Sheff Utd 0-1 Bolton - 30-Dec-2017 : Match Report

30 December 2017
Madine lands sucker punch on record-chasing Blades

Bolton clinched their first away victory since August by beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

Gary Madine's first-half goal was enough to destroy the Blades' hopes of breaking another record as three points would have taken them to their highest points tally ever in a calendar year.

United began to probe early on as Mark Duffy worked his way around Reece Burke in the Bolton defence. His cross found Billy Sharp in the area, but the chance came to nothing as he headed wide.

Former Sheffield Wednesday player Madine returned to haunt United fans after he broke the deadlock 21 minutes in. A low cross was drilled through the United defence and onto the toes of the Bolton striker, who tucked away the close-range effort.

John Fleck picked up a yellow card just before the half-hour mark after a late challenge on a Bolton player.

Blades manager Chris Wilder decided after 31 minutes it was time to switch things up, introducing George Baldock for Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Robinson picked up a booking after kicking the ball away from a United player as he went to collect for a throw-in.

Ben Alnwick was called into action after blocking a shot that was rifling towards the bottom right of his net. The Bolton stopper was quick to get down and parry the shot out of play.

Leon Clarke squandered a chance to level the scores. Duffy's through ball into Clarke was perfectly weighted yet Clarke could not divert the ball past Alnwick, who rushed out to meet him.

Clarke came into the second half looking to turn things round sooner rather than later. The striker created numerous chances but struggled to find the back of the net.

A great display of trickery from Madine on the left flank, touching the ball through the legs of a defender and surging into the box, ended when his shot went straight to the feet of the keeper.

United's best chance of the half glanced wide of the post off Jack O'Connell's head after Fleck's free-kick was whipped in.

United's second substitution of the day saw captain Sharp retire to the bench as Will Buckley, who missed the starting line-up due to concerns over his fitness, was introduced.

The 28,000 home supporters erupted in the 66th minute only to be silenced by the palms of Alnwick, who leaped to deny Baldock's attempt from inside the area.

Clarke's missed effort in stoppage time was United's best hope of snatching a point. He was positioned inside the six-yard box when the ball came in but somehow his effort went over the bar.

Source: PA