A late goal from Joe Cheeseman sealed a fine comeback from Sheffield United U21s to defeat Bradford (Park Avenue) at the Horsfall Stadium.
The Avenue took an early lead through Nathan Hotte’s left-footed effort. Then, the hosts extended their advantage as Chib Chilaka collected a superb through-ball from Matty James and slotted home from 12 yards. Before the break, Otis Khan tapped in the rebound after seeing his initial penalty saved by Jon Maxted. After half time, the Blades equalised after a fine attacking move ended with Khan’s side-footed effort nestling into the bottom corner. With the final whistle approaching, the Avenue failed to clear away a corner and substitute Joe Cheeseman nodded the ball past Tom Morgan from close range.
The Avenue started well and broke the deadlock inside the opening ten minutes. A deep cross from right-back Grant Black was met by Paul Walker at the far post. The winger headed the ball into the ground forcing George Willis into a fine save. From the rebound, Walker spotted the run of midfielder Hotte, and guided the ball into the bottom corner.
Shortly after the opening goal, the home side came close to doubling their lead. Hotte received possession outside the penalty area and after taking a touch out of his feet, the midfielder fired a right-footed effort wide from 20 yards.
Despite trailing, the young Blades’ outfit created opportunities to equal the scoreline. But a header from CJ Hamilton and efforts from midfielder Joel Coustrain and striker Daniel Cockerline failed to find the net.
And, the Conference North outfit extended their advantage. Matty James slipped the ball past his marker and then picked out the run of Chilaka. The striker took one touch before slotting the ball home.
Quickly after the second goal, Chris Morgan’s side reduced the deficit. From a corner, Ioan Evans went down inside the box and the referee blew his whistle to signal a penalty. From the penalty spot, Khan fired a right-footed shot which was initially saved by Maxted, but the striker tapped in the rebound.
After the break, John Deacey made changes to his squad and saw his side nearly add a third goal. However, Ryan Qualter saw a header fly wide of the post and a close range shot, somehow, blocked on the line by the stubborn Blades defence.
At the opposite end of the pitch, the away side equalised. A quick flowing move saw the impressive Coustrain pick out Hamilton and his lay-off to Khan was converted into the bottom corner.
A winning fightback from the Blades was confirmed as they scored the vital third goal. A corner caused problems amongst the Bradford defence and despite a superb block from Chris Howarth on the line, the Avenue failed to clear the danger and Cheeseman nodded home to seal victory.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Maxted (Morgan), Black (Howarth), Drury, Kerr, Qualter, Mallory (Hewitt), James (Colbeck), Hotte, Chilaka (Miller), Turner (Marshall), Walker.
Subs all used.
Scorers: Hotte, Chilaka.
Sheffield United U21s: Willis, Pailing (Wright), Kedman, Whiteman, Banton, Evans, Coustrain, (Hinchcliffe), Dimaio, Cockerline (Dallas), Khan, Hamilton (Cheeseman)
Sub not used: Ramsdale
Scorers: Khan (x2), Cheeseman.