Blades & Bantams Share Derby Bonanza

The Blades had taken the lead through Billy Sharp's header nearly midway through the first half. Former Blades Matt Kilgallon and Billy Clarke combined to restore the scores level on 35 minutes. The second half was only six minutes old when a well-worked free-kick saw Sharp pounce to put United ahead once more.

City hit back and in an eight-minute spell had driven the hosts 3-2 ahead, first through Hiwula and then Dieng put through. United responded positively and stretched their unbeaten run to ten matches when a corner flung into the box was scrambled home by Chris Basham in front of the 2,716 sell out away support.

Chris Wilder named an unchanged starting side to face the Bantams at Valley Parade, though he named the fit again O'Connell amongst the substitutes. Bradford was unable to name on-loan Sheffield United striker Marc McNulty against his parent club.

Pre-match expectations had dubbed this match as the 'biggest' of the season and this match didn't disappoint. There were too few changes in the early exchanges as both sides cancelled each other out, though Clarke ought to have done better from Law's cross.

The best opportunity came United's way 18 minutes in. Lafferty and Wright combined to win possession in the oppositions half, the ball found its way to Duffy and his cross evaded Vincelot and SHARP was unmarked to bullet his header into the top corner.

From a Coutts corner, United came mightily close to doubling their lead, Doyle failed to collect the cross but Lafferty fired wide but saw appeals for a corner turned down. Basham and Duffy went into the referee's book for a foul and soon afterwards United again went close. Duffy again floated a cross and Done timed his run onto the far post but couldn't steer the ball goal wards enough to beat Doyle.

The game had opened up more and on 35 minutes Bradford levelled when Kilgallon produced a low cross from the left, fired across a crowded box and CLARKE got there first to prod home on the back post. The final ten minutes of the first 45 was end-to-end stuff, Done was booked for a foul in stoppage time and the half ended with neither side creating further chances.

The first half had been an overwhelming advertisement for League One football then the 20,972 spectators would have been overjoyed at the second half which was to follow. With six minutes gone the Blades had retaken the lead, but this was only after they had seen a Sharp goal disallowed after he had been judged to have fouled Dieng. Sharp also fired over but the skipper wasn't to be denied his ninth of the campaign. A cleverly taken free-kick out wide saw Fleck unknowingly cross into the box and SHARP chased quickest and fired past Doyle from close range.

City responded well and showed their metal as to why they were above United in the table. Cullen tested Moore who pushed his effort away, although the referee mistakenly awarded a goal-kick. But the scores wee level again on the hour mark, Hanson miss-kicked a cross from the right but the ball fell kindly for HIWULA to finish at the far post. The game was action packed, Sharp was denied a hat-trick when he stung Doyle's palms.

It wouldn't be long until the game swung in the way of Bradford's advantage for the first time. Kilgallon again crossed into the box and was turned home by DIENG.

Scougall and Lavery entered the field as Wilder made his only changes of the game, replacing Done and Coutts with 20 minutes remaining. United were soon level as Fleck was involved again. His corner, this time from the left saw Hanson miss-kick again and BASHAM prodded home in a cluster of players, wheeling away in celebration in front of the travelling support.

Lavery put the hosts under pressure with 15 minutes remaining but the final efforts from Sharp saw Doyle again deny him his third. Hiwula headed against the crossbar late on at the other end following Law's cross, though Moore may have got a touch to prevent it rustling the net.

The final few minutes could have easily seen either side snatch a late win, Duffy shot at Doyle and City won a free-kick in the four minutes of stoppage time, but United defended well to see out the remaining time and share the spoils.

Bradford City: Doyle, Law, Vincelot, Dieng, Hanson, B. Clarke, Hiwula, Cullen, Knight-Percival, McArdle, Kilgallon. Unused: Darby, N. Carke, Marshall, Sattelmaier, Vuckic, Morais, Devine.

Sheffield United: Moore, Fleck, Basham, Sharp, Done (Scougall 70), Wright, Coutts (Lavery 70), Freeman, Ebanks-Landell, Duffy, Lafferty. Unused: Hussey, O'Connell, Brown, Ramsdale, Chapman.