Neill Collins and Kevin McDonald stood out in the Blades' win against the Magpies.
Lowton 7/10 – Played very well from an attacking point of view. He got up and down and had a few great runs. Nearly scored after a dribble inside in the first half and then also was involved in many of our better attacks in the second half.
Francois 7/10 – He was sound: he showed good strength, excellent heading ability and did what he had to. He also got forward when he could but a couple of dreadful crosses were frustrating after he did the hard work. However, his annoying habit of making stupid mistakes nearly cost the team. If he can cut these out, he may be better than Williams, making the permanent signing of the Reading man unnecessary.
Maguire 7/10 – Solid enough. He has quietly got back to some of the standards he set earlier in the season by doing the basics and not trying to be too clever. Facing an experienced pairing in Burgess and Hughes, he did well and was unlucky for their goal. He kept going and got on top more and more as the game went on. Assisted on the first goal.
Collins 8/10 – Another solid performance in which he cleared and defended everything consistently all game. He won probably around 80% of the balls against Hughes and Burgess that came his way and got stronger as the game went on. He has had an excellent season so far and his standards have been consistently good.
Doyle 7/10 – Gradually he started to get his foot in and made more and more interceptions. His passing was better - mostly to the nearest man - and he did not try to do things he can’t.
McDonald 8/10 – Excellent from 10-15 minutes in until around about the hour mark and for that period he was one of the better players on the pitch and our most creative force. He began slowly as Hughes and Bishop imposed their physical play onto United but gradually he got on the ball more and more and started to show his range of passing and control. A very sensible and intelligent player who really shows he should be playing much higher. The reason he isn’t, of course, is because he rarely does it week in, week out and struggles to do it for a full game.
Flynn 7/10 – Showed some flashes once again even if he was not quite as involved as perhaps he would have liked but he is an intelligent, neat and tidy player, though he lacks strength and pace. Took his goal really well, anticipating the cross and getting across his man.
Quinn 7/10 – A bit of a mixed bag. He looked very good on the ball at times and also made space for a few crosses. Combined well with Evans, Lowton and Cresswell to create chances but all too often he tried to be too clever instead of doing the basics. Like Flynn, he did not get back enough to help out.
Evans 7/10 – Worked hard even though he had a rare game without scoring. Hit the post with an instinctive finish and maybe could have done better with a chance in the first half after a nice move. He really did put a shift in though. It will be interesting to see him and Beattie together.
Cresswell 7/10 – His effort was phenomenal at times. Clearly his legs have almost gone and he is so slow it is painful to watch but he made up for it with a willingness to chase everything, intelligent holdup play and all-round experience. Perhaps should have come off 10 minutes earlier.
Ertl – Came on for his defensive presence in midfield. He is a useful utility player to have and will be a handy player to have around for the second half of the season.
Beattie –Not on for long but his introduction certainly lifted the crowd. He won a header, showed nice control to bring a ball down and play in a team-mate and won a free-kick.
Montgomery – Been out of the team for a while due to illness/personal matters but Doyle and McDonald have done well so he probably will have to wait for his chance.