Sheffield United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 02, 2019 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/44670

Sheffield United completed a first league double over Bolton since 1947/48, as they moved into the Championship's automatic promotion places.

After a scoreless first-half at Bramall Lane, in which neither side managed a single shot on target, the hosts wrapped up all three points after the break through goals from David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp.

It was the sixth time in seven games since the turn of the calendar year that Wanderers had conceded at least twice, a worrying statistic when Phil Parkinson's side have failed to net three times in a league fixture since the final day of last season.

Having come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Reading on Tuesday night, Wanderers lined up with two changes to the side that started against the Royals - with Josh Vela and debutant Callum Connolly taking the places of Craig Noone and the injured Pawel Olkowski.

Neither goalkeeper had a save to make inside the opening 45 minutes, with both teams failing to muster a single shot on target.

It wasn't for the want of trying, however, with Mark Duffy twice breaking free of the Wanderers defence in the first 10 minutes only to be denied on both occasions by outstanding defending from Jack Hobbs.

David Wheater, Hobbs' defensive partner for the afternoon, also showed his class at the back, blocking a goalbound strike from Enda Stevens midway through the half, moments before the Blades were halted once more than Hobbs deflected another effort from Stevens away.

Bolton's first chance of the afternoon arrived on the half-hour, with Connolly taking aim from distance with a shot that flew harmlessly wide of Dean Henderson's target.

The last-ditch tackles continued with 10 minutes of the half remaining, with Luca Connell this time the Wanderers hero as he charged down a strike from David McGoldrick.

The final chance of the opening period would also fall the way of the hosts, with John Fleck, like others before him, finding Wheater in the way as the sides went in goalless at the interval.

Despite that disappointing display, there were to be no changes from either manager as the players returned for the start of the second period.

With the action back underway, it was Bolton who came close to breaking the deadlock within five minutes of the restart as Connell's cross picked out former United forward Clayton Donaldson, whose header was straight at Henderson.

That miss would prove vital as, just six minutes later, the hosts went ahead as Sharps robbed possession from Hobbs before squaring for McGoldrick to tap into an empty net from close range.

Wanderers came close to levelling midway through the half after Jason Lowe lashed the ball across the face of goal, with Sammy Ameobi prodding wide with the goal at his mercy.

Josh Magennis was introduced for the final 20 minutes in an attacking change which saw Vela come off, a substitution which arrived moments before Connolly fired over the United crossbar as he got on the end of a cross from Andrew Taylor.

The game was over as a contest three minutes later, however, as a free-kick from Oliver Norwood picked out an unmarked Sharp inside the box and he made it 2-0 with a close-range header with found a way past Remi Matthews.

Chris Basham, once of Wanderers, hit an effort high and wide as he looked to add some gloss to the scoreline, shortly before Magennis was denied in a one-on-one with Henderson at the other end.

Three minutes of added time passed by without incident, even with the addition of former Trotters forward Gary Madine after his recent loan move to Sheffield United.

Defeat for Bolton leaves them three points adrift of safety in the Championship, ahead of next Saturday's Lancashire derby against Preston North End at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O'Connell, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Duffy (Stearman 76), McGoldrick (Madine 80), Sharp (Dowell 86)
Subs Not Used: Moore, Lundstram, Hogan, Johnson
Goals: McGoldrick 56, Sharp 73

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Taylor, Hobbs, Wheater, Lowe, Vela (Magennis 69), Connolly, Ameobi, Connell, O'Neil, Donaldson
Subs Not Used: B Williams, Buckley, Noone, Murphy, Wilson, Grounds
Booked: Connolly

Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 26,131

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Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Reading 44 46
21 Millwall 43 43
22 Rotherham United 44 40
23 Bolton Wanderers 44 32
24 Ipswich Town 44 28
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