Sheffield United started their pre-season preparations with a victory after beating their sister club FerencvÃ¡ros 3-2 last night. A second-half winner from Billy Sharp added to a Danny Webber brace as The Blades cemented their good relations with Fradi in downtown Budapest.
In front of around 4,000 fans in the Stadion Albert FlÃ³riÃ¡n, Kevin Blackwell fielded a strong team and handed a debut to loan signing Greg Halford. Fellow summer signing Sun Jihai didnâ€™t feature, but is expected to play when United move on to Belgium and Holland later this week.
Webber was making his return in a Blades shirt after missing a large part of last season with injury, and he wasted no time reminding the travelling Sheffield contingent of his talents by opening the scoring inside two minutes. After a fortunate deflection off the referee, Webber rounded the home goalkeeper and slotted the ball past Ivorian defender SÃ©kou Tidiane Souare on the line.
Just eight minutes later, Webber doubled his tally and put United two goals up. After another mistake in the Fradi defence, from former Chengdu Blades defender Souare, the former Watford man put himself firmly in Blackwellâ€™s thoughts by slotting the ball home via the underside of the crossbar. The two goal deficit woke up the home side, who halved Unitedâ€™s advantage and pulled a goal back through Csiszar on 29 minutes, heading home a curling free kick.
Another former Blade, Paul Shaw, then came close to equalising for the hosts, forcing Paddy Kenny into a smart save from inside the area. The half time whistle signalled a mass of substitutions for both sides, with Blackwell making six changes, but one player in the starting eleven, Jon Stead, had a great chance to restore Unitedâ€™s two-goal advantage but couldnâ€™t capitalise after finding himself well clear, firing wide of goal.
Billy Sharpâ€™s predatory instincts brought United a two goal cushion ten minutes from time. After Lee Hendrieâ€™s effort had been parried by the home sideâ€™s substitute goalkeeper, Sharp was on hand to bury the rebound and put his name on the scoresheet. He was soon joined by another ex-Chengdu Blades player, Kourouma Mohamed Lamine, whose audacious effort beat Kenny and went in off the post to ensure a tense finish. Blades loanee Matthew Bartholomew came close to snatching an equaliser but Kenny was equal to the effort, tipping it over his crossbar, and United managed to hold out against increasing pressure to record their first win of the season.
Ferencvaros: Michael-Williams, Fulop, Szkukalek, Shaw, Fitos, Csiszar, Souare, Ashmore, Abdi, Bamba, Diaz.
Subs (all at half-time): Holczer, Dragoner, Baranyai, Nagy, Bartha, Downing, Lipcsei, Bartholomew, Toth, Wolfe, Lamine.
Blades: Kenny, Naysmith (Armstrong 45), Morgan, Stead, Webber (Sharp 45), Hendrie, Speed (Quinn 45), Tonge (Montgomery 45), Gillespie (Naughton 68), Geary (Halford 45), Ehiogu (Kilgallon 45).
Unused: Bennett, Hulse, Sun Jihai, Carney.
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