James Shield’s Player Ratings: How Chris Wilder’s team fared at Nottingham Forest

Sheffield United travelled to Nottingham Forest today
Sheffield United travelled to Nottingham Forest today

A second-half goal from Nottingham Forest's Lewis Grabban condemned Sheffield United to defeat at the City Ground this afternoon and saw them fall behind new leaders Norwich City in the race for promotion from the Championship.

Dean Henderson 6

Although Forest enjoyed a decent period of pressure midway through the opening period, the goalkeeper remained relatively untroubled until he was forced to dart off his line and clear as Lewis Grabban hunted down a long ball upfield. Powerless to prevent Forest’s winning goal.

Martin Cranie 6

The former Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough defender was making his United debut after being tasked with deputising for the suspended Chris Basham. Does not pose the same attacking threat at the former Blackpool midfielder turned centre-half. But Cranie does bring a wealth of experience and negotiated his way well through the game.

John Egan 7

After recovering from a hamstring complaint, the Republic of Ireland international was restored to the heart of United's back three. He proved why United had handed him an immediate recall with a series of excellent but barely noticed touches to prevent Grabban  breaking clean through. Proved he has position sense to go with his physical prowess.

Jack O'Connell 6

What you see is what you get from the 24-year-old, who blocked one first half pile-driver from a Forest attacker with his head. Once again, did not get into attacking positions as much as he would have liked although changes to United's shape and personnel made this difficult. Defended solidly though. As usual. 

Enda Stevens 6

A variety of factors, not least United's slight change of shape, meant the wing-back did not enjoy as many chances to run forward as usual. But he dealt with the defensive side of his job pretty well, cutting out the angles as Forest's midfield looked to send Grabban darting beyond.

Kieron Freeman 5

Born in the city, a former Nottingham Forest player and lifelong fan, this afternoon's match was a pretty big deal for the United wing-back. One of his crosses nearly led to a first-half opener for United but the ball, spinning through the air after taking a slight deflection, evaded both Leon Clarke and Billy Sharp before being cleared. Despite struggling, made an important block to deny Matty Cash after the interval and scored six for effort.

Oliver Norwood 6

Despite positioning himself behind John Fleck and Paul Coutts, Norwood created the first opportunity of the match but shot wide after two minutes. Always dangerous from deal ball situations, he swept in the corner Egan really should have converted just before half-time. But the defender headed the ball into the turf and wide of Costel Pantilimon's far post.

John Fleck 6

Pushed and probed without ever quite managing to burst out of a congested midfield. With the Steel City derby looking on the horizon, United will have been delighted to see him escape serious injury when Cash caught him knee high during the closing stages of the first-half.

Paul Coutts 6

This was a big afternoon for the Scot who, with Mark Duffy still recovering from injury, was making his first start since breaking a leg in November. Jack Robinson blocked an early shot, following Billy Sharp's lay-off, before settling into a more familiar midfield role. Withdrawn at the beginning of the second-half.

Billy Sharp 6

The United captain worked tirelessly as always. But, frustratingly and unfortunately given his finishing skills, few clear cut opportunities presented themselves. This was due, in part, to Forest's centre-halves. But also poor fortune, such as when a deflection to a cross left him facing the wrong way on the edge of the six yard box. He was left with no option but to pass, rather than shoot.

Leon Clarke 6

Like Sharp, the club's leading goalscorer last season tried to keep Forest's defence on their toes. Had a chance to score during the closing stages of the first-half but, after barging through the crowd, found himself off-balance and unable to turn Oliver Norwood's corner home.

Substitutes: David McGoldrick (Coutts, 55), Ben Woodburn (Cranie, 80), George Baldock (Freeman, 80).

Not used: Simon Moore, Richard Stearman, Marvin Johnson, Conor Washington.