Another 45 games to go, and you’ll be unlucky if you see a worse half of football this season than the opening period of this match. But the second half delivered, with both teams contributing to the entertainment. Sheffield United were solid for the most part, and scored a well-worked goal through George Baldock. But while Swansea took an awfully long time to get going, they had the two most potent attackers on show, in Barrie McKay and the substitute Jefferson Montero. That pair would trouble any team in this division, and they ended up causing United all sorts of bother, turning the match around with their skilful dribbles. Yan Dhanda’s debut goal, scored less than 30 seconds after he came on, was the cherry on the cake of a good first day at the office for Graham Potter.
FULL TIME: Sheffield United 1-2 Swansea City
But Swansea hold on, and it’s a dream debut for Graham Potter!
90 min +3: Sharp races down the right and hooks into the centre. Van der Hoorn clears. Duffy tries from the other flank. Fernandez clears. Montero is sent scampering into space down the left, on the counter. He looks for McKay in the centre, which allows Henderson to claim and launch one Hail Mary attack.
90 min +2: Sharp tries to control a cross from Stevens on the right. It clanks out for a goal kick. He explodes in anger, demanding a corner that isn’t going to come. “Just catching up. Dundee United circa 2013? Sob!!! I’m like Andy Murray in Washington here.” He’s left it late. But I knew I’d smoke out Simon McMahon with that line.
89 min: The corner isn’t anything to write home about. Bramall Lane groans as one. Barring the travelling section belting out their Hymns and Arias, of course.
88 min: Baldock curls a cross in from the right. The ball clanks into an unsighted Roberts, and nearly flies into the top right! Nordfeldt paws it away for a corner.
87 min: United respond to that blow by replacing Basham with Duffy.
GOAL! Sheffield United 1-2 Swansea City (Dhanda 86)
Montero tears down the left again, reaches the byline, and finds McKay with another looping cross. McKay brings the ball down and cuts inside to shoot. He’d score, but he’s brought down clumsily by O’Connell. It would be a penalty, but the ball breaks to Dhanda, who has been on the pitch a matter of seconds. And he slams it into the net!
85 min: Dhanda replaces Fulton. And this is some substitution, because …
83 min: McKay has been Swansea’s bright spark up front all right. Now he rattles the crossbar! Montero makes good down the left and crosses deep. McKay chests down, cuts across the ball, and sends a curler towards the top left. Henderson is beaten, but the woodwork saves the day for Sheffield United!
82 min: Woodburn drifts in from the left, and lifts long, looking for Sharp. The ball bounces through to Nordfeldt, and rears up while doing so; the Swansea keeper does very well to claim the ball on his line.
80 min: As Baldock punishes himself by punching his own hand, Lundstram is replaced by Sharp.
79 min: Montero dribbles down the left in the baroque style. Baldock gets in the way, and tries to usher the ball out for a goal kick. But Montero battles his way round the defender, and he’s making his way along the byline! He lifts a cross towards McBurnie, who tries to gently help the ball into the bottom right with a deft header. Henderson’s beaten, but the ball agonisingly drifts wide of the right-hand post.
77 min: United have obviously decided to twist. A corner down the left, which leads to nothing. But they’re on the front foot again, having momentarily had the wind taken out of their sails by McBurnie’s equaliser.
76 min: Evans, deep on the right, magic-wands a delicious low cross towards Clarke, coming in towards the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. But the striker can’t quite connect.
75 min: Both teams take turns to stroke it around slowly at the back. Time for a breather, and to decide whether to stick or twist.
GOAL! Sheffield United 1-1 Swansea City (McBurnie 71)
McKay has been Swansea’s most potent attacker. He drives down the inside right, and one-twos with McBurnie. Suddenly he’s in the area, on the penalty spot, clean through! McGoldrick tries to toe the ball away, but only succeeds in sending it towards the bottom right. Henderson saves brilliantly, but can only parry the ball to McBurnie, who slams home from close range and disappears in a glorious bundle of fans behind the goal.
68 min: He has now! McKay jinks in from the right and chips towards Fulton, who tries to eyebrow the ball over Henderson and into the top left. It’s going in, but Henderson arcs his back and tips over the crossbar. What a save!
66 min: Swansea ping it around, 30 yards from the United goal. But the hosts are holding their shape well. There’s nothing doing for them in the middle. The young keeper Henderson, who looked nervous in the early exchanges of his debut, hasn’t been tested at all.
64 min: It’s kind of absurd to say, given how the first 50-odd minutes of this match had gone. But that had been coming! Swansea respond by hooking Asoro and sending on Montero.
GOAL! Sheffield United 1-0 Swansea City (Baldock 62)
This is a lovely goal! Fleck slips a pass down the inside-left channel to Stevens, who pulls one back from the byline. To the left of the D, Baldock meets the ball first time, sidefooting gloriously into the bottom left!
60 min: Suddenly we’ve got a game! Carroll glides in from the right and unleashes a rising shot that isn’t far away from the top left at all! Somewhere, in a parallel universe, four goals have been scored in the last seven minutes.
59 min: From a Swansea throw, Lundstram intercepts, one-twos with McGoldrick, then shanks a dreadful effort wide right with the goal begging.
58 min: Swansea ping it around nicely in the Martinez-Rodgers style. But then Celina plays a loose one to McGoldrick, who races towards the Swansea box. McGoldrick opens his body and tries to fashion a low curler into the bottom left. He beats Nordfeldt, but he’s also set the ball too far wide, and it flies past the post.
56 min: Swansea pin United back for a couple of minutes. Some pretty passes back and forth, this way and that across the front of the United box. But there’s no way to prise open some space in the middle. The hosts hold firm.
54 min: Baldock wedges a pass down the inside-left channel for Clarke, who enters the box and tries to dribble inside, where he hopes to shoot. But the ball doesn’t stick to his boot.
53 min: United stroke it around the back awhile. Then Evans gives it away in the midfield. McKay whizzes down the left. He’s in on goal, but opts to roll a pass across for Asoro, who takes a touch and sees his eventual shot blocked at source by O’Connell.
50 min: Clarke and van der Hoorn collide in the midfield, as the pair challenge for a high ball. There’s some rolling about. Other than that, nothing is happening.
48 min: We begin again where we left off. It’s very, very scrappy. Celina bursts down the left but clips the heel of Egan, who falls on his face while conceding a corner. But Swansea won’t get the set piece because United get the foul.
46 min: McKay tears down the left and zips past a static Egan. He enters the box but O’Connell comes over at pace. McKay panics, and toe-pokes the ball out of play for a goal kick. A promising run, though.
And we’re off again! No changes. United get the ball rolling for the second half.
Half-time reading: Today’s Football League round-up, for your pleasure.
HALF TIME: Sheffield United 0-0 Swansea City
It’s going to be a long season if they keep this up.
45 min: From a throw-in on the left, needlessly conceded by Henderson, Swansea fashion a half-chance. The ball’s sent in from the wing by Olsson. Asoro brings it down and pokes goalwards; Egan clears off the line. But Asoro had handled, so it matters not.
44 min: McKay and Olsson combine nicely down the left. The latter looks for McBurnie in the middle. Nope. McBurnie has been a virtual spectator.
42 min: McGoldrick drops deep and takes a run at Swansea. His rising shot from distance is deflected out for a corner; there’s a suggestion that had it not been, Nordfeldt could have been in a world of trouble, his feet planted. United unlucky. The resulting corner is a waste of time.
41 min: Evans blooters a shot high into the stand behind the Swansea goal. Then up the other end, Roberts crosses from the right, sending the ball into the stand on the left. Dearie me.
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