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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
13:50 30th April 2017

Blades 3-2 Chesterfield - report

The Blades leave Sky Bet EFL League One 100 not out, following Sunday's final-day victory over Chesterfield.


In front of the biggest crowd at Bramall Lane since April 2008, goals from Kieron Freeman, Billy Sharp and Daniel Lafferty were enough to edge a five-goal thriller against the already relegated Spireites, as United became the first South Yorkshire club ever to reach a century of points.


For Sunday's final, Wright was recalled to the starting XI following illness and he replaced Wilson, who dropped to the bench. Also on the bench was fit again Hanson and youngster Brooks.


Before kick-off, the Spireites sporting formed a guard of honour to welcome the Champions out of the tunnel and the capacity crowd literally lifted the roof prior to kick-off. Upon the first whistle, the party atmosphere continued, but it was the visitors who should have opened the scoring in the seventh minute, but Dennis fired wide of the target from inside the penalty area.


Mitchell was booked for a late tackle on Freeman, before United threatened Stuckmann's goal for the first time, with Clarke holding off the attentions of Maguire before seeing his effort hit the top of the crossbar. At the other end, Dennis had another opportunity to score, but this time Moore saved at the expense of a corner.


The Blades were now flexing their muscles and took the lead in front of the Kop in the 18th minute. Coutts won possessions high up the pitch and Stuckmann could only parry his cross into the six-yard boss, Sharp was denied by Maguire, but FREEMAN was on the spot to score his 11th of the season.


With ten minutes of the first period remaining, a swift counter attack saw Sharp make room for a shot that appeared to be going in until the outstretched hand of Stuckmann pushed the ball onto the post and McGinn cleared the loose ball. From the resulting corner, O'Connell saw his back-post header saved.


As half-time approached, Clarke pulled up as though something was amiss as he tried to get the better of Anderson and the in-form striker was subsequently replaced by Hanson. But, with the last meaningful action of the half, Chesterfield levelled against the run of play from the penalty spot. DENNIS converted confidently, sending Moore the wrong way, after the goalkeeper had been adjudged to have fouled the advancing Mitchell.


Early into the second period, Carruthers replaced Duffy, who received a warm hand, but it was the visitors who had started best, with Grimshaw volleying inches wide of the target after a corner wasn't cleared fully. But with their first attack after the restart, United regained the lead. Carruthers found some space on the right and his cross was perfect for SHARP to head home his 30th of the campaign much to the delight of the vast majority of the 31,003 supporters inside the Lane.


But the home fans were briefly silenced again six minutes later as Chesterfield restored parity for a second time. Mitchell's effort was blocked, but Grimshaw teed up MCGINN to fire home into the bottom corner. Before play restarted though, the visitors were reduced to ten-men with Gardner seeing a straight red after an off-the-ball clash with Sharp.


With a numerical advantage for the remaining 21 minutes of the game, Wilder, not for the first time this season, made a positive change with Chapman replacing Wright and the Middlesbrough loanee almost had an immediate impact lofting an effort over the top having got in behind Anderson. United pressing for that elusive third, came close twice in quick succession, with Sharp inches wide on both occasions, the second chance coming from Hanson's flick on.


Chesterfield introduced former Owl Humphreys and he could have scored within a minute, but he lob his effort over the bar after Moore had rushed off his line to deny Faupala. And that miss proved costly as the Blades went straight down the other and scored a third in the 82nd minute, with LAFFERTY getting the better of Stuckmann with a left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area.


The clocking was ticking down and four minutes of added time was signalled, but not before the Blades nearly added a fourth as Stuckmann denied Chapman twice in quick succession. The aforementioned stoppage-time went without any incident of note and the final whistle meant it would be minutes until the Blades could finally get their hands on the Sky Bet EFL League One trophy.


Blades: Moore, Fleck, O'Connell, Basham, Sharp, Wright (Chapman 69), Coutts, Freeman, Duffy (Carruthers 53), Lafferty, Clarke (Hanson 42).
Unused: Long, Done, Wilson, Brooks.


Chesterfield: Stuckmann, McGinn, Hird, Gardner, Mitchell (Faupala 69), Nolan, Dennis (Beesley 90) Anderson, Maguire, Grimshaw, Rowley (Humphreys 79).
Unused: Fulton, Dimaio, Kakay, Wakefield.