Sheffield United 1-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 27th Apr 2019 18:12
Scott Hogan’s 24th minute goal has given Sheffield United a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues.
Town boss Paul Lambert made four changes with the Blues switching to a three-man backline - matching home side’s system - with Cole Skuse a surprise starter in between skipper Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala.
Myles Kenlock was back in the side at left wing-back with Callum Elder dropping to the bench, while James Bree was on the right.
In midfield, Teddy Bishop joined Flynn Downes and Alan Judge with Trevoh Chalobah and Andre Dozzell among the subs.
Up front, Kayden Jackson came into the team, with Gwion Edwards missing from the XI that started against Swansea, alongside Will Keane.
Town were under the cosh from the off at a noisy, buoyant and expectant Bramall Lane with McGoldrick not too far away from getting his toe to a Basham cross from the right in only the third minute. Soon after, another ball in from the right evaded everyone in the penalty area.
The early pressure briefly subsided as Keane suffered what looked to be a recurrence of his hamstring injury in the eighth minute and, Town having no striker on the bench, was replaced by Chalobah, who came into the midfield with Judge moving to a free role off Jackson.
But the Blades dominance continued once the game restarted and in the 12th minute McGoldrick got away from Chambers on the Town right but Nsiala cut out his low cross towards Hogan. The former Blues frontman might well have taken the chance on himself.
The Blues finally began to see something of the ball as the quarter of an hour mark was reached and in the 16th minute Downes shot wide from distance.
Town began to become more confident in possession and in the 23rd minute Bishop broke into the area before hitting a shot which was blocked out for a throw.
But two minutes later, the Blades took the lead. Jack O’Connell was fed in on the left, leaving Bishop in his wake, crossed low and Hogan touched the ball across Dean Gerken at the near post and into the net.
Having got their noses in front the home side resumed their domination but didn’t seriously threaten again until the 33rd minute when skipper Ollie Norwood’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected over.
A minute later McGoldrick almost created a second for the Blades with a sublime pass which fed George Baldock in on goal as he broke into the area on the right but the former MK Dons man was crowded out and the Blues eventually forced the ball away from goal.
Blades attacks continued to come in waves with the Blues digging deep defensively to prevent the home side from adding to their lead, while play rarely moved to the other end of the field where Dean Henderson in goal was a virtual spectator.
On 40 Norwood scuffed an effort wide from the edge of the box after McGoldrick had nodded back a ball into the area.
Chalobah headed tamely wide for Town following a Judge freekick on the right in the 43rd minute but play quickly returned to the other end of the field. In two minutes of injury time Judge was booked for a foul.
The home side were applauded off at the break after a dominant display which deserved more than their single goal lead.
The distance between the teams in league position terms was evident throughout the half with the Blues never seriously threatening and spending much of the period desperately hanging on at the back.
On the evidence of the first half it would be a huge surprise if the Blades didn’t go on to win and secure the win which all but assures them Premier League football.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Norwood (c), Fleck, Stevens, Duffy, McGoldrick, Hogan. Subs: Lundstram, Dowell, Sharp, Madine, Stearman, Moore, Cranie.
Town: Gerken, Bree, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Kenlock, Skuse, Bishop, Downes, Judge, Keane (Chalobah 8), Jackson. Subs: Dozzell, Elder, Emmanuel, Bialkowski, El Mizouni, Ndaba. Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).
Photo: Action Images
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