Sheffield United 1-0 Ipswich: Blades continue fine start
By Press Association
Last Updated: 14/10/17 6:32pm
Sheffield United continued their superb start to the season with a 1-0 win over Ipswich, putting them level points on with Sky Bet Championship leaders Cardiff.
Chris Wilder's team sit in second place following Chris Basham's winner against the Tractors Boys. It was the fifth victory at Bramall Lane for United this season, while the Blues' early-season away woes continued, with the narrow loss their fourth consecutive defeat on the road.
The home team controlled the majority of the first half before making the pressure count early in the second when Basham headed home the only goal of the game. Both sides hit the crossbar but Ipswich were perhaps fortunate to lose the game by only the one goal.
The Blades started the game brightly, with Enda Stevens and Leon Clarke combining well down the left. The latter nearly made the perfect start on his return to the starting line-up, but he could not quite reach his wing-back's cross.
United, who started the game knowing a big win could send them top of the league, continued to control the game with Clarke and Basham fluffing half-chances and Stevens seeing his teasing cross miss everyone.
It was not until late on in the first half that Ipswich began to threaten the home side. Cameron Carter-Vickers made a mess of a clearance on the edge of his box, which the in-form Martyn Waghorn struck fiercely but Jamal Blackman did well to push it behind for a corner.
The home side were then dealt a huge blow when Kieron Freeman stayed down inside the box, after David McGoldrick had shot narrowly wide of the right post. Freeman, making his return from injury, was taken off on a stretcher in the 40th minute after lengthy treatment on the pitch and was replaced by Jake Wright.
Centre-back Jonas Knudsen spoiled the Blades last hopes of ending the half in front, intercepting Sharp's square ball to Clarke inside the box.
It did not take much longer for the deadlock to be broken, though. After some great work on the left with Clarke, Jon Fleck delivered the ball into the box and Basham (49) headed powerfully past Tractor Boys 'keeper Bartosz Bialkowski to put the Blades 1-0 up.
Ipswich almost replied immediately when Waghorn found himself with some space in the box and sent a curling effort crashing off the bar. A few minutes later, Clarke smashed one off the crossbar too, with a well-timed volley from inside the box. Clarke went close again, but could not generate power on his header from Mark Duffy's looping cross.
Chris Wilder: "I'm delighted. It was a good performance with a good result because we didn't do that last time out against Nottingham Forest. We got our rewards for a decent, solid display. To keep a clean sheet with the players they've got at the top of the pitch is very pleasing.
"Kieron Freeman is going for a scan on Monday. It was a collision in the box but I ask the players to play for us and put their bodies on the line and sometimes these things happen, so that's disappointing for him. He'll have a period out, but I don't know how long that's going to be. We'll find out when the scan comes back. I can't remember the last time Chris Basham scored but he's played a part in about 140 points in the last two years so that's not bad."
Mick McCarthy: "I'm pretty annoyed we've lost the game. I thought they started well, but I thought we grew into it and it's a very good goal for them but a very poor goal for us to concede right from start to finish. Little mistakes all over and it ends up in the back of the net.
"I had to change the way we were playing as they were having too much of the ball. When I changed it to the 4-3-3, we stemmed the tide, somewhat, coming our way and I thought we had some chances then. It's fine margins and we've blinked unfortunately and they've got the goal."