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Match Reports

Norwich 2-2 Blades - report

26 January 2019

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The Blades battled back twice to earn a deserved point against promotion-rivals Norwich City.

Two goals from skipper Billy Sharp, taking his tally to 19 for the campaign, secured a draw and four points against the Canaries this season.

Manager Wilder handed Dowell and Madine their first league starts. The duo replaced Duffy and McGoldrick, who dropped to the bench. Washington was also added to the list of substitutes, taking the place of Clarke, who was not in the squad.

Inside two minutes Norwich created a chance - Henderson pushing away Hernandez's 25-yard shot - and it set the tone for the opening 15 minutes. The home side won four corners and a couple of cheap free-kicks inside 10 minutes.

Norwich's start was rewarded with a goal on 11 minutes. Some neat football around the edge of the box saw HERNANDEZ get around the back before slotting past Henderson. More neat play from the home side worked a chance for Buendia but his effort was comfortable for Henderson.

United weathered the storm and created a first opportunity on 23 minutes but after good build-up play involving Madine, Sharp and Baldock, Dowell took a heavy touch and was forced to rush a shot, which was wide.

It did, however, kick-off a sustained spell of Blades pressure. Madine's shot was blocked from O'Connell's low pull-back and the Norwich fans were clearly nervous. Three minutes of injury-time were added and the home side would have been forgiven to think they would hold on but Buendia, who failed to con the referee that he has been fouled by Fleck earlier in the half, was forced to bring down Stevens who had got around the back of the defence. Mr Linington pointed to the spot and then showed Krul a yellow card for his embarrassing stalling tactics before SHARP smashed home the penalty.

It was the last effective action of the first half and United began the second period with Basham in a more advanced role. The Blades started well and Sharp's header from an early corner clipped the top of the crossbar.

Madine headed over a Norwood free-kick and Fleck found space on the edge of the box following a move down the right but the midfielder curled wide.

United were unable to benefit from the start to the second half and Norwich took advantage to regain the lead on 56 minutes. A fortunate deflection saw the ball drop to Aarons on the right and his cross was turned in by PUKKI.

There was almost an instant response but Madine's shot was turned around a post by Krul and boss Wilder made a double change soon after, introducing McGoldrick and Duffy.

United were trying to build some momentum and the pressure was mounting on the home side. Sharp headed over a Duffy cross and a powerful Egan challenge in midfield set up a chance for McGoldrick, who fired over.

However, with Norwich tiring, the equaliser arrived on 79 minutes. Patient work on the right ended with Duffy finding the space for a cross and SHARP pulled away from his marker to head past Krul.

The final ten minutes were entertaining with the game becoming more open. Egan produced a fantastic defensive header from under his own crossbar from a free-kick and Norwich's Zimmermann blocked McGoldrick's near post effort from Baldock's cross.

The officials found five minutes of added time. Washington was introduced, but both defences were on top and the only shot of note was a very tired effort from Hernandez. The final whistle signalled a deserved share of the spoils and four points against the Canaries this season for the Blades.

Norwich: Krul, Godfrey, Zimmermann, Vrancic, Lewis, Buendia (Cantwell 88), Stiepermann (Rhodes 88), Trybull, Pukki, Hernandez, Aarons.

Unused: McLean, Passlack, Hanley, Srbeny, McGovern.

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O'Connell, Basham, Dowell (Duffy 60), Sharp (Washington 90), Egan, Madine (McGoldrick 60), Norwood.
Unused: Coutts, Stearman, Johnson, Moore. 

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