Sheffield United's title-winning youngsters book play-off final date with Birmingham City after hammering Ipswich Town 4-0
Sheffield United’s title-winning youngsters breezed into their U23 play-off final after hammering Ipswich Town 4-0 at Bramall Lane.
Will Osula scored a remarkable nine-minute hat-trick after Andre Brooks was gifted the opening goal as the young Blades booked their place in the final, where they will face Birmingham City.
United have beaten City twice already this season, including a 5-0 win back in March, and are one game away from ending a northern title-winning season with more silverware.
The opening exchanges of the game were more even than the final scoreline suggested and United were given an early warning when Colin Oppong raced clear toward Jordan Amissah’s goal in the first few minutes, Harry Boyes taking a yellow card for the team to snuff out the danger.
But United pulled away from the visitors once they took the lead through Brooks, in farcical circumstances. Ipswich’s defence persisted with trying to play out from the back, despite several warnings, and Brooks was gifted the ball at his feet for possibly the easiest goal he will ever score.
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Amissah was forced into a smart save from Simpson to keep it 1-0 after a ball over the top caught out the Blades’ back three, and moments later it was 2-0 as U18 striker Osula’s effort just about crept over the line after he lifted the ball over Ipswich ‘keeper Bert White.
White was beaten again after 37 minutes, when Osula’s shot squirmed through him, and Osula sealed a nine-minute hat-trick with a close-range finish after Hassan Ayari and Femi Seriki combined down the right.
Zak Brunt was close to a fifth in the second half when his shot clipped the top of the crossbar, and Osula was denied a fourth when his header from Boyes’ cross was palmed away by White in front of the Kop.
Blades substitute Antwoine Hackford almost got in on the act with his first touch when Ipswich gave the ball away again in defence, but Osula’s pass to Hackford was cut out.
Town captain Bailey Clements then cleared Boyes’ shot off the line but the damage was long done.
Blades: Amissah, Seriki (Hall, 61), Gordon, Graham, Gomis, Boyes, Neal, Brunt (Maguire, 61), Brooks, Osula, Ayari (Hackford, 70). Not used: Dewhurst, Cappello.