Sheffield United: Oliver Norwood scores twice as The Blades beat Northampton Town
Two years after securing promotion back to the Championship by beating Northampton Town, Sheffield United continued their preparations for the new Premier League season with another victory at Sixfields.
Oliver Norwood, a driving force behind the visitors climb out of the second tier last season, scored twice from the penalty spot as Chris Wilder's side bounced back from Tuesday's defeat by Burton
The United manager, who handed new signing Callum Robinson his first start since leaving Preston North End, also saw David McGoldrick go close on numerous occasions against the club he led out of League Two before jolting the one he has supported since childhood back into life.
Before Norwood broke the deadlock - after Robinson's heels had been clipped in the box - McGoldrick had begun his personal duel with David Cornell by forcing the Town goalkeeper to make a smart reaction save. McGoldrick also headed wide after meeting Jack O'Connell's cross but it was Norwood who opened United's account for the afternoon midway through the first-half.
Although Town, now managed by former United defender Keith Curle, caused problems with their enthusiasm, they predictably found chances hard to create against opponents heading for the top-flight.
When Kieron Freeman was brought down moments before the interval, Norwood stepped-up again to stretch United's advantage.
Town nearly reduced the deficit when Ryan Watson saw a free-kick sail beyond Simon Moore but not his left hand post. McGoldrick, who had earlier fired over the crossbar, was thwarted by Cornell again after dancing through the hosts' defence while Luke Freeman also caught the eye after coming on as a substitute.
Northampton Town: Cornell, Martin (Williams 64), Bunney, Lines (Oliver 46), Turnbull, Goode (Hall-Johnson 58), Hutton Pollock 68), Smith (Yebli 46), Williams (Warburton 46), Watson (McWilliams 60), Hoskins (Simpson 67). Not used: Arnold, Williams, Hughes.
Sheffield United: Moore, Stevens (Bryan 76), Fleck (Slater 87), O'Connell, Lundstram (Sharp 61), Robinson (L Freeman 46), Egan (Stearman 76), Jagielka (Basham 58), Norwood, McGoldrick (Clarke 61), K Freeman (Baldock 61). Not used: Dewhurst, Brunt, Boyes.
Referee: Andy Woolmer