute Louie Donowa at half- time, and had his finishing matched his pace and penetration, Birmingham might have stolen it. He shot across the face of goal and also into the side-netting when in good positions. In fact, Fitzgerald came just as close when he almost turned one of Donowa's crosses into his own net.

In the end, it was United who came closest to victory, Ward hitting the bar and Phil Starbuck seeing his header from the rebound saved by Bennett.

Kendall, although delighted by a three-match unbeaten start, said: "In our position we must begin picking up all three points."

Fry said: "I was disappointed with the way we played. We will never win the championship with the side that was out there today."

Look out for more team changes at St Andrew's.

Goals: Francis (27) 0-1; Patterson (42) 1-1.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kelly; Rogers, Tuttle, Fitzgerald, Nilsen; Ward, Gannon (Heath, 73), Patterson, Hodges; Starbuck (Foran, 86), White. Substitutes not used: Tracey (gk).

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Bennett; Forsyth, Edwards, Daish, Frain; Hunt, Hill (Donowa, h-t), Richardson (Rushfeldt, 60), Preece; Claridge, Francis (Castle, 60).

Referee: I Cruikshanks (Hartlepool).

Bookings: Birmingham: Hunt.

Man of the Match: Patterson.

Attendance: 17,668.

News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine