Match Report: Sheffield United 2, Norwich City 1 - Billy Sharp's the hero with injury-time winner for the Blades

Billy Sharp's injury-time goal gave Sheffield United their first home win of the season against Norwich City this afternoon.

Saturday, 18th August 2018, 5:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th August 2018, 5:25 pm
Blades v Canaries

United had led from as early as the eighth minute, when John Egan pounced, before Sheffield Wednesday loanee Jordan Rhodes levelled for Norwich.

Rhodes then hit the post and Dean Henderson pulled off a superb save to deny Moritz Leitner, who was almost embarassingly offside, before Sharp pounced in stoppage time from David McGoldrick's intelligent pull-back to give United a deserved victory.

John Egan celebrates his goal

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With some of the pre-match media talk centering on last season's meeting here at Bramall Lane between the two sides, a quick start by the hosts was essential and Wilder made two changes from the victory at QPR last weekend, bringing in new signing Oli Norwood and Ben Woodburn for centre-half Richard Stearman, on his birthday, and Mark Duffy who was ill.

And after dominating the early exchanges, with Norwood and Egan particularly influential, it was fitting when the pair combined for United's opening goal. Norwood had a stinging effort deflected behind for a corner after being cleverly fed by Kieron Freeman and from the Northern Ireland international's resulting flag-kick, Egan rose highest to head home.

The effort looked to have initially been cleared off the line, before goalline technology intervened and referee Darren Bond confirmed United were ahead.

The goal, after just eight minutes, was nothing more than United deserved after a bright opening and Norwood showed his capabilities without the ball, too, with a superb crunching challenge on Teemu Pukki.

But the suckerpunch came before the half-hour mark when Rhodes, who before then was getting absolutely no joy against Egan, tapped home Norwich's equaliser from close range after a superb cross from Norwich dangerman Onel Hernandez.

The on-loan Wednesday man couldn't really miss as Hernandez's turn and inch-perfect centre caught out the United defence and Dean Henderson, and celebrated provocatively in front of the Kop.

United introduced Ryan Leonard for Woodburn at half-time, and went close to going ahead again when Jack O'Connell met Norwood's cross with an acrobatic overhead kick which Tim Krul pushed over the bar. At the other end Klose headed over from a corner for City after outjumping Chris Basham, before Enda Stevens' superb cross from the left somehow evaded everyone in the box and rolled away to safety.

Henderson then bailed United out with a commanding one-on-one stop as Norwich broke clear, although Moritz Leitner was at least ten yards offside when the ball broke to him via a deflection and the assistant referee failed to flag. Henderson, though, kept his composure and blocked superbly with his body, leading to an almighty roar inside Bramall Lane.

Henderson could do nothing moments later, though, when Rhodes hit the inside of the post from a dangerous corner. Norwich breathed a sign of relief with seven minutes left when Sharp squared the ball across the face of goal with Leon Clarke waiting to pounce, but a superb piece of defending from Hanley kept his side in the game.

Time appeared to be running out. Then, right at the death, Sharp pounced.

United: Henderson, Freeman (McGoldrick 61), Basham, Egan, O'Connell, Stevens, Fleck, Norwood, Woodburn (Leonard 46), Sharp (Stearman 90), Clarke. Subs: Moore, Lundstram, Lafferty, Lavery.

Norwich: Krul, Marshall, Klose, Hanley, Lewis, Leitner (Stiepermann 78), Trybull, Pukki (Srbeny 87), Hernandez, Tettey (Godfrey 90), Rhodes. Subs: Zimmermann, McGovern, Thompson, Aarons.