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Match Reports

Wigan 0-3 Blades - report

1 January 2019

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Billy Sharp broke a record as United kicked off 2019 with a bang.

The Blades skipper scored his 220th goal of this century - more than any other striker in the English leagues - to put the seal on the victory over Wigan. David McGoldrick and Mark Duffy were also on target as 4,098 Unitedites returned from Lancashire happy.

Chief Wilder was forced into a pre-match change. With Basham suspended, Cranie started and Freeman was added to the bench. The game's first chance dropped to the home side but Kipre headed over Naismith's free-kick from the left.

United won a number of early corners but failed to break the resistance of Wigan, who saw Massey's shot comfortably saved by Henderson on 17 minutes.

McGoldrick had a shot deflected wide but Wigan looked the bigger threat in the first period, Cranie produced a fantastic clearing header to deny Garner, who was poised to nod home a Massey cross and then, on 33 minutes, United were seriously let off the hook. Massey's effort was saved by Henderson but former Blade Evans wasted the rebound from six yards.

To rub salt into Wigan's wounds, United grabbed the lead soon after. Stevens joined a move on the right but saw his shot deflect behind for a corner, but, from the set-piece, Wigan wasted opportunities to clear before Walton parried from Duffy allowing McGOLDRICK to smash into the roof of the net.

McGoldrick had a chance for a second but was crowded out by Dunkley after a neat pass from Duffy and just before the interval a Fleck shot struck the outside of Walton's right post.

The Blades then made a blistering start to the second half and were out of sight within ten minutes. The lead was doubled on 48 minutes when defence was turned into attack quickly. Henderson delivered, Sharp held off Gibson before laying into the path of DUFFY, who coolly delayed before slotting past Walton.

The home side were still coming to terms with United's second when the visiting front three combined to add a third. Duffy found McGoldrick in space down the right and he delivered a cross that just evaded Dunkley and was perfect for SHARP to slot home in front of the travelling fans.

Sharp's goal took the sting out of the game and United controlled the advantage well, with Henderson barely troubled. Coutts and Clarke were introduced, as was Stearman later as Cranie was given a break for the final ten minutes.

Evans tried a spectacular effort for Wigan but was off target and chances, generally in the final 30 minutes, were sparse, not that Blades fans were complaining.

Three minutes of added time was indicated and the extra period was incidental as the Blades closed out another victory, completing a second double over Lancashire teams in the space of four days.

Wigan: Walton, Gibson (McManaman 51), Morsy, Massey (Windass 51), James, Roberts, Naismith, Kipre, Dunkley, Evans, Garner (Grigg 78).

Unused: Byrne, Vaughan, Jones, Connolly.

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O'Connell, Sharp, Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick (Clarke 73), Duffy (Coutts 66), Cranie (Stearman 80).
Unused: Subs: Freeman, Johnson, Moore, Washington.

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