Oxford win, Squad harmony & The title race

Reaching the 70-point mark after beating Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium. Sheffield United stretch their lead in the League One title race by eight points.

Chris Wilder’s side trailed 1-0 down, after a lacklustre first half from a Blades perspective. Oxford’s Chris Maguire found centre-half Cheyenne Dunkley with a cross, who headed the ball into Simon Moore’s goal from very close range in the 22nd minute.

The second half painted a different picture for the travelling fans. As, the introduction of Striker Caolan Lavery brought a new dimension to the Blades’ game.

Lavery was involved in winning the corner which lead to the Blades levelling the score in the 55th minute. From John Fleck’s delivery, skipper Billy Sharp with the aid of a deflection smartly positioned himself in the box to fire home the equaliser.

Later, fullback Kieron Freeman found space 12-yards from goal and played what appeared to be a pass across goal. Fortunately, the side-footed effort found the bottom left corner, handing Wilder’s team the lead in the 72nd minute.

Five minutes on, Freeman was brought down in the penalty area by the U’s Curtis Nelson. Sharp completed his double by hammering home the penalty, straight down the middle. Giving the Blades captain his 26th goal of the campaign.

With the 1,667 away fans in full voice, the final 10 minutes were controlled on the pitch. However, Oxford’s Antonio Martinez did manage to squeeze in what could only be a consolation goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

After the match, Sheffield United assistant manager Alan Knill expressed the squad’s togetherness and highlighted it as the main reason they are so close in achieving League One success.

“They are such an honest bunch and such a tight bunch too – That’s what gets them through situations like this,” added Knill.

Knill further went on to give exclusive praise to versatile Blade Chris Basham, expressing how ‘Brilliant Bash’ is driving them forward.

“Bash is amazing. I didn’t know him before we came and I don’t think Chris did either. But we knew of him. We knew he was a midfield player who can also play (as a) central defender. We thought, really, we’d rather have him in one position. But he can just slot in almost anywhere,” Knill stated.

With only 10 games to go, Wilder’s men have put themselves as major favourites to proceed and win the League One title. Although, with tough games against Millwall and Bradford upcoming. The job will only get harder, putting extra pressure on key men such as Billy Sharp and John Fleck. But if the Blades can replicate performances such as this, championship football should be sealed for next season.

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