Shaw inspires Blades win
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: 17/10/04 2:50pm
Paul Shaw inspired Sheffield United to a 3-1 victory against his former side Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium.
Shaw scored a brace and played a part in a fine third for Michael Tonge, before Chris Morgan's dismissal sparked a mini revival for the hosts.
The Blades defender was shown a second yellow card for a stupid clash with Darius Henderson, and a minute later Leigh Bromby put through his own net to give Gillingham a route back into the game.
The Gills can have little complaint at the defeat, with their visitors looking sprightly throughout.
It took Shaw just nine minutes to unlock his former side, volleying home with aplomb from a matter of yards after shattering a sluggish offside trap.
Paddy Kenny kept his side ahead with a fine save to deny a dipping Adam Nowland volley from outside the box, and Shaw was unlucky not to double the advantage when a cunning curling shot brought a smart stop from Steve Banks.
Alan Quinn drew another good stop from Banks, whilst Darren Byfield twice had his route through to goal blocked when well placed.
Player-manager Andy Hessenthaler looked every minute of his 39 years when he was put clear through, but did not have the legs to get clear and his tepid effort was simple for Kenny.
In the second half Shaw finally grabbed his second courtesy of some weak defending from the hosts.
Just shy of the hour mark the lively Andy Liddell raced down the right flank untended and his low cross was simply bundled to a stop by Richard Hope, leaving Shaw a simple tap-in.
Two soon became three when a Gillingham corner broke down, Shaw spread play to Liddell who shimmied through the middle and played the perfect ball for Tonge to race onto and thrash high past Banks' despairing dive.
Gillingham needed a spark to lift their fans, and it was provided by Morgan, who reacted to an innocuous clash with Henderson, earning both players yellow cards - and the Sheffield man his marching orders because of an earlier offence.
Bromby put through his own net with a bizarre diving header that left Kenny a spectator, but it was scant consolation for Gillingham, who must realise they had been outplayed by a more accomplished side.
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