Bristol City 2-3 Sheffield United: Blades edge to victory in five goal thriller
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/05/18 4:19pm
Leon Clarke, Billy Sharp and Kieron Freeman all struck in the first half as Sheffield United overcame Bristol City 3-2 at Ashton Gate.
Clarke opened the scoring after eight minutes, collecting the ball 30 yards out before unleashing a fine effort into the top corner which gave Frank Fielding no chance.
The Blades doubled their lead on the half-hour mark as Sharp connected perfectly with a right-footed volley, the ball striking the underside of the crossbar before crossing the line.
City were all over the place defensively and it was no surprise when United went three up, Freeman was given too much space before volleying home.
Aden Flint gave the home side hope when he converted Josh Brownhill's left-wing corner with a firm downward header.
And City reduced the deficit to a single goal with 15 minutes remaining, Joe Bryan netting with a superb left-footed free-kick from just outside the box.
But despite a rousing finish, City paid dearly for their first-half showing as their opponents moved above them by one place to finish 10th in the Championship table.
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Jamie Paterson headed over for City from a Bryan cross before top-scorer Bobby Reid wasted their best chance of the half, volleying wide from Korey Smith's chip into the box.
But, in truth, the Robins had been poor and the home fans vented their anger with loud booing at half-time.
Head coach Lee Johnson responded by sending on centre-back Hordur Magnusson for Paterson at the start of the second half, moving Lloyd Kelly to left-back and Bryan forward.
They upped their game and Flint's headed goal gave them a timely lift, and by the time Bryan netted they were on top.
But United remained dangerous on the break and although they were unable to add to their tally, Chris Wilder's men looked comfortable at the back as they held on.
Lee Johnson: "There was no intensity to our play in the first half, yet in the second we showed what a good side we can be. That sort of sums up our season. We can be very good or very bad, but overall it has been a good season for us. I tried a few things today, looking forward to next season, and selected some of our younger players.
"I know exactly what I need in the summer and, with the backing of the board, which I know I will get, I am sure the future is bright. Hopefully, we can hang onto our best players and build on what we have done this season. Injuries have hit us hard, so we need to add."
Chris Wilder: "I have nothing more to say about my position. That is for another day. Today I want to talk about my team and the achievement of a top 10 finish in the Championship with a bottom six budget. I would like to thank my staff and everyone involved.
"I found the support for me humbling. But it is the players who should take the credit for a great last day performance against a team who have also had a very good season."