Report: Sheffield United 1-2 Bristol City
Friday, December 8th 2017
Aden Flint’s late strike has kept the pressure on City’s automatic promotion-chasing rivals, after it secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Sheffield United.
Paterson struck on the stroke of half-time before the Championship’s top scorer, Leon Clarke, equalised shortly after the break. The Blades hit the woodwork four times but went down to ten men after John Fleck saw red at Bramall Lane.
But Flint sent the travelling City fans into party mode with a fierce shot as the 90th minutes arrived.
Lee Johnson made just one change to the side which beat Middlesbrough six days earlier, with Niclas Eliasson handed his second City league start ahead of Hordur Magnusson. The switch allowed Joe Bryan to return to left-back.
City were placed under a great deal of pressure from their hosts in the opening 45 minutes, with the Blades striking the woodwork three times.
Fleck almost sent a curling effort into the far left corner but the retreating Flint got back in time to clear.
Frank Fielding, making his first appearance after signing a new contract with the club, then denied a Mark Duffy shot, while at the other end Nathan Baker headed a Paterson cross narrowly wide in one of City’s few first-half opportunities.
The home side then went close to breaking the deadlock when Duffy crashed a free kick off Fielding’s left post before the Robins shot-stopper denied the Blades man with a low save.
The crossbar would go on to deny Billy Sharp, before superb reactions from Fielding saw the City keeper claw a Sharp header onto the bar.
But for all of their attacking dominance, it was City who went ahead just minutes before half time. The move started through Marlon Pack’s excellent defensive determination to steal the ball back inside his own half. City poured forward and Josh Brownhill slid a pass towards Paterson, with the former Nottingham Forest man driving a luscious effort beyond the diving Simon Moore.
Johnson would make three attacking changes in the second half; Milan Djuric, Matty Taylor and Jonathan Leko all entering the fray, but Sheffield United always looked a threat going forward themselves.
CLARKE STRIKES AGAIN
And City’s half-time lead wouldn’t last long as Leon Clarke, November’s Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month, equalised inside three minutes of the restart. He burst into the City area and blasted a shot into the far corner for his 14th goal of the campaign.
The hosts wanted more and came close when Duffy’s floated ball into the box hit the post again, with Sharp’s follow up smashed against the face of Flint, as City survived another scare.
FLECK SEES RED
But the Blades were reduced to ten men after Fleck’s two-footed crunch tackle on Korey Smith left the midfielder needing to be stretchered off.
City began to create more chances and Moore needed to push a Pack shot away before Brownhill fired off-target shortly afterwards.
It looked as if City would be taking another point from the city of Sheffield this season, but City's number four, Flint, had other ideas.
FANTASTIC NUMBER FOUR
City flung themselves forward with Bobby Reid chipping the ball into the box. That ball fell delightfully to the unmarked defender, who smashed the ball beyond Moore, to send the City players and fans into rapture.
City held on for the five minutes of added time to extend their unbeaten away run to 11 matches.
They remain third in the Sky Bet Championship, now three points ahead of the Blades, and have gone within three points of second-place Cardiff City.