Sheffield United 2-0 Rotherham United: James Shield analyses the key talking points as The Blades climb to second in the Championship
The Star’s Sheffield United writer identifies some of the major issues to emerge from this afternoon’s South Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane.
He Never Disappoints
Although Jack O'Connell's finish belied the fact he is a centre-half, Sheffield United's opening goal came courtesy of another piece of ingenuity from Oliver Norwood. The midfielder, captaining Chris Wilder's team in Billy Sharp's absence, teed-up his colleague with a perfectly weighted and flighted corner. Norwood excels at dead ball situations and almost every one he takes charge of seems to result in either a glaring or half chance. It is difficult to remember the last one he wasted.
No Yellow Card
Norwood avoided the caution which would have ruled him out of Tuesday's home game against Brentford and the weekend visit to Leeds. But he must still negotiate safe passage through the meeting with Thomas Franks' team to avoid being banned for a game at Elland Road set to exert huge influence over who claims one of the Championship's two automatic promotion berths. If Norwood does get through that fixture without collecting his 10th yellow card of the campaign, his record will be wiped clean.
But One Red
Rotherham had been threatening to get back into the game when their captain, Will Vaulks, received his marching orders for a late lunge on George Baldock. Already frustrated by the apparent confusion about his use of a towel before taking long throws, the former Falkirk midfielder saw red for a poor challenge on the United's wing-back as he drove forward on the counter attack. Vaulks, who had lost possession seconds earlier, could have few complaints about referee Geoff Eltringham's decision.
A Show of Solidarity
In the 74th minute, moments after Mark Duffy had extended United's lead, all four corners of the ground broke out in applause as the crowd paid its respects to Joan Stewart, the wife of Rotherham chairman Tony, who had passed away earlier in the week. Yes, this was a derby. Yes, it was hugely significant for both clubs given their positions at opposite ends of the table. But it was also a reminder that, in a week where their motivations have been questioned, football supporters more often than not do exactly the right thing.