Stuart Beavon was the North End hero as North End claimed their first win at Bramall Lane since 1978 with a 1-0 win over David Weir’s Sheffield United and remain unbeaten in League One.
The goal came with 18 minutes to go when Kevin Davies took the ball off Matt Hill and played in Beavon, who finished with aplomb in front of the North End faithful.,
North End went into the game with an unchanged 18 for the first time this season, but were under the coash for much of the first half hour at Bramall Lane.
Recent signing Jose Baxter was the first to show the Blades’ attacking intent with a low shot, six minutes in, that Declan Rudd had to get down low to his left to claim.
Five minutes later the on loan custodian was again the man key to North End’s parity, this time making an excellent fingertip save to deny full back Tony McMahon from a 25 yard free kick in a central position, Rudd tipping the ball round the post from a similar spot he had held Baxter’s earlier effort.
As the half went on North End’s midfield started to press higher up the field and this led to more and more possession for the yellow-clad Lilywhites. Their first corner of the game came 26 minutes in and Iain Hume’s left wing corner glided through a crowd of players inside the six yard box, any touch likely to put it in, but somehow evading everyone.
Just after the half hour mark the home side England U20 stopper George Long almost gave Kevin Davies a gilt edge chance with short roll out towards former PNE player of the year Matty Hill; Davies cut it off, but couldn’t get enough power onto his lob and Long recovered to claim.
It didn’t take them long in the second half to waken up though as, playing towards the 1,000 plus North End fans in the Jessica Ennis Stand, the yellows started to press.
However, the Blades were also still a threat and Tom Clarke needed to make a superb tackle on the hour mark to deny Florent Cuvelier after Scott Laird’s long cross field ball had been cut out by Marlon Kind in the middle of the pitch.
And the red and whites thought they should have had a penalty just four minutes later when Brady’s shot was deflected behind for a corner off Bailey Wright, but referee Fred Graham only pointed for a corner.
But midway through the half the yellows had the lead. Matt Hill was dispossessed on the Blades left by Kevin Davies on the right hand side of the box, Davies pulled it back to Stuart Beavon, who calmly pulled the ball back and coolly slotted past George Long into the bottom right hand corner.
A worrying sight for North End fans with less than ten minutes left when Scott Laird went down under a heavy challenge from Doyle, but eventually he was able to return to the action.
Four minutes was added on, but North End held on for their first win at Bramall Lane since 1978.
: Rudd, Humphrey, Laird, Clarke, Wright, Huntington, Keane, Byrom, Hume (Holmes, 75), K Davies, Beavon (Garner, 85). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Wroe, Buchanan, Welsh, Mousinho.PNE line-up
: Long, Hall (Taylor, 72), Maguire, Hill, Doyle (McGinn, 90), Baxter, Collins, Cuvelier, King, Brandy (Westlake, 79), McMahon. Subs not used: Howard, Coady, McGinty, Ironside.Sheffield United line-up
: 16,319 (1,088 away fans)Attendance
: Mr F GrahamReferee