Kendall awaits first win
Sheffield United 1 Birmingham City 1
Wednesday 27 December 1995
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.
Latest in Sport
Wilfried Zaha grabs rare opportunity to impress new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez close to exit as Atletico Madrid admit interest
Calum Chambers joins Arsenal: New £16m signing put through Arsenal initiation as he sings The Kooks in front of team-mates
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Thomas Vermaelen and Daley Blind on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
Seydou Keita refuses Pepe handshake before throwing water bottle prior to Roma vs Real Madrid match
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Qualified and experi...
£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Exceptional teacher ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be part ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are currently recruitin...