Anel Ahmedhodzic scored one and made one as Sheffield United squeezed home against 10-man Sunderland.
The game turned on a two-minute passage just past the half-hour mark when Sunderland were reduced to 10 men – and the Blades took the lead.
Dan Neil was dismissed by referee James Linington for dragging down James McAtee on the edge of the box and the hosts cashed in when Ahmedhodzic rose highest to powerfully head home Oliver Norwood’s inswinging left-wing corner. It was the Swedish-born Bosnia-Herzegovina defender’s first goal in three years.
Summer signing Ahmedhodzic then set up the second goal as the Sunderland defence were pulled apart.
Norwood’s pass, intended for Sander Berge, was dummied into the path of Ahmedhodzic – and his pullback from close to the right byeline set up Max Lowe’s neat right-foot finish at the near post.
Sunderland got one back on 55 minutes when John Egan’s poor pass to McAtee was intercepted by Jay Matete and Ross Stewart seized on the loose ball, playing in Lynden Gooch, who chipped past Wes Foderingham from outside the box.
But the visitors could not find another way through as Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades held on for their second win in four games this season.
In fact, they could have won by more. Berge went close to restoring United’s two-goal lead, when his shot was deflected on to the left post. Substitute Oli McBurnie was also an immediate threat when he came on.
He hit an angled shot straight at Anthony Patterson, who then made a good save to keep out Norwood’s well-struck curling effort, before twice more thwarting McBurnie.
- 28McAteeSubstituted forFleckat 66′minutes
- 7BrewsterSubstituted forKhadraat 66′minutes
- 29NdiayeSubstituted forMcBurnieat 74′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 13O’NienBooked at 65mins
- 6BatthSubstituted forAleseat 86′minutes
- 11GoochBooked at 72mins
- 24NeilBooked at 31mins
- 8EmbletonSubstituted forHumeat 54′minutes
- 20ClarkeSubstituted forDiamondat 86′minutes
- 21PritchardSubstituted forWrightat 54′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9SimmsSubstituted forMateteat 54′minutesBooked at 90mins
- James Linington
Match ends, Sheffield United 2, Sunderland 1.
Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, Sunderland 1.
Bailey Wright (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Reda Khadra (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Bailey Wright (Sunderland).
Offside, Sunderland. Bailey Wright tries a through ball, but Ajibola Alese is caught offside.
Jay Matete (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Reda Khadra (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jay Matete (Sunderland).
Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United).
Anthony Patterson (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Luke O’Nien.
Attempt blocked. Reda Khadra (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. John Egan (Sheffield United) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Oliver Norwood with a cross.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Anthony Patterson.
Attempt saved. Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Reda Khadra.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Anel Ahmedhodzic.
Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Dangerous play by Ajibola Alese (Sunderland).