Sheffield United’s French striker Lys Mousset has taken some criticism recently from supporters regarding his lack of fitness which had reduced availability on match days. He answered his critics in fine form after coming off the substitute’s bench to level the score at home to Stoke City before fellow striker David McGoldrick netted a win – both goals coming in the space of three second-half minutes.
The Blades will be excited from the victory after finding themselves on the wrong end of the score-line in their last two outings having lost at Middlesbrough and Bournemouth respectively.
Following a sluggish and pedestrian opening half-hour, with the only action of note being Stoke’s Jacob Brown finding his header, expertly, cleared off the line by skipper Billy Sharp. The latter stages of the first half saw the quality improve, though the result remained scoreless at the break with United holding 60% of the possession.
On 33 minutes Sharp’s acute ball into the box fell slightly behind an onrushing Morgan Gibbs-White, who was searching for his fourth goal in Blades’ colours and thus failed to hit his effort on target. Moments later, at the other end, Brown forced a good save from stopper Robin Olsen with a drive from outside of the area.
Before the break, the home faithful became incensed after the referee, Keith Stroud, waved away appeals for a penalty after Iliman Ndiaye fell in the box under the challenge from Romaine Sawyers. As the first half drew closer to a close, Sharp wasted a good opportunity after headed from six yards straight at keeper Adam Davies.
With both sides now attacking to their support behind the goal, the visitors offered more in the final third but it was United who again came close to opening the deadlock after Jayden Bogle saw his effort cleared off the line, and from the resulting scramble, Enda Stevens fired wide.
United would rule that missed opportunity and instead another Yorkshireman would steal the limelight. On 55 minutes, Halifax-born forward, Jacob Brown, turned on a six-pence on the edge of the box before firing home past Olsen into the left-hand corner, and after taking his shirt off in celebration, was immediately booked.
Stoke grew in confidence but lack in the faith of true Yorkshire grit had been firmly misplaced. Blades boss Slavisa Jokanovic had made a string of substitutions with Mousset, McGoldrick, and Conor Hourihane replacing Ben Osborn, Ndiaye, and Oliver Norwood, all in the space of ten minutes, and giving United a different attacking threat.
Shear good fortune or divine intervention from the Serbian boss will subjective opinion from those who judge. He will undoubtedly take all the credit, and rightly so as United turned the game on its head. With ten minutes remaining McGoldrick teed-up Mousset after an impressive sweep to level the Blades, and three minutes later, Stevens ball saw McGoldrick poke home the winner.