The losing run continued for the miserable Blades as they slumped to yet another defeat and the awful start back to life in the Championship continued. This time it was the latest of late defeats at home to Huddersfield Town as somehow the Blades contrived to turn at least a point (with a late Sharp goal) into nothing, with calamitous defending in the final minute of stoppage time leading to another loss. United had been better for large periods but lacked penetration, creativity and rarely created much despite having the ball for most of the game against a largely negative and poor Huddersfield side who will scarcely believe how they managed to exit with a point let alone all three from the game they were barely in till the final stages.
Manager Jokanovic changed almost half his side from the shellacking at the Hawthorns with the expected keeper change with Foderingham in for Verrips. Ben Davies and Rhys Norrington Davies made their Blades debuts on the left side of the defence in a more familiar lineup of 5-3-2 and Brewster and McBurnie started upfront. Huddersfield was fresh off their first win after seeing off Preston in the week.
The game started sloppily with neither side causing the other many problems although Basham miss controlled and Baldock had to sweep up. Davies and Norrington Davies started in a confident matter and slowly United started to get control of the game. The game from around the 10-minute mark was played exclusively in the Huddersfield half and Berge’s influence was starting to grow. His runs across the field led to a Basham cross and McBurnie header well off target and then another run saw Baldock get in but his final ball was poor. Brewster won a corner after he chased down a ball down the left but Town cleared Fleck’s delivery – who was on corner duty instead of Norwood.
Huddersfield had offered little but one corner saw Foderingham come and miss but he got the benefit of the doubt with a foul given before at the other end Nicholls timewasting was a feature of the first half as we the leniency of the referee. The keeper went down ‘hurt’ from one challenge as the game became a stop-start. United was seeing all of the ball and Turton and Colwell were both booked. The former for chopping down McBurnie but Norwood’s free-kick was routine for the keeper.
Sheffield United 1-2 Huddersfield Town
Saturday, 21st August 2021
Report by deadbat_db
United had dominated without really testing the defence or keeper until Egan headed on and McBurnie’s overhead kick was turned away from Nicholls. The first half drifted away after this and even though the Blades had controlled things, it had been a game of few chances at all. United needed to up the tempo and try and get the strikers some service through the middle but had an overreliance on going wide when the balls were not coming in or when they were with poor accuracy.
The second half saw the Blades carry onto the game and force Huddersfield back and they had a spell down the right where Berge and Baldock linked and they had several balls and corners coming across. The home side had two or three efforts blocked and the ball would not quite sit. The tempo seemed to be better and the momentum building but several times with the chance to deliver Berge and Baldock in particular, although heavily involved, could not produce.
After this spell, a few more stoppages seemed to take the sting out of things and Jokanovic decided to change things bringing on Sharp for Brewster which was not met with total approval more for the choice of outgoing player than the incomer.
The game now became a bit more even and Huddersfield with changes of their own, Toffolo and Campbell for High and Ward, coming on, started to make chances after doing little for the first hour.
A mistake by Berge saw Koroma in but he pulled his shot wide. For all the play United had, this was the best chance of the game. Norwood then gave it away as United started becoming ragged and this time Norrington Davies had to get a foot in to deny the sub-Campbell. Finally, it seemed we had a contest in terms of Huddersfield having a go as they realised United were a side they could get at and did not have to defend all game.
On 75 minutes, Huddersfield was rewarded for showing more attacking intent and gradually coming out. KOROMA was suddenly away and somehow seemed to be in on goal from an innocuous through ball with the United defence completely missing. Koroma’s first effort was saved by the left foot of Foderingham but it rebounded straight back to him and he coolly converted giving Town the lead.
This was the cue for further changes, although Osborn and McGoldrick had been readied long before this. They came on for Norrington Davies and Fleck.
A ball over the top nearly saw Sharp get in ahead of Sarr but he could not control it before soon after a McBurnie header down saw Sharp fire a volley goalwards but whilst powerful, it lacked direction and Nicholls saved.
The game entered 5 minutes of stoppage time which seemed kind on Town who had been skilful in the art of patient set plays, to say the least.
However, it seemed the Blades had rescued something from the game in the 92nd minute and it was from a predictable source. SHARP managed to get on the end of it and roll his man and with his left foot sent his shot into the far corner and finally United had scored a goal! The roar from the Kop that greeted the goal also signalled that they thought the Blades still had time to win the game with a few minutes to play but Huddersfield went straight up the other end and won a corner.
The ball was not cleared and as the defence came out, Toffolo shrugged off Davies and then calmly played across for CONWILL to tap home and win it right at the death! It was an incredible finish and the cue for many in the Lane to head for the exits. Full time saw a mixture of boos and applause recognising the frustration of another defeat but also of some improvements in elements of the performance. However, United sit 2nd bottom after 4 games and with the other relegated sides both top two, it seems the Blades are going in completely the wrong direction and need to stabilise fast. The losing culture is heavily soaked amongst this group and worryingly the new manager has not been able to arrest this albeit in limited time.