Result: Ilkeston 0 Blades 1: Dominic United winner

editorial image

Dominic Calvert-Lewin ensured Sheffield United’s pre-season preparations got-off to the perfect start at Ilkeston earlier today.

The duo, who have not pulled on a red and white jersey since October and January respectively, featured in a starting eleven also featuring the likes of Michael Higdon, Jamie Murphy and Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

Nigel Adkins in charge of his first  Sheffield United match today. Photo: '  Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Adkins in charge of his first Sheffield United match today. Photo: ' Blades Sports Photography

The Redtooth Academy graduate converted a brave finish with only five minutes of normal time remaining.

Kieran Wallace instigated the move with Diego De Girolamo and Che Adams also involved in the build-up as United, who return to action at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday, claimed a deserved victory over young but talented opponents.

Neill Collins and James Wallace made their long-awaited returns to action for the League One club as Nigel Adkins took charge for the first time since being appointed manager last month.

The duo, who have not pulled on a red and white jersey since October and January respectively, featured in a starting eleven also featuring the likes of Michael Higdon, Jamie Murphy and Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

Predictably, the visitors dominated the opening 45 minutes against an Ilkeston team containing a number of trialists. But, try as they might, United could not translate possession into a lead as a combination of bad luck and Evandro Rachoni’s agility kept Adkins’ side at bay.

Higdon saw efforts cleared-off the line in the third and 33rd minutes. Those changes bookended near misses from Marc McNulty and Chris Basham who saw a low drive deflected inches wide.

Half-time: 0-0

Adkins, who had admitted on the eve of this match that improving fitness and conditioning were United’s priorities at the New Manor Ground, made eleven changes for the start of the second period with Diego DeGirolamo, fresh from signing a new contract, Jose Baxter and Harrison McGahey among those introduced.

But it was Che Adams, the youngster United lured away from Ilkeston last term, who came closest to breaking the deadlock after darting through. Again, though, the advancing Rachoni proved equal to the task.

Adams tested Rachoni, previously of Crawley Town, again soon after following a persistent piece of play by Calvert-Lewin.

Florent Cuvelier and Jose Baxter probed in midfield and the latter was responsible for threading through the pass which nearly sent Stefan Scougall bearing down on goal before an opponent intervened.

Ilkeston, however, were unable to prevent Calvert-Lewin bundling home past the advancing Rachoni in the 85th minute.

Sheffield United: Howard, Freeman, Collins, McEveley, Harris, Campbell-Ryce, Basham, J Wallace, Murphy, McNulty, Higdon. Second-Half: Long, Dimaio, McGahey, K Wallace, McFadzean, Scougall, Baxter, Cuvelier (Reed 81), Adams, Calvert-Lewin, DeGirolamo.