Bolton 0-3 Sheffield United: Blades ease to victory
Bolton's unbeaten start comes to an end against Sheffield United
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 25/08/18 6:29pm
Bolton's unbeaten start to the Championship season came to a shuddering halt as they were beaten 3-0 by Sheffield United at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Phil Parkinson's side never recovered from a nightmare start which saw them concede twice in the first 22 minutes with goals from Mark Duffy and Kieron Freeman.
The Blades then wrapped up a fully deserved win with a third goal in the 73rd minute from John Fleck.
Bolton had won three and drawn one of their opening four Championship games but they were dominated by the Blades who rarely looked threatened.
Duffy gave United a fifth-minute lead as he stroked home from 12 yards after some good work on the right by Chris Basham.
Bolton can't say they weren't warned - Enda Stevens had a first-minute shot blocked before Fleck's effort was palmed onto the bar by Wanderers goalkeeper Ben Alnwick.
United, who lost their first two games of the season, doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute when a weakly-struck, harmless-looking cross by Freeman was dummied by Leon Clarke and Alnwick was stranded as the ball crept in at the far post.
A solo run from Fleck in the 33rd minute again unlocked the Bolton defence but his chip ended up on the roof of the net.
There were some promising signs from Bolton at the end of the first half with Will Buckley seeing his close-range header well saved by Dean Henderson before a first-time shot from David Wheater was scrambled off the line.
Just two minutes after the restart, Alnwick was called into action again as he had to tip over a fiercely-hit 30-yard shot from David McGoldrick, a replacement for Clarke for the second half.
Buckley received a yellow card for simulation as Bolton appealed in vain for a 55th-minute penalty.
Wanderers then made a double attacking change in the 61st minute which saw Erhun Oztumer and Yanic Wildschut replace Luke Murphy and Buckley.
United remained relatively untroubled as they controlled possession with Basham seeing a low hard shot beaten away by Alnwick.
The Blades then wrapped up the win in the 73rd minute as Fleck swept home a low cross from Stevens.
Phil Parkinson: "We started slowly and we got punished for that. We have been gritty and resilient at the start of the season but we were really loose in that first 20 minutes and got punished for it.
"All the basic things that we have been doing so well to make sure we stayed in games we didn't do and that gave a good Sheffield United team a lift."
Chris Wilder: "We are moving forward nicely. We know what to expect when we come here and it was really important we started off on the front foot and got the first goal.
"We should have got the first goal after two minutes, we should have got a third after three minutes. For us to get that goal then double it up really gave them a big problem and it was a good afternoon for us. I thought there were some really good performances but the attitude of the team was excellent. We turned up and got our rewards."