Sheffield United dented Brighton’s survival hopes with a solid 1-0 display at Bramall Lane in the Premier League.
It was a dead rubber match for Sheffield United, with nothing more than pride to play for, but that proved to be the catalyst in what was the kind of performance they had been calling out for the whole season.
With the emphasis placed on Brighton needing to take all three points to boost their survival hopes, it seemed the magnitude of the game got the better of them, as their fear of being hit on the counter attack, resulted in them over playing allowing Paul Heckingbottom’s men to set their shape and frustrate the visitors.
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And it was a counter attack that led to the opening goal on 19 minutes, after a wasted Brighton free kick, Sheffield United broke through Ben Osborn who raced up the pitch and fired in a decent cross which the Brighton defence failed to deal with. The ball eventually landed at the feet of David McGoldrick, who put the ball past Robert Sánchez.
Graham Potter must have had stern words with his players at half time as they came out the blocks quick and registered a shot on target within 60 seconds. Jakub Moder won the ball, drove forward before playing it to Adam Lallana, who’s shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Aaron Ramsdale.
The Gulls eventually had the ball in the back of the net, but Moder was judged to be offside when he got on the end of a Webster flick on from a Pascal Groß corner.
Despite a series of half chances Brighton couldn’t find that elusive goal as Sheffield United held out for a well earned three points.
Next up for the Blades is a trip to London to take on a Spurs side that are still in the hunt for a Champions League spot. While Brighton host tricky opponents Leeds United who will be keen to have a strong end to their first season back in the Premier League.
TALKING POINT - Plenty of possession, but no end product for Brighton
Over the course of the 90 minutes at Bramall Lane Brighton amassed 68% possession, peppering the goal with 17 shots and earning a whopping 12 corners . But for all their control of the ball they only managed four shots on target, which is just one more than Sheffield United.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale 7, Baldock 6, Egan 6, Bryan 6, Bogle 6, Norwood 6, Fleck 6, Osborn 7, Stevens 6, Brewster 6, McGoldrick 8, Burke 5, Lundstram N/A
Brighton: Sánchez 6, Webster 5, Dunk 5, Veltman 5, Groß 6, Lallana 6, Bissouma 6, Moder 6, Trossard 5, Maupay 6, Welbeck 5, Jahanbakhsh 6, Connolly 5, Izquierdo 5
MAN OF THE MATCH - David McGoldrick (Sheffield United)
The veteran striker was a constant outlet for the Blades with his strength and positioning. From the opening minutes of the game it was clear that Heckingbottom had set his team out to hit Brighton on the counter attack and with McGoldrick up top you always felt that if a chance came to him he would take it. And that's exactly what he did this evening.
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11' SAVE!!!! Bissouma drives through the Sheffield United midfield and slides Maupay in, but Ramsdale comes out quickly and shot goes out for a corner
19' GOAL (1-0 Sheffield United) - McGoldrick scores. Brighton wasted their chance from a free kick and the home side counter quickly. The cross is whipped in by Osborn and the Brighton defence get it all wrong and it falls to McGoldrick, who slots it past Sánchez
45' Chance! A quick attack from Brighton, but Lallana's shot is well saved by Ramsdale. Potter must of have had strong words with his side during the break
53' Save! Maupay is denied by Ramsdale who gets down quickly to push the ball out for a corner
56' Disallowed goal - VAR rules out the Brighton equaliser as Moder was offside when Webster pass the ball to him. That goal could be the trigger to get the visitors on the front foot
72' Chance! Maupay some how misses from in front of goal after more brilliant work from Jahanbakhsh. That really should be 1-1
- Sheffield United picked up their first victory and first clean sheet under Paul Heckingbottom, having lost each of their first five games in all competitions under him, conceding 13 goals in the process
- David McGoldrick has scored 39% of Sheffield United's goals in the Premier League this season (7/18); the highest percentage of any player for his team in the competition
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