Played on Tuesday, 13th March 2018
The Blades got back to winning ways as they saw off relegation threatened Burton Albion 2-0 at Bramall Lane in a re-arranged fixture. A goal in each half saw off the Brewers but United were thankful for some key saves from goalkeeper Jamal Blackman with a final scoreline that may have flattered the home side. The crucial goals came from Enda Stevens, his first for the club after good work from Mark Duffy and George Baldock and then from sub David Brooks; thanks to more good work from Duffy and Billy Sharp. United were not totally convincing but once the second goal went in; they eased to the victory.
United made two changes with Duffy and Wilson in for Lundstram and Ched Evans – who was not even in the matchday squad. Burton were right in the mire and included former England striker Darren Bent in their line up.
The game began with no real chances of note and the game mired in midfield. Stevens got down the wing twice but his balls came to nothing before a challenge saw Evans and Allen both injured and the latter had to come off after only 10 minutes replaced by Sbarra. Burton had the first chance when Dyer had a shot blocked at the near post by Blackman after poor marking.
Fleck’s cross shot evaded everyone after a quick throw down the left and then Duffy could not quite find Wilson after a clever ball. United won a corner and from it; Fleck’s shot caught his own man Wilson and then Evans fired over the ball as it came back to him.
On the half hour United went ahead. A throw from Baldock found Duffy who played it down the line. The wing back got on the ball and centered and STEVENS came inside and from the penalty spot converted smartly past Bywater for his first United goal. It had been made by one wing back and converted by the other. Burton came back well though and had two clear chances before the break. They attacked down the right and the cross came over Akpan nearly converted but it was deflected just wide. Soon after they came down the other side and Dyer came in and unmarked hit a rising shot that Blackman superbly tipped over.
The second half saw United begin well and Baldock nearly got on the end of a flowing move but his shot was blocked and then Wilson put over a low cross that Sharp stabbed wide on the stretch. It was a good chance. The game became much more open and Sordell somehow missed with the goal at his mercy and the action was transferred to the other end and Sharp found Duffy whose powerful shot was saved from Bywater. Sharp could not force the rebound home.
Bent then headed wide from a corner when he climbed above Baldock. It was another good chance. Stearman then headed over his own goal under pressure as Burton openned United back. A change was needed and Brooks came on for Wilson.
It was not long before the sub made an impact. A lovely touch from Sharp played it to Duffy who played a lovely ball into the path of BROOKS who took one touch and then rolled a delightful left foot finish into the corner past the despairing dive of Bywater. It was Brooks first goal at the Lane in a competitive first team fixture and reminiscent of the goal at Leeds with Duffy again the architect.
This seemed to take the life out of Burton and Sharp nearly got in soon after. Decent football saw Evans then hit a rasping drive that hit the top of the bar. Naylor then upended Duffy but the free kick was blocked. Stearman was booked for a pullback not long after. The game started to peter out as Burton had not really created anything since the 2nd goal whilst United were content to play keep ball when they had it.
Lundstram came on for Duffy with 5 minutes to play as United sought to run the clock down but United won a free kick for a foul on Sharp and Fleck took it but his superb drive was tipped around the post by Bywater. The home side then won two corners near the end and Stearman had one spectacular effort blocked out as the three minutes of stoppage time were played.
Donaldson came on for Sharp right at the end and soon after the final whistle went in the to confirm United had moved up to 7th and 2 points off the playoffs.