Match Report: Sheffield United 1-2 Swansea City
Sheffield United made an unspectacular start to the new Championship season, surrendering the lead they had worked tirelessly to build inside a sun-drenched Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United made an unspectacular start to the new Championship season, surrendering the lead they had worked tirelessly to build inside a sun-drenched Bramall Lane.After over an hour of sweat, toil and tension, George Baldock's perfectly-crafted finish appeared to have set Chris Wilder's side on course for a hard-fought win over a Swansea City side relegated from the Premier League last term.But first Oli McBurnie and then substitute Yan Dhanda, with his first touch of the game, turned the conteston its head and condemned United to defeat which revealed why they are attempting to draft-in attacking reinforcements before next week's transfer deadline. A little ring-rust, particularly after a long summer, was inevitable. But there is clearly still plenty for them to work on, despite making some potentially excellent acquisitions so far.Wilder has never been one to shy away from big decisions and he made two before the match had even got underway. David McGoldrick, among three debutants in United's starting eleven, was preferred to captain Billy Sharp in attack while John Lundstram edged out his fellow Liverpudlian Mark Duffy. Lundstram'spresence brought a different dynamic to United's midfield play but, despite his part in Baldock's strike, stripped it of a little creativity. But, for the opening five minutes, Wilder's men adapted well until Jeremy Simpson's aversion to any sort of contact put both the brakes on their own fast start and helped City establish a foothold. It meant severalearly tests of Dean Henderson's handling and the United bench's patience, in light of the English Football League's introduction of red and yellow cards for coaching staff. When Federico Fernandez went down clutching face after a seemingly innocuous challenge midway through the first-half, even the usually mild-mannered Alan Knill was moved to jab a finger or two towards the opposition's bench. The beginning of the second saw City, packing operations in the centre of the pitch, muster a head of steam. United, who usually thrust themselves onto the front foot and then continue to balance on it come what may, became increasingly careless in possession. That was until McGoldrick and Lundstram went close in quick succession and Baldock, coolness personified, found the back of the net with a low drive just past the hour. There had been times in the game where United had been guilty of being a little toopatient but, on this occasion, they were perfectly justified as Lundstram kept the move going when manyinside the stadium were baying for him to pump the ball forward.When Henderson produced an excellent save to deny Jay Fulton an equaliser - arcing his back beforepalming a looping header to safety - United's confidence appeared to grow. But McBurnie punctured it, atleast to a degree, when he dragged City level from close range. United will have cursed their misfortune asJack O'Connell's sliding block fell kindly for the former Barnsley loanee. But City will argue they deservedto be on level terms. Worse was to come, from United's perspective at least, when Dhanda hit the targetonly seconds after coming on.Potter, who forged his reputation in Swedish football with Östersunds FK, admitted to a few pre-match nerves as he prepared to take charge of City in a competitive fixture for the first time. Although his appointment, coupled with his employer's relegation from the Premier League, means Potter's squad hasentered a period of transition, plenty of quality remains at his disposal. Martin Olsson, fresh from representing Sweden at this summer's World Cup, forced Henderson to gather at the second attempt with a rasping free-kick after the youngster had already collected an earlier set-piece.John Fleck, the dynamo of United's engine room, responded with an angled drive of his own which had Kristoffer Nordfeldt scrambling across his line but rose over the crossbar. Lee Evans was the next United player to show, his low shot blocked after Lundstram, Clarke and Fleck had combined to work the ball intoCity's penalty area. The move, and its outcome, was symptomatic of the contest so far; plenty of promise but no end product.McGoldrick tried his luck from range in an effort to break the deadlock but his shot was deflected away to safety and Jack O'Connell headed the resulting corner behind at the far post.Sixty-two minutes had passed when Baldock edged United in front, steering the ball home in front of The Kop through a crowd of legs. But United's lead did not last long as, eight minutes later, McBurnie scrambled home from close range after O'Connell's clearance fell straight into his path. Then Dhanda sent Potter into dreamland and Wilder turning angrily back towards his own dug-out.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Egan, Fleck, O'Connell, Basham (Duffy 87), Lundstram(Sharp 79), Evans, Clarke, McGoldrick (Woodburn 72). Not used: Leonard, Stearman, Lafferty, Moore.Swansea City: Nordfeldt, Olsson, Van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Celina, Carroll, Asoro (Montero 63), McKay,Roberts, Fulton (Dhanda 85), McBurnie. Not used: Dyer, Grimes, Roden, Arnat, Mulder.Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)Attendance: 24, 654.Goals: Baldock, McBurnie, Dhanda.