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29 December 2018 Venue Bramall Lane Attendance

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Match Reports

Blades 3-0 Blackburn - report

29 December 2018

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United ended 2018 in style, beating Blackburn Rovers at Bramall Lane in a game that was action packed to say the least.

Chris Basham and Richie Smallwood were both sent off by Premier League official Anthony Taylor, before skipper Billy Sharp bagged a brace and David McGoldrick put the icing on the cake with a third.

For the clash against Rovers, boss Wilder named an unchanged team again, with the same 18 on duty following an impressive Boxing Day display against Derby County.

There first action of note saw Palmer catch O'Connell when challenging for a high ball which led to a lengthy stoppage, thankfully the defender was able to continue. Basham was then booked following a challenge with Reed, despite appearing to win the ball. United pressed forward in what was a scrappy opening, with Duffy volleying wide after Raya could only punch clear Basham's header from Fleck's corner.

Blackburn's first effort came from Mulgrew's free-kick, after Stevens had fouled Travis. From the resulting corner, Lenihan found space at the back post, but fired high and wide. Moments later, after Palmer had drawn a foul from Fleck, Mulgrew came even closer, hitting the post, before Travis was crowded out.

On 26 minutes, the Blades pounced on a poor Mulgrew clearance, with Duffy and Fleck combining to play in Stevens, he rifled an effort at goal, but it struck the crossbar. Stevens intercepted Rothwell's pass before advancing menacingly towards goal, although Lenihan took the pace off his shot which made Raya's save comfortable.

Referee Taylor continued to infuriate the home faithful, this time for booking Norwood. Back on the attack, Norwood threaded a ball through for Sharp who beat the offside trap, but not Raya who saved at the expense of a corner. The first-half ended with United forcing the issue, winning the ball high up the pitch and Duffy stinging the palms of Raya.

Inside the opening five minutes of the second period, Egan was booked after tangling with Brereton. Worse was to follow, as Basham was harshly adjudged to have handled the free-kick from Mulgrew and sent off by referee Taylor for a second bookable offence. Wilder reacted by making a change, Coutts took the place of Duffy.

The action wasn't relenting, this time Palmer was booked for another dive. The visitors were pushing forward in greater numbers following Basham's departure and Henderson was down quickly to deny Williams. The cards continued to come, Sharp was booked, before being the victim of a shocker from Smallwood, who was instantly was shown a red card.

On 74 minutes, SHARP was in the thick of the action again, this time firing home to the delight of the Kop end, after McGoldrick's cross wasn't dealt with by Lenihan. Three minutes the skipper was at it again, Rothwell dived at one end, a swift counter attack later and SHARP had rifled home his 16th of the campaign, past the despairing dive of Raya.

A third goal in eight second-half minutes put the game to bed as a contest, as Fleck got the better of Mulgrew before crossing for MCGOLDRICK, who calmly chested the ball into the roof of the net. With three left to play, the goalscorers were replaced, to a rousing ovation.

Four minutes of added time were signalled and Washington came close to adding a fourth, prodding an effort inches wide following another break and that was the last action of note as United ended 2018 with a deserved win.

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O'Connell, Basham, Sharp (Clarke 87), Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick (Washington 87), Duffy (Coutts 56).
Unused: Stearman, Johnson, Moore, Cranie.

Blackburn: Raya, Williams, Reed, Smallwood, Rothwell, Mulgrew, Brereton (Dack 69), Lenihan, Travis, Bennett, Palmer (Armstrong 69).
Unused: Rodwell, Graham, Leutwiler, Downing, Evans.

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