Sheffield United 4-1 Hull: Leon Clarke scores four for high-flying Blades
By Press Association
Last Updated: 04/11/17 6:53pm
Leon Clarke scored four goals as high-flying Sheffield United came from behind to beat Hull 4-1 in the Sky Bet Championship at Bramall Lane.
Kamil Grosicki had given the visitors the lead in the 29th minute but four second-half goals from Clarke saw the Blades to victory.
Hull keeper Allan McGregor was called into action early on, making a good save to keep out Billy Sharp's close-range shot after a cross from Enda Stevens caused problems for the visiting defence. Grosicki found himself in space on the left wing and played a low ball across the face of goal but there was no-one there to apply the finishing touch.
Seb Larsson then had Hull's first effort on goal, a long-range strike which was palmed away by keeper Simon Moore. McGregor produced a superb save to prevent the hosts from taking the lead, keeping out Clarke's close-range header after the striker met a cross from Mark Duffy.
Grosicki then opened the scoring with a superb 25-yard effort, the ball going beyond Moore and into the roof of the net.
Fraizer Campbell unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty, claiming that a United defender handled the ball when blocking his route to goal. McGregor again came to his side's rescue, tipping Jack O'Connell's thunderous shot over the bar.
Grosicki had another chance to score when he sliced his shot wide from inside the area after Jarrod Bowen and Fikayo Tomori linked up well to create the opening. When McGregor was beaten towards the end of the half, Jarrod Bowen was on hand to head off the line at the far post from John Fleck's free-kick.
McGregor came to his side's rescue again, early in the second half, keeping out Clarke's header from close-range following a Fleck free-kick. When the ball fell to Stevens inside the area, the defender fired well over.
The equaliser came in the 53rd minute when Chris Basham whipped in a low cross from the right and Clarke found the net with a deft, near-post flick.
Sharp put a shot wide from inside the area while at the other end, Stevens made a fine interception to cut out the danger as Campbell threatened to break free. Clarke wasted a great opportunity, shooting straight at McGregor with the goal at his mercy and also firing over.
The impressive McGregor again thwarted the hosts when Sharp looked certain to score, saving the striker's shot with his legs. United continued to press with O'Connell powering a header wide from Duffy's corner.
The pressure paid off in the 76th minute when Duffy slipped the ball through to Clarke inside the area and the striker dinked the ball over McGregor. Clarke completed his hat-trick in the 80th minute with a far post header from Sharp's cross. He scored again two minutes from time after the Hull defence failed to clear to add the gloss to the win.
Chris Wilder: "We found ourselves one-nil down, completely against the run of play, so it was a big test of character for us, especially after the defeat at QPR. I just thought we showed exactly what we're about, with and without the ball. The belief the players had in themselves and each other was outstanding and it was a fully deserved result.
"I thought all of the players were outstanding. We had a few words with them after Tuesday night because we were not where we set our standards and we had to get back on it. Leon (Clarke) was outstanding and he has been. His performance was first-class. We were up against some talented individuals, but we are attacking players and teams as a group and that is key for us if we want to continue our form and our results."
Leonid Slutsky: "We are really broken after each goal. I tried to change the situation because in the last three matches we had the same situation. We concede a goal and we stop playing football. If we concede after 50 minutes, we stop after 50 minutes. Today we conceded after 55 minutes and we stopped after 55 minutes. Really, we don't have a strong mentality and we don't have team spirit.
"Of course it's very bad and I'm very angry. It's like two completely different teams playing before a goal and after a goal. I don't have the answer why. It's my job, I agree. It's not a question about somebody, it's about me. It is a very difficult time for me and of course I am worried. Now I have a lot of questions in my head and I don't have the answers. I will find the answers."