After dominating the first half and hitting the woodwork three times, City took the lead thanks to Jamie Paterson’s wonder striker as yet another long-range shot went into the United goal. The Blades got back level thanks to another Leon Clarke goal but a rash John Fleck tackle saw the Blades man sent off. After this United hit the post again but it looked like United had done enough to take a share of the spoils before the late drama. Poor marking and lack of concentration saw Flint steal in at the back post to score. City now are clear of United in third and the Blades could fall to as low as 6th after the weekend games after a really poor run of results. Without two key men in Paul Coutts and John Fleck, the upcoming run of tough away games means it will be a real challenge for Chris Wilder to get United back on track.
United made changes with Simon Moore back in for Jamal Blackman and George Baldock back in the side at right wing back. Chris Basham switched to centre back and there was no place for either Cameron Carter Vickers or David Brooks with Billy Sharp back starting and captaining the side.
United started the game well and an early penalty appeal when Duffy went to ground after a challenge and then Fleck recycled the play soon after but Flint cleared away. United kept coming and a good move saw the ball played over to the left and Duffy hit a stinging drive that was pushed away. City had a rare break and Baker headed wide from a corner. United kept moving the ball around and won a free kick after Duffy was brought down. From the resultant kick, Duffy hit a curling effort that hit the far post with Fielding motionless. The ball was knocked back in the box from Baldock but Clarke headed over under pressure.
Duffy then got in a good position again but his shot was at Fielding. Moore’s long kick then was played inside by Clarke and Sharp hit a rising drive that clipped the bar. United ill fortune continued when Sharp hit the post again soon after. From a Fleck corner, Sharp headed goalward and Fielding pushed the ball onto the bar and the visitors scrambled clear.
United had been very unfortunate not to lead and some incisive football and good chances had not led to the opening goal but against the run of play; Stevens missed his tackle and brought down his man but the ball fell into PATERSON. The winger drifted inside past O’Connell and hit a swerving shot that flew into the goal stunning the home crowd. Stevens was booked for his original foul. The half time whistle came not long after leaving many bewildered by the score line.
The second half saw United Push City back from the start and Sharp won an early free kick before the leveller came. Lundstram pushed the ball forward down the right-hand side and CLARKE drove forward before smashing the ball past Fielding with his right foot. A deserved equaliser and another goal for the man in form.
After this United came again and Duffy hit a superb swerving shot that hit the post and came out but Sharp took too long to react and his shot was blocked by the face of Flint. Basham then piled forward and Clarke had a shot blocked. It seemed the home side were in complete control but the game turned on the hour mark.
The ball was loose on half way and Fleck went in dangerously on Smith with both feet up and high. The City man was in some pain and the red card was the right decision.
United did try and keep attacking with Baldock having a shot blocked and Clarke also coming close. City had brought on an extra attacker in Taylor but United also went for it with Brooks and Donaldson on for Duffy and Sharp. City had a chance with a deflected effort that went past the post and then after a mistake by Stearman, City broke and Moore made a great reaction save to deny Taylor and the home side hacked away the rebound.
Despite having 10 men United were still well in the game as it entered the final stages and Carruthers had a chance but took too long and Wright made a timely tackle. This was crucial as after the corner was cleared, the visitors broke up the other end. Carruthers brought down Reid but his cross was perfectly played and the advantage was played and no one was marking FLINT who swept home expertly just as the additional five minutes of extra time was announced. It was a cruel blow for United who had looked the better side for long spells and been very unfortunate not to score more goal.
The stoppage time saw more frustration with a number of fouls not going the way of the home side and despite several balls pumped forward City held on without a further chance and the reaction of the respective sets of players at the end showed the contrasting emotions from the game. United’s fans applauded off the players for a good performance; albeit in a losing effort.