The Star’s United writer James Shield identifies one ‘high’ and one ‘low’ to emerge from the game, as Chris Wilder’s side remained in the hunt for European qualification.
High: “Outrageous” was how United’s social media gurus described Enda Stevens’ goal, which gave Wilder’s men the lead before Neal Maupay replied for Brighton and Hove Albion. That might have been pushing things a little bit too far, although everyone who loves football can get carried away in the heat of the moment. But it was certainly a superb finish and one, as Chris Wilder insisted afterwards, would have been played over and over and over again on television had it been scored by someone with a more glamorous name. The Republic of Ireland international has been in fine form for United all season and embellished his burgeoning reputation by rifling the ball into the roof of Mat Ryan’s net when the visitors failed to decisively clear a corner. The Albion goalkeeper was beaten at the near post. But also, which means no blame can be attached to the former Central Coast Mariners player, by the sheer power and speed of Stevens’ shot.
Low: Stevens, apart from a brief lull midway through the first-half, had been excellent for most of the afternoon before failing to reappear for the start of the second half. Wilder, the United manager, later confirmed he had been withdrawn as a precautionary measure after “reporting tightness in a calf.” Ben Osborn, Stevens’ replacement, acquitted himself well, despite being asked to perform in an unfamiliar role at wing-back. The midfielder, signed on loan from Nottingham Forest during the close season, demonstrated why Wilder wanted to bring him to Bramall Lane and will have done his pursuit of more regular football no harm at all. But Stevens is a key player for United and so it must be hoped he was removed before sustaining any serious damage. Speaking afterwards, Wilder appeared to play down fears the problem will rule him out of next month’s game against Norwich City, although Stevens could miss the forthcoming FA Cup tie at Reading.