For the second successive game Sheffield United won 3-2 with a last gasp goal to seal victory. Last Saturday Preston were the victims of David McGoldrick’s strike, and Millwall suffered the same fate yesterday.
In an entertaining fixture at The Den United had taken the lead through Billy Sharp in the first half. This was after the skipper had failed to convert from the penalty spot. A frantic five second half minutes saw the game turn on its head as the Lions skipped into the lead. Jake Cooper and Lee Gregory found the net for Millwall and United were left chasing the game.
For their efforts they were rewarded with a second penalty and this time David McGoldrick didn’t waste his opportunity. And with minutes remaining the former Ipswich striker doubled his tally to take three vital points back to S2.
Chris Wilder opted to keep the same starting XI which beat Preston by the same score line last weekend, with the addition of Paul Coutts on the substitutes bench. The victory kept United in fourth but results elsewhere puts the Blades just one point away from pole position.
The Den hasn’t been a great stomping ground for the Blades in many of years with victories few and far between. It looked like being another one of those days when Lee Gregory despatched the ball into net within the first five minutes of kick-off but the assistant’s flag for offside was warmly welcomed by the United side in green.
The early exchanges saw the visitors fail to break down the Lions defence despite having a lot of touches of the ball. Ben Amos was in fine form and when Billuy Sharp got round the back from Chris Basham’s pass, the on-loan Bolton stopper saved the skipper’s effort.
A Norwood corner, after he himself had seen his deflected shot go wide saw the visitors handed with an opportunity. The ball evaded everyone in the box and the recycled delivery from the left adjudged to have hit the arm of a Millwall defender inside the box. Referee Davies awarded a penalty and pointed to the spot. Sharp took the responsibility and despite hitting a decent shot Amos made a brilliant save and pushed the ball onto the crossbar, with the ball being cleared to safety.
United had missed a golden opportunity to take the lead but despite this their heads didn’t bow as they remained on top. Amos saved again as Fleck’s effort was diluted by the deflection from Webster.
On 40 minutes the Blades pressure finally paid off. Duffy played a neat one-two with Freeman and his looping ball into the box saw SHARP peel away from his marker to head home.
The closing moments of the first half saw Henderson make a good save from Gregory after Morrison flicked on. John Egan also needed treatment for a cut eye.
Half-Time: Millwall 0-1 Sheffield United
It isn’t clear what Millwall boss Neil Harris said to his Lions side at the break, but whatever he did worked as they came out into the second half roaring and within a five minutes spell the Blades found themselves chasing the game
On 47 minutes a deep Williams corner saw COOPER rose the highest and his header looped into the net.
Under the terms and conditions of the loan agreement which took Ryan Leonard to Millwall, the midfielder was allowed to face his parent club. Soon after Cooper’s leveller the former Southend midfielder played a ball over for GREGORY who broke free and slipped the ball past Henderson from close-range.
The hosts were happy to slow the play down from the hour mark and this only worked to United’s advantage. United were good in possession and a combination of Freeman and Basham down the right saw Duiffy’s effort pushed away by Amos.
On 77 minutes United were awarded with another penalty when Williams pushed Duffy on the edge of the box. McGOLDRICK was handed spot kick duties and he made no mistake to level the score. United had the ball in the net again within seconds after the re-start but Sharp was flagged offside after heading home.
United persevered and another move down the right flank, which involved quick feet saw Millwall unable to handle United’s pace. Duffy got behind the defence and his low cross saw McGOLDRICK unmarked as he beat Amos from close range in front of the away end to seal all three points.
The final minutes saw United slow the game down and keep possession until the sound of the referee’s whistle ended the game.
Half-Time: Millwall 0-1 Sheffield United
Millwall: Amos, Meredith (Bradshaw 89), Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace, Gregory, Romeo, Webster, Morison (Elliott 83), O’Brien (Ferguson 80), Leonard. Unused: Archer, Tunnicliffe, M. Wallace, Skalak.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Stevens (Johnson 75), Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Sharp, Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick (Clarke 90), Freeman, Duffy (Stearman 90). Unused: Lundstram, Coutts, Washington, Moore.