Digital Football Journalist
Sheff Utd 1-0 Crystal Palace: John Lundstram gives Blades first Premier League win
Last Updated: 18/08/19 11:39pm
John Lundstram's goal gave Sheffield United their first Premier League win since 2007 by beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Bramall Lane.
Lundstram scored three minutes into the second half, turning home the rebound from Luke Freeman's shot after Vincent Guaita had palmed it into his path.
The Blades were well worth their first Premier League win since promotion against a lacklustre Palace side who tested Dean Henderson only once, when Andros Townsend's curling effort deflected off Jack O'Connell, but the goalkeeper adjusted well to keep it out.
Sheffield United: Henderson (7), Baldock (8), O’Connell (8), Basham (7), Egan (7), Stevens (7), Lundstram (7), Norwood (8), Fleck (7_, McGoldrick (5), Robinson (6).
Subs: Freeman (7), McBurnie (6), Jagielka (n/a).
Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Ward (5), Kelly (5), Dann (6), Van Aanholt (5), McArthur (5), Milijoevic (6), Meyer (4), Townsend (5), Benteke (4), Zaha (4).
Subs: Schlupp (6), McCarthy (5), Wickham (n/a).
Man of the match: Jack O'Connell
It was the hosts who enjoyed the better chances in a game lacking clear-cut opportunities, and David McGoldrick somehow fired at Guaita from four yards when totally unmarked, but Chris Wilder's side will be more than happy to settle for any win - and have now secured four points from their first two Premier League games.
United well worthy of victory
A wonderful atmosphere in South Yorkshire greeted the Blades' return to the Premier League after 12 years in the second and third tiers, but nerves dominated their early exchanges.
They nearly fell behind when O'Connell misjudged Chris Basham's glancing header allowing Christian Benteke in, but he shot straight at Henderson from a tight angle.
It didn't take long for the Blades to settle, and when they did they began to force Palace back, but struggled to break down a compact back four.
That made McGoldrick's scuff from George Baldock's low cross, scooped back into Guaita's arms with the goal gaping, all the more frustrating before half-time, but the Blades never let their level drop.
Within three minutes of the restart after half-time they had made up for that miss, when the marauding O'Connell teed up Freeman who turned and shot, with the low rebound falling for Lundstram to bury unopposed.
Briefly, Palace stuttered into life and Henderson was alert to stop Townsend's deflected effort deceiving him, but soon they were back to being second-best.
O'Connell got up to meet a cross and cushion a header goalwards which Guaita kept out with his legs, but that was it for clear-cut chances, as the hosts probed and harried without ever looking like they were in danger of conceding.
Chris Wilder: "We wanted a special atmosphere and we certainly got that and the players rose to it. It was a tight game, it's a difficult game for the opposition playing newly promoted teams because we've got that enthusiasm.
"We wanted to make sure that if anyone comes here, they have to earn the right and do a lot of good things to get that result. We were good and nicked a tight game.
"I thought the players defended direct play really well late on and it was just a real group effort - from supporters down to the players."
Roy Hodgson: "I didn't think we were good enough. First half we looked okay, in reasonable control, but when they scored we weren't anywhere good enough and they deserved their victory.
"I don't think we worked hard enough up front, were good enough technically or played good enough football to get back into the game after the goal - and that's born out by the fact we hardly had a shot in the second half.
"That's inadmissible, but why? I don't really know. The quality we have is far better than we showed in the second half. We showed some quality before half-time but in the second half we couldn't get back on level terms."
Man of the match - Jack O'Connell
Sheffield United's trademark 'marauding centre-back' made his mark in the build-up to the hosts' winner and caused problems every time he made tracks into the final third.
At the other end, he took on more aerial battles than anyone else in a Blades shirt and, for someone playing such an unusually influential role at both ends of the pitch, played his part in limiting Crystal Palace to very little in the way of chances.
- Sheffield United registered their first top-flight win over Crystal Palace since April 1973, ending a run of six top-flight games without a win against the Eagles (W0 D1 L5).
- For a third time in the last four seasons, Crystal Palace have failed to win either of their opening two Premier League games while also failing to score (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2019-20).
- Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram's 10 league goals have been spread across the top-four divisions in England.
Sheffield United host Leicester next weekend, looking for back-to-back home wins. Crystal Palace have the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford next Saturday at 3pm.