MX23RW : Sunday, December 9 22:22:04
Oct 3, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Ewood Park (Blackburn, Lancashire)
BlackburnBlackburn Rovers
0-2
Sheff UtdSheffield United
FT(HT: 0-0)
Sharp (66', 79')

Result: Rovers feel the Sharp end as Blades beat Blackburn

Billy Sharp scored the goals that won the match at Ewood Park.

Billy Sharp’s double gave Sheffield United an emphatic 2-0 win at Blackburn Rovers to move them level on points with the Sky Bet Championship leaders.

United’s captain was in the right place at the right time twice in the second half with a close-range tap-in and then a header.

It was the least Chris Wilder’s team deserved after a performance full of swagger that gave the Blades their first win on this ground since November 1986, when their captain was only 10 months old.

It would have been a much greater margin of victory but for Rovers goalkeeper David Raya, who distinguished himself, but ultimately there was to be no reward, as United notched a fourth win in five away games this season.

The result ends Blackburn’s 25-match unbeaten home run – a post-war club record – but they were outclassed by a more accomplished team.

Adam Armstrong was recalled after his goal-scoring cameo against Nottingham Forest at the weekend. Derrick Williams returned from injury in the other change for the injured Ryan Nyambe.

The early exchanges were dominated by probing United passing, ultimately unlocking a chance for Mark Duffy in the 25th minute, who swivelled and let fly with a rasping low drive that Raya did well to parry behind – a theme of the first half.

Sharp’s looping header soon after caused panic in the Blackburn box, and while Harrison Reed and Bradley Dack saw shots blocked, these were only fleeting sights of goal before Raya was called into action again.

First, he repelled a powerful downward header from former Rover Jack O’Connell and before the half ended, the Spaniard superbly tipped over a curling David McGoldrick effort before palming away John Fleck’s thunderous shot as the Blades moved through the gears.

Reed made a crucial block from Fleck after the restart, before O’Connell headed over from a corner when well placed.

Rovers changed shape and saw Amari’i Bell head over a fizzed Elliott Bennett cross, but United got the goal their play deserved in the 66th minute through a typically flowing move that saw Fleck play in McGoldrick on the left.

His searching low cross was met by the sliding Sharp, whose initial effort was partially blocked but he recovered to tap into the empty net.

And Sharp put the gloss on a dominant performance 11 minutes from the end, when he was on the end of an inch-perfect Enda Stevens cross to head in his eighth of the season from close range.

Substitute Conor Washington found the inspired Raya in his way late on, but it did not matter as the Blades soared to joint top of the league.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich21134438241443
2Leeds UnitedLeeds21126335181742
3Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd21114634241037
4Derby CountyDerby2111463124737
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom21106544301436
6Middlesbrough219932314936
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest21810332221034
8Aston Villa218854132932
9Birmingham CityBirmingham217953025530
10Stoke CityStoke217952725230
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn217952731-430
12Swansea CitySwansea218582523229
13Bristol City218582524129
14Queens Park RangersQPR218492531-628
15Preston North EndPreston216783235-325
16Wigan AthleticWigan2174102329-625
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds216692738-1124
18Brentford215793332122
19Hull City2156102130-921
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham214982132-1121
21Millwall2147102635-919
22Reading2146112634-818
23Bolton WanderersBolton2146111529-1418
24Ipswich TownIpswich2118121737-2011

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