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Match Reports

Blades 1-1 Watford - report

26 December 2019

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United extended an unbeaten Premier League run to four matches but had to settle for a point after a 1-1 draw against Watford.

The Blades had to come from behind at Bramall Lane after Gerard Deulofeu had given the visitors the lead, but after George Baldock was felled in the area, Ollie Norwood equalised in the first half from 12 yards.

United created several opportunities but found Hornets ‘keeper Ben Foster in inspired form as Chris Wilder’s side were forced to settle for a point.

Blades boss Wilder made one change to the side which beat Brighton last time out with John Fleck returning from suspension resulting in Luke Freeman dropping to the bench.

After a slow start, the game burst into life as United recorded two chances in as many minutes. Firstly, Jack O’Connell sprinted forward on a traditional overlapping run, receiving the ball inside the area before firing a low cross into the near post. Oli McBurnie stuck out a boot to divert towards goal, but Foster pulled off a brilliant reflex save, and then got something on David McGoldrick’s follow up from a tight angle.

McBurnie went close soon after when he met a cross from the right, but his downward header towards the corner was gathered by a diving Foster.

At the other end Chris Basham had to be alert as he snuffed out a Watford counter with a brilliant last-ditch challenge.

United had the ball in the net on 19 minutes when Basham’s centre was turned in by Fleck. The flag was quickly raised for offside, and following a VAR check, the original decision was upheld.

After a fallow period in the half, Watford took the lead when Foster’s long kick was flicked on by Nathaniel Chalobah and Deulofeu latched onto the loose ball, sprinting clear before steering the ball low beyond Dean Henderson.

Watford looked organised as United attempted to break down the two banks of four, with Ismaila Sarr making a crucial interception as John Egan attempted to release Fleck clear down the left.

United stayed patient and were rewarded on 36 minutes. Baldock’s driving run forward saw the ball ricochet back to him, and as he surged into the area, Will Hughes upended the wing-back with the referee quickly pointing to the spot.

After a VAR check, NORWOOD stepped forward to rifle the ball into the bottom left corner for his first Premier League goal, with Foster having no chance despite going the same way.

Before the end of the half, Hughes headed clear for the visitors under pressure after a dangerous free-kick from Norwood, and just before the break Egan’s header was gathered by Foster.

Both sides had their moments at the start of the second half, but it was United who had the first chance when Stevens’ run saw the ball canon up towards John Lundstram whose dipping volley from 20 yards sailed over the bar.

On 55 minutes O’Connell again provided a dangerous centre as he marauded forward, this time Christian Kabasele cut the ball out with McGoldrick lurking just behind.

After Fleck drilled a low effort wide from nearly 30 yards, McGoldrick then saw a deflected effort hit the post but the flag had already been raised for offside.

On 64 minutes Foster then pulled off a wonderful stop to deny Fleck. Lys Mousset, just on for McBurnie, sprinted down the right before putting a pinpoint cross into the area, which was met on the run by the midfielder, but somehow Foster got something on it to clear.

Inside the final 20 minutes and Foster was quick to make another save, this time from Stevens after the Republic of Ireland international smashed a fierce drive towards the near post.

Watford were inches away from taking the lead when O’Connell was controversially penalised for a challenge on the edge of the area. Deulofeu took the resulting free-kick which was narrowly wide of Henderson’s post.

The Blades carried a threat right until the end with Mousset having a shot blocked from a Norwood free-kick, whilst an Egan header was blocked right in front of Foster.

Watford held out though as the Blades were forced to settle for a point.

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Lundstram, McBurnie (Mousset 63’), Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick.
Unused: L. Freeman, Sharp, Robinson, Jagielka, Verrips, Besic.

Watford: Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Kabasele, Mariappa, Chalobah (Dawson 89’), Capoue, Deulofeu, Hughes, Sarr (Pereyra HT), Deeney (Gray 80’).
Unused: Gomes, Quina, Success, Dele-Bashiru.

As it happened...

We are underway!

Quiet start but United click into life after breaks by McBurnie and Stevens.

The move ends with a Fleck cross which is headed clear at the near post. 0-0.

Deeney latches onto a ball over the top but Basham covers the ground quickly to make a good interception and United clear. 0-0.

First chance to United.

O'Connell overlapping, he fires it in low and McBurnie diverts it towards goal, but Foster is there to make a sharp low save. He also gets something on McGoldrick's follow up as Watford scramble clear.

Another chance for McBurnie as heads a cross from the right towards the bottom corner but Foster is there again to make a low save. 0-0.

Some excellent last ditch defending from Basham stops a Watford counter. 0-0.

Norwood's first time cross into the near post is met by McGoldrick but he diverts over, whilst the flag had aleady been raised for offside. 0-0.

Looping cross into the area causes confusion between Foster and Hughes, the latter eventually clears with Lundstram closing in...

Fleck knocks in a low cross from Basham, the flag is raised for offside and after a VAR check the decision is upheld. 0-0.

Goal for Watford.

United caught out as a long kick by Foster is flicked on and Deulofeu latches onto it before steering the ball beyond Henderson. 0-1.

United trying to feed their feet again, as Watford look organised when the Blades are in possession. 0-1.

Sarr with a crucial interception as Egan's pass look set to release Fleck down the left. 0-1.

Baldock with direct run forward, he's tripped by Hughes, penalty...

Norwood steps up after a VAR check... and...GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He buries it into the bottom corner, Foster can't get there as he dives the right way. 1-1.

Great defending by O'Connell who blocks a cross from the right, and the ball stays in play to be collected by Henderson.

Long delay for an injury to Sarr... he's back on a play resumes...

Basham pulled down, resulting a dangerous Norwood free-kick which is headed clear under pressure by Hughes. 1-1.

5 added minutes


Stevens wins a corner, it goes towards the back post, where it is headed towards Egan whose flicked header is held by Foster.

Half time

Blades 1 - 1 Watford

Deulofeu puts Watford in front, but Norwood's penalty levels things at the break

The teams are back out for the second half...

Half time change for Watford as Sarr is replaced by Roberto Pereya.

Second half underway

Cathcart trip on Baldock.

Free-kick from Fleck to the back post is comfortably headed clear. 1-1.

United just struggled to clear their lines for a couple of minutes as Watford put the Blades under a period of pressure. 1-1.

Stevens gets a lucky deflection as he carries on his run into the area, the ball bobbles towards Lundstram who fires over with a dipping volley from 20 yards.

Really dangerous centre from O'Connell is cut out by Kabasele with McGoldrick lurking. 1-1.

Fleck pulls a low shot from nearly 30 yards wide of the near post.

Fleck slides a pass through to McGoldrick whose deflected effort canons off the post. Meanwhile, the flag had already been raised for offside. 1-1.

Ball over the top for Deulofeu to chase, he gets into the area but the low cross is deflected behind.

The resulting corner is cleared by United. 1-1.

Mousset replaces McBurnie


Mousset puts in an inch perfect cross for Fleck who meets it on the run, but somehow Foster gets something on it and turns it away! 1-1.

Attendance: 30,222

Norwood sails an effort well over from 25 yards. 1-1.

Another save from Foster, this time from Stevens, who smashes a low effort which is tipped around the post. 1-1.

Deulofeu booked for dissent

Watford survive back-to-back corners and it remains level.

Andre Gray replaces Deeney.

O'Connell penalised for a foul, which was controversial. Deulofeu's free-kick is narrowly wide of the post. 1-1.

Wonderful Norwood free-kick into a dangerous area, half cleared, and Mousset's shot on the spin is blocked. 1-1.

Egan's header from a corner cleared away from in front of the 'keeper.

Chalobah booked for time wasting.

Chalobah replaced by Dawson.

Four added minutes

Full time

Blades 1 - 1 Watford

Deulofeu for Watford and Norwood for the Blades as the game ends all square.

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