Sheffield United 2-0 Ipswich Town: The Key Talking Points
The Star’s Sheffield United writer James Shield highlights some of the key themes to emerge from today’s game, as goals from Scott Hogan and Jack O’Connell leave Chris Wilder’s side on the verge of being mathematically promoted to the Premier League.
The Result Sheffield United might not have a 'P' next to their name yet. But they will do soon. This win, which lifted them to the top of the Championship, at least until the end of Norwich City's game against Blackburn Rovers tonight, means they are now six points ahead of third placed Leeds. Marcelo Bielsa's men face Aston Villa at Elland Road tomorrow but crucially possess a vastly inferior goal difference.
The First Goal Scott Hogan's second goal since arriving on loan from Aston Villa came following some excellent work on the edge of the box from Mark Duffy and a fine Jack O'Connell centre. Both of those players are veterans of the United team which lifted the League One title two years ago, proving that talent from the lower tiers, when coached properly, can make the difference even at this level. But, more about Hogan. Wilder had tried and fail to sign him last summer before returning in January. His strike repaid the manager's faith. And some. O’Connell added the second after the break.
That Pass Despite already proving too clever and too technically accomplished for most Championship defenders to handle, David McGoldrick continues to set himself new standards. His pass to George Baldock, which nearly saw the wing-back double United's lead after Hogan's first-half finish, was a joy to behold. Ipswich manager Paul Lambert, once a mighty fine player himself, must have felt like nodding his head in appreciation. Oh, and wondering why on earth his employers allowed McGoldrick to leave Portman Road for nothing before his appointment.
The Mask Slips Chris Wilder still refused to admit United are up when he was interviewed immediately after the final whistle. But, his voice cracking with emotion when asked about the implications of the result, it was clear the 51-year-old knew his team have one and 99 per cent of the second now in the Premier League. Given the challenges they have faced and hurdles they have overcome, deservedly so.
The Title Beating Ipswich saw United climb to the top of the Championship, above Norwich City who face Blackburn Rovers at Carrow Road tonight. A point will guarantee Daniel Farke's men a top two finish. But the title race, because United have a better goal difference, looks set to be decided on the final day. Unless City produce an absolute avalanche of goals against the visitors from the North-West.