Cresswell spares Blades' blushes
Richard Cresswell's first goal for Sheff Utd earned his new club a 1-1 draw in the derby at home to Doncaster.
Last Updated: 03/10/09 5:52pm
Richard Cresswell's first goal for Sheffield United earned his new club a 1-1 draw in the local derby at home to Doncaster Rovers.
The visitors appeared on course to claim a surprise three points at Bramall Lane when James Hayter scored late in the first half.
However, the Blades salvaged a point in the 65th minute when Cresswell, who joined on loan from Stoke City earlier in the week, headed home.
Rovers have now drawn eight of their 11 Championship matches this season and still languish at the wrong end of the table, while Kevin Blackwell's promotion hopefuls are without a win in their last three league encounters.
The Blades made four changes to the side that started in the midweek home draw with Ipswich.
Cresswell, Glen Little and Jordan Stewart were all handed their full home league debuts, while Andrew Davies returned to partner skipper Chris Morgan in central defence.
Doncaster, unsettled all season due to injury and suspension, made three changes, with James O'Connor, Jason Shackell and Byron Webster called into the starting line-up.
The opening stages saw the usual meaty challenges expected of a local derby and, compounded by all the new faces in either line-up, the first period was short on rhythm or incident.
An errant elbow flattened Rovers defender Webster in his own penalty area and required several minutes' treatment, Neil Sullivan instinctively denied Cresswell with a smart reflex save and Hayter gave Rovers the edge with a clinical finish.
Rovers striker Shiels had raced clear in the opening minute, only to fire straight at home goalkeeper Bunn, while Ched Evans skewed his effort wide at the other end following left-back Stewart's excellent cross.
Rovers had further reshuffling to do in the 38th minute when midfielder Mark Wilson limped off and was replaced by Gareth Roberts.
But the visitors broke the stalemate in the 44th minute when Shiels ran at the Blades defence and played in Hayter, who retained his composure under pressure to fire under Bunn.
Moments later Cresswell raced on to Henderson's ball inside the area, but his snap-shot was turned away in fine style by Sullivan.
Ryan France replaced Blades midfielder Nick Montgomery at half-time and after plenty of huffing and puffing the Blades almost equalised in the 58th minute when Evans' angled drive from Little's curling cross fizzed narrowly wide.
But by then the murmurings of discontent in a crowd of 26,211 could already be heard as the Blades laboured away.
Then a moment of class from Little appeased the frustrated home faithful.
The former Reading and Burnley winger at last beat Rovers left-back Chambers and delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post where Cresswell charged in to head home in the 65th minute.
Seven minutes later Henderson's header from another Little cross thundered against the crossbar.
Late Blades substitute David Cotterill gave the Blades an edge out wide, but Rovers held firm for another deserved point.