Derby County 0 Sheffield United 2: Wilder's delight as Sharp nets against Rams once again

Billy Sharp’s second goal in three matches sealed victory for Sheffield United at Pride Park as Chris Wilder’s side beat Derby County in the third installment of their pre-season programme.

By James Shield
Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 8:22 pm
Billy Sharp of Sheffield United scores the Blades' second goal: Darren Staples/Sportimage
Billy Sharp of Sheffield United scores the Blades' second goal: Darren Staples/Sportimage

After Ben Osborn had given the visitors the lead during the closing stages of the first-half - producing a clinical finish against his hometown club - Sharp extended their advantage after combining with substitute Kean Bryan around a quarter-of-an-hour from full-time.

The strike followed his effort against Dundee United a week earlier, although that fixture was later abandoned because of a violent storm sweeping across Tayside.

With so many members of his squad either away on international duty, being nursed back from injury of self-isolating at home as Covid-19 continues to cast a shadow over football, the starting eleven Chris Wilder selected bore little resemblance to the one of hopes will take to the pitch when Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Bramall Lane on September 14.

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So although opportunities to work on tactics, strategies and shape were limited, the meeting with Phillip Cocu’s side still proved to be a worthwhile exercise - with youngsters Regan Slater again impressing and Rhys Norrington Davies, another Steelphalt Academy graduate, demonstrating why he is destined to become a first team regular for United in the not so distant future.

Ultimately, however, it was two established members of Wilder’s senior squad who made the difference against spirited, talented and tenacious opposition - whose best work came on the counter attack, although Jack Marriott went close with an overhead free-kick just before the interval.

Osborn slid home from inside a crowded penalty area after George Baldock had squared up to his marker following an incident near the touchline.

Wes Foderingham, making his first appearance since arriving on a free transfer from Rangers earlier this summer, remained relatively untroubled between the posts as United’s grip on the contest tightened following the interval.

With Aaron Ramsdale spirited away by England’s under-21’s, the 29-year-old reminded United now have two fine goalkeepers at their disposal; doing the basics well as you would expect of someone who survived the Old Firm for five highly pressurised seasons, as well as impressing with his footwork and organisational skills.

With Wilder also acknowledging United must improve their returns in the final third next term, he will have been delighted to see Sharp continue his good form. Kean Bryan provided the assist for the captain’s strike, flashing a fine centre across Derby’s penalty area which was duly turned home.

Derby County: Roos (Ravas, 62), te Wierik, Evans (Davies, 79), Forsyth (Clarke, 45), Bogle (Solomon, 45), Buchanan (Lowe, 45), Bird, Shinnie (Brown, 79), Holmes (Ibrahim, 62), Sibley (Whittaker, 62), Marriott (Shonibare, 79)

Substitutes: Stretton, Borkovic.

Sheffield United: Foderingham, Basham, Jagielka, J Robinson, Baldock (Brunt 73), Norrington-Davies (Bryan 63), Slater, Norwood, Osborn, Sharp, Mousset (McBurnie 46). Not used: Verrips, Gordon, Hackford, Graham, Broadbent.