Sheffield United 1-2 West Brom: Baggies fight back to leapfrog Blades
Match report and highlights as West Brom turn it around against Sheffield United
By Frederick Clayton
Last Updated: 15/12/18 1:31pm
West Brom came from behind to beat Sheffield United 2-1 with goals from Gareth Barry and Kieran Gibbs.
United were rewarded for their early dominance as Mark Duffy found David McGoldrick (12), who calmly slotted past Sam Johnstone to put the Blades in the lead.
Against the run of play, Barry equalised (41) for the Baggies with a fierce strike after good work by Harvey Barnes.
West Brom started the second half strongly and after missing a glorious opportunity, Barnes back-heeled for Gibbs (75) who needed just one touch to fire the Baggies ahead from six yards.
Sheffield United: Henderson (6), Baldock (6), Stevens (5), Fleck (6), O'Connell (6), Basham (7), Sharp (5), Egan (5), Norwood (6), McGoldrick (7), Duffy (8)
Subs: Brunt (n/a)
West Brom: Johnstone (6), Adarabioyo (7), Dawson (7), Hegazi (6), Gibbs (7), Livermore (6), Barry (7), Phillips (6), Barnes (8), Gayle (6), Rodriguez (6)
Subs: Coutts (6), Washington (5), Johnson (n/a)
Man of the match: Harvey Barnes
The result means that West Brom leapfrog United into third place and are now just three points adrift of second-placed Leeds, albeit having played a game extra.
Sheffield United started well as West Brom struggled to cope with their high line and the lively Duffy. Inevitably, it was Duffy who eventually found the space to cut open the West Brom backline, feeding the ball through to McGoldrick who coolly found the right hand corner of the Baggies goal.
McGoldrick and Billy Sharp sought to double their side's lead, and Duffy continued to orchestrate proceedings for the Blades, but West Brom slowly grew into the game and tightened up their shaky defence.
Barnes created the equaliser just before half-time as he surged past Chris Basham following Oliver Norwood's poor pass and pulled the ball back across the face of Dean Henderson's goal. It looked as though the chance was gone until Barry appeared from midfield to guide the ball into the top corner.
Chris Wilder brought Billy Sharp and Mark Duffy back into the lineup following injuries for the pair. Darren Moore named an unchanged lineup from the side that drew 2-2 with Aston Villa last time out.
West Brom ended the half strongly and came out with the momentum on their side as they pushed for a second. A second looked a certainty when Dwight Gayle found Barnes through on goal, but his dinked effort was tipped over the bar by the onrushing Henderson.
Barnes quickly found redemption by creating the winner, as he expertly took down a cross outside the six-yard box, before backheeling to the overlapping Gibbs who took his chance first time for just the fifth club goal of his career.
The win means West Brom snatched third place from Sheffield United, who slip down to fourth. A game in hand for Derby and Middlesbrough could mean the Blades find themselves in sixth by the end of the weekend.
Chris Wilder: "For the first 30 to 35 minutes, we dominated a really good side and should have been possibly two or three up. We caused them a lot of problems and should be out of sight.
"We made some really poor decisions after about 35 minutes and just allowed them a foot-hold in the game by giving the ball away really cheaply. Belief drained out of us a little bit, which is not like us. In the second half they were the dominant team. They were physically stronger."
Darren Moore: "I thought it took us 20 to 25 minutes to grow into the game. Sheffield United started really well. They moved the ball around well and they ask questions of you. It's always difficult to come to Bramall Lane with the passionate support they've got, but we got to grips with the game, got the goal and went into half-time feeling a little bit better.
"It was one of those nights when you have to dig in deep as a group and as a unit. I knew it was going to be a hard task tonight, but each and every single one of them rose to the challenge.
Man of the match - Harvey Barnes
Barnes terrorised the Blades' defence during the second half and more than made up for a woeful miss by setting up both of Albion's goals.
Sheffield United travel to Ipswich Town next weekend, while West Brom face another away trip, this time to Rotherham.