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Match Reports

REPORT: SHEFF UTD 1-0 TOWN

10 December 2022

Early first half Billy Sharp goal condemns Town in Yorkshire derby

- Huddersfield Town defeated at Sheffield United
- Billy Sharp scores the game’s only goal
- Game of few clear-cut chances at Bramall Lane

Town’s first game back after the World Cup break ended in narrow defeat at Sheffield United, with Billy Sharp scoring the game’s only goal.

It was a match of few clear-cut chances for either side, but experienced marksman Sharp took advantage of by far the clearest of them just after the quarter-hour to secure all three points for his side.

After a first 45 when Town were largely on the defensive, they showed some improvement in the second half, but failed to seriously test United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham despite two spells of pressure.

Mark Fotheringham employed the same gameplan that served the Terriers well in the last away game – the victory at QPR – with a tight 5-4-1 out of possession and wingers Duane Holmes and Sorba Thomas tasked to get alongside striker Danny Ward when possession was won.

The second-placed home side were dangerous on the ball, with the likes of Senegal international Iliman Ndiaye and Manchester City loanee James McAtee allowed to drift around, get on the ball and drive at Town’s defence at every opportunity.

That meant the likes of Tom Lees had to be alert, and he pulled off a superb block to deny McAtee a clear shot at goal after one such dribble inside nine minutes as the Blades made the running.

Town did have moments to spring forwards but on two occasions in the first quarter of an hour, Holmes saw his crosses deflected into the hands of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham when well positioned.

The game’s first goal came in the 16th minute through a familiar scorer against Town – Billy Sharp. Ndiaye did very well to ride a strong challenge from Lees and turn towards our goal before sliding a pass to our right for Sharp, who had drifted wide of Helik and behind Kesler-Hayden. Lee Nicholls tried to come and block the shot at source, but Sharp expertly lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the vacant net.

The half petered out after that, but the introduction of Club Captain Jonathan Hogg at half time – his first appearance since September due to injury – saw Town suddenly enjoy more of the ball.

That possession led to our best chance of the game in the 54th minute. Jack Rudoni did well to dig out a cross by the right corner flag, and the clearance only went as far as Holmes; he took a touch past an onrushing defender before taking aim from 20 yards, only to shoot straight at Foderingham.

Town kept the pressure on with another chance just after the hour mark. This time Holmes turned provider, turning past a defender to break into space and finding Danny Ward in the area; he hooked a ball to the back post where Kesler-Hayden tried to shoot on his weaker left, only to send the ball wide of target.

United managed to settle things down thereafter, and neither side could create chances of real note. United had an effort from substitute Khadra deflected into Nicholls’ hands by Hogg, before another sub – Sander Berge – fired well over from range.

At the other end, Town’s best shout came when Rudoni drove into the penalty area before pulling the ball back, only for it to seemingly strike the hand of a defender. Unfortunately for the men in blue and white, referee Darren Bond judged that it was a natural occurrence and not deliberate handball.

Impact sub Brahima Diarra was inches away from feeding Helik the ball on the penalty spot with a late cross, but he couldn’t connect and Foderingham claimed once again.

Town’s team (5-4-1)
Lee Nicholls; Kaine Kesler-Hayden (Tyreece Simpson, 78’), Tom Lees (c), Michał Helik, Will Boyle, Josh Ruffels (Jordan Rhodes, 88’); Sorba Thomas, David Kasumu (Jonathan Hogg, 46’), Jack Rudoni, Duane Holmes (Brahima Diarra, 65’); Danny Ward

Unused substitutes
Nicholas Bilokapic; Ben Jackson, Loick Ayina

Bookings
Sorba Thomas (31’), Jonathan Hogg (59’)


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