Sheffield United 0-1 Norwich: Canaries end Blades' winning run
Last Updated: 17/09/17 8:56pm
Norwich put an end to Sheffield United's three-match winning run as a single goal from Yanic Wildschut was enough to give the Canaries a 1-0 win over the Blades in a feisty encounter at Bramall Lane.
The game's only goal came on 23 minutes as Dutch midfielder Wildschut was found inside the penalty area before firing a shot a shot across goal which beat 'keeper Jamal Blackman and found the bottom corner.
It was perhaps a deserved lead for the away side who were seizing on loose balls from Sheffield United defenders who were lacking in concentration at the back for the opening quarter of the match.
However, it was the hosts who could have been in front before the goal. David Brooks did brilliantly to get past Tom Trybull on 16 minutes, but after bursting into the area saw his effort saved by Angus Gunn in the Norwich goal.
Going behind seemed to wake the Blades up, as they went in pursuit of finding an equaliser with a strong period of pressure towards the back end of the first half.
Ched Evans and Brooks both saw shots valiantly blocked by Norwich defenders after intricate passing on the edge of the area, before Marco Stiepermann's long-range effort flew wide for the visitors.
There was still time for one more United effort before the referee blew for half-time. Kieron Freeman managed to find space in the box before hitting an effort which was denied by Gunn.
The game's major talking point, though, came in the second half, as just after the hour mark Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was sent from his technical area.
Frustrated at how the game was going, Wilder lashed out at the Norwich water bottles as he went to give the ball back. As a result he was sent to the stands, much to the anger of the Blades' fans.
Aside from that the second period was rather uneventful as the home side struggled to break Norwich down as they looked content with their 1-0 advantage.
Josh Murphy hit one straight at Blackman for Norwich on 55 minutes, before the best chance of the second 45 for United came and went two minutes later. Mark Duffy's free-kick from the right was met by Evans, but he headed wide from a free opportunity inside the box.
Norwich, meanwhile, had two penalty shouts denied, both from challenges on substitute James Husband. He first went down under the challenge of a Blades man on 66 minutes, before referee Scott Duncan waved away more protests in the final 10 minutes after Blackman looked to have Husband down.
There were half chances at either end between the penalty claims, as Maddison's curled effort for Norwich was straight at the goalkeeper, before Nathan Thomas dragged one wide on 79 minutes for the hosts.
Deep into injury-time United could have forced an equaliser as Brooks collected the ball in the box but blazed his shot over the bar, a chance which summed up their afternoon.
That was as good as it got in the second half, though, as Norwich came away with all three points from a game where both sides failed to create many clear-cut opportunities.
Chris Wilder: "There were some time-wasting issues that are ridiculous. Referees have to do something about it. It breaks the flow of the game up when you're in the ascendancy. I went in their technical area, that was the problem Bit of a frustration, having five centre forwards out.
"I thought my team were outstanding for a new team in the division. I thought we deserved something from the game. They've taken the three points but there's a lot of pride that's been on show in the shirt today and I think that was recognised by the supporters."
Daniel Farke: "It feels like a big win, 100 per cent. Our defending attitude, our will to fight against setbacks. Our will to be in such an atmosphere, a really emotional atmosphere and to stand together. I felt like we were able to control the game with our defending. We had to be concentrated and focused, and to defend to the last second.
"I think we deserved this win, and it's good for our confidence and the general togetherness. It's a really important win for us today. I think we deserved to be in the lead at half-time because we had the chances. We had two or three really good chances at the goal. But we had to sit back deeper and concentrate on the defending."