Beattie blasts Blades to win
Striker scores twice in second half to sink Pilgrims
Last Updated: November 1, 2008 6:14pm
Beattie: Key brace
James Beattie was at the double for Sheffield United in a 2-0 home win over Plymouth Argyle.
The Blades were unable to make the breakthrough in the first half against a Plymouth side which had won 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.
But Beattie netted from the penalty spot four minutes after half-time and soon snuffed out the Pilgrims' threat with his second from a free-kick.
Both teams were looking to boost their play-off push, but it was United who were quickly on the attack in the second minute as Anthony Stokes' flick-on fell for Danny Webber.
He used his pace to race in on goal but saw his shot blocked by Romain Larrieu and the loose ball span just beyond Beattie at the far post.
Gary Speed, who replaced the suspended Brian Howard, then had a long-range effort diverted for a corner.
For Plymouth, Krisztian Turner's powerful 18th-minute header went just over while, moments later, Nicolas Marin's dangerous cross just eluded Paul Gallagher in front of goal.
But it was United who were enjoying the bulk of the pressure.
Larrieu, Plymouth's last remaining fit goalkeeper, needed two chances to gather Stephen Quinn's 21st minute free-kick under pressure from Ugo Ehiogu.
Another Quinn set-piece then led to more danger as it fell for Beattie at the back post, but he flashed his shot wide.
Stokes had the best chance of the half in the 35th minute, quickly flicking the ball past his man before firing a low shot which Larrieu did well to turn wide in front of his right-hand post.
From the resulting corner, Speed lashed a left-foot volley across the face of goal and just wide.
With time counting down in the first half, Webber picked the ball up inside the area but fired wide from a tight angle.
The breakthrough came almost immediately after the break as Chris Barker and Turner combined to bundle Beattie over in the box, and the former England man blasted a powerful penalty into the left-hand corner for his fourth goal of the season.
His fifth soon arrived as he rifled in a 56th-minute free-kick from just outside the area after Stokes was pulled down by Gallagher.
Plymouth showed little sign of responding, with Summerfield's ambitious 25-yard shot in the 69th minute their first serious effort of the second half.
Beattie had a crack at a hat-trick in the 72nd minute but his long-range free-kick drifted left.
Plymouth's Steve MacLean should have done better when the ball fell to him 10 yards out but his tame shot was easily held by Paddy Kenny.
Substitute Billy Sharp had a great chance in the 79th minute as a looping ball found him six yards out but his header was straight at Larrieu.
United should have capped it seven minutes from time when Matthew Spring slipped in Sharp. He rounded Larrieu before pulling the ball back to Beattie, only to see the goalkeeper scramble back to make the save.
Sat 1st Nov
Watford3 - 4Blackpool
Sheff Utd2 - 0Plymouth
Ipswich2 - 0QPR
Burnley2 - 0Norwich
Doncaster0 - 0Swansea
Bristol C1 - 4Reading
Charlton1 - 3Barnsley
Preston2 - 3Southampton
C Palace1 - 1Sheff Wed
Cardiff1 - 2Wolves
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