Sheffield United v Hull City: Blades continue serene progress on the pitch despite turbulence on it

Despite all the turbulence off the pitch, including protracted talks about a takeover and news they are now prohibited from signing players, Sheffield United continue to make serene progress on it following a hard-fought but crucial victory over Hull City.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Being placed under a transfer embargo on the eve of the game was not the ideal preparation for Paul Heckinbottom’s side, ahead of a meeting against opponents he suspected would prove tougher to pick apart than the table might suggest. And they did, but only after Daniel Jebbison’s early goal had fired United in front.

As good as Jebbison was - and he was very, very good after justifying his selection in attack - Iliman Ndiaye was even better. With more tricks than Dynamo and an ability to seek out and create space in even the tightest situations, the Senegal international once again demonstrated he is destined for bigger things than England’s second tier. The same surely goes for United as a whole, with Jebbison’s finish laying the foundations for a victory which strengthened their grip on an automatic promotion berth. Still, as the sanction imposed by the English Football League reminded following his employers’ failure to settle a debt, there are still plenty of challenges for Heckingbottom to overcome before that target is reached. Most of which, with United now unbeaten in nine outings and having won all but one of those, he might well discover are set by their own awkward financial position rather than rival clubs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

City, however, did make a better of fist of things during the second-half until an act of rank stupidity by Benjamin Tetteh left them at a numerical disadvantage. The Ghanaian saw red for moving his head towards fellow substitute Oli McBurnie. Cue a look of utter disbelief from his manager Liam Rosenior.

One of Heckingbottom’s greatest achievements so far this term, even more impressive than the fact his team are now 14 points clear of third, has been insulating it from the chaos behind the scenes. The 45-year-old has a penchant for making bold decisions too and, before anyone had broken sweat, one of those paid off in perfect fashion. Anel Ahmedhodzic and Jayden Bogle, making his 50th appearance for United, edged the ball forward before finding Iliman Ndiaye whose attempt deflected into Jebbison’s path allowing the teenager to stab home. It was his first senior effort at Bramall Lane and, with Heckingbottom noting City’s improved organisation under Rosenior beforehand, utterly crucial too.

Robbed of the chance to make this contest an arm wrestle, City’s desire to force their way back in presented United with a series of openings to try and exploit. Bogle saw a close-range attempt hacked behind for a corner while Matt Ingram was required to scramble clear from Sander Berge, who later glanced a header over the crossbar.

Sheffield United's Daniel Jebbison celebrates his goal against Hull City at Bramall Lane: Andrew Yates / SportimageSheffield United's Daniel Jebbison celebrates his goal against Hull City at Bramall Lane: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield United's Daniel Jebbison celebrates his goal against Hull City at Bramall Lane: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

With United failing to extend their advantage, City’s confidence inevitably grew as the match progressed. But the hosts’ still carved openings, with a touch from a defender diverting substitute Billy Sharp’s centre away from Ndiaye who was poised and ready to pounce.

Sheffield United: Foderingham, Lowe, Bogle, Robinson, Egan ©, Ahmedhodzic, Norwood, Doyle (Osborn 69), Berge (Basham 80), Ndiaye (McBurnie 80), Jebbison (Sharp 69). Not used: Davies, Coulibaly, McAtee.

Hull City: Ingram, Coyle © (Tufan 62), Greaves, Jones (Elder 69), Docherty (Tetteh 62), McLoughlin, Estupinan, Seri, Slater (Longman 62), Christie (Smith 88), Connolly. Not used: Lo-Tutala, Woods.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).