With the exception of the Jean-Francois Lescinel Christmas Special, Sheffield United filed a solid report card across the piece.
Simonsen 7/10 – Had relatively little to do but what he did he coped with. He made one good save in the first half at a key time when the game was 0-0. He then made saved a low shots in the second half including one that took a deflection. The only gripe was his kicking, which was again quite poor.
Lowton 7/10 – A decent performance. He did not seem to have a winger against him much of the game due to Rochdale’s formation and utilised the space in front of him by bombing forward at every opportunity. His crosses were mixed but he used the ball well and showed good control and link play with some neat one-twos.
Francois 4/10 – One of those days. He has been out of the team for a relatively long time, but to say he looked ring rusty is an understatement; at times it was pure comedy, so many things did he get wrong in such a short space of time. He did, however, put in an excellent cross for the crucial second goal. He had a good start to the season, looking athletic and aggressive but then went off the boil, and now Williams looks a much better player, despite the Reading loanee himself being quite poor in recent weeks. The way things are going, Andy Taylor might get a game soon.
Maguire 7/10 – A solid game, a few daft fouls and a couple of extravagant diagonal balls notwithstanding. He defended well, doing the basics and playing the percentages when under pressure. When he could use the ball he did do and came out of defence on a few occasions.
Collins 8/10 – Another very good performance, in which he defended with the minimum of fuss, was tight to his man and was disciplined from start to finish.
Doyle 7/10 – Did okay. He played a few poor balls early on but he used it better as the game went on and was always an option. He always shows for the ball and tries to get into space. His tackling and harrying was good again. He is never going to impress most United fans, as he has little skill and lacks pace and creativity, but we have started to win games since he has been back.
McDonald 8/10 – The stand-out player on the field in the first half and was one of the few who could get on the ball and use it sensibly. He always seemed to be able to make space for himself. Played some nice passes, both long and short. Faded a bit as the game went on, but at least he lasted for almost the full game. He definitely gives us something different and is excellent on the ball. Against better teams with more mobile midfielders he may not have as much of an influence, but at home against most teams at this level he should stand out.
Williamson 7/10 – A frustrating player that clearly has more ability than most of the opponents he faces at this level but also thinks he is better than he is. When he works hard and does the basics, such as covering for Lowton, the other things seem to come off for him.
Quinn 7/10 – A mixed performance. Some decent bits of play but then a few misplaced passes and balls where once again he seemed to blame everyone but himself. At times he still looks a class act but he needs to be a little less wasteful in possession.
Evans 8/10 – He was the best player on the pitch for maybe the fourth week in succession. He scored a well-taken first and another excellent free-kick, but his work rate and chasing down of defenders was very good again. We must be concerned that teams in the Championship may come in for him, but if he stays, what havoc might a Ched Evans-James Beattie partnership wreak on this division?
Cresswell 7/10 – He put a shift in again, though he often seemed to be at full stretch due to his lack of pace and mobility. Credit is due, however, as he held the ball up and linked better. Scored one goal when he got in front of the keeper and ought to have had another when he had one kicked off the line with the net gaping.
Flynn – n/a
Porter – n/a
Montgomery – n/a