Magnificent Blades ensure miserable return to Sheffield for Chris Wilder (Sheffield United 4-1 Middlesbrough)

10 March 2022

Chris Wilder endured a bruising return to Bramall Lane as Sheffield United hit Middlesbrough for four to move to fifth in the Championship table.

The Blades produced a magnificent display of attacking football to condemn their former manager to a punishing defeat on his first return to Sheffield since leaving the Blades in March 2021.

Sheffield United demonstrated their support for Ukraine as two boys held aloft a Ukrainian flag in the centre circle prior to the match at Bramall Lane.

On-loan Wolves attacking midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White was the visitors’ tormentor-in-chief, supplying captain Billy Sharp for the Blades’ second goal and then finding the net himself with an ingenious backheeled finish in the second-half.

United took the lead in the 22nd minute when Sharp engineered space on the left-side of the box and played a ball across goal.

Boro goalkeeper Joe Lumley could not get the ball safe and so Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge stroked home into an empty net.

The Blades quickly doubled their lead when Oliver Norwood robbed Jonny Howson of possession inside his own half, enabling Gibbs-White to hare down on the Boro goal.

The former England youth international kept his cool, teeing up Sharp who rolled the ball into the open goal.

Blades fans celebrate Billy Sharp’s goal which put Sheffield United 2-0 up on the night.

Boro missed a golden chance to halve the deficit when Isaiah Jones escaped down the right flank and pulled the ball back to Andraž Šporar however the Slovenian could only blaze over.

The Blades then spurned a superb chance to go three-nil up before the break when a telepathic one-two between Gibbs-White and Sharp saw the former race through on goal. The young man shot straight into Lumley however for a comfortable save.

United began the second-half with a similarly high intensity and Berge’s shot from range just evaded Lumley’s right post.

The Blades made it three in the 59th minute when Norwood’s corner found John Egan loitering at the far side of the box and his header set up Jack Robinson to rifle in a volley past Lumley.

The only blemish on a sensational night for the hosts came when a goalkeeping clanger from Wes Foderingham gifted substitute Folarin Balogun the opportunity to get Boro on the scoresheet.

United restored their three-goal cushion in the 79th minute as Ben Osborn’s cross from the right picked out Gibbs-White who crowned an exceptional performance with a scintillating backheeled volley into the bottom left corner.

The comprehensive victory moves the Blades to fifth in the Championship, one point behind fourth-placed Blackburn Rovers with a game-in-hand, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Coventry.

Blades fans applaud the Sheffield United players following a magnificent performance against Middlesbrough.

Written by Nelson Walker

Second Year BA Journalism Studies student at The University of Sheffield. Blog writer for Motion Exercise. Forge Press and Forge Radio contributor.

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