The Blades secured a bittersweet win over Brighton & Hove Albion this Saturday, after the news of their relegation broke last weekend.
Their first win since former-manager Chris Wilder’s departure, David McGoldrick’s goal in the first half gave the fans some joy after a sad week.
By reaching 17 points, Sheffield United were able to make sure this year’s campaign would not be remembered as one of the worst in Premier League history.
The game started with the players taking the knee against racism and social injustice, in a week where clubs’ social media boycott is filling the headlines.
In contrast to the previous game, Jayden Bogle was brought on to replace Ethan Ampadu, who dropped to the bench. After an attempt by Bright & Hove’s Neal Maupay against Aaron Ramsdale, the Blades were able to score early on off a good combination between Ben Osborn, Rhian Brewster and finally McGoldrick, who scored his eighth goal this season.
“We are playing for Sheffield United, we can’t down tools. Every game we have to make it tough, we are playing for our shirt and playing for our future. We showed we are still in this as a team, even though we have been relegated”, said the Irish striker.
The first half was dominated by the Blades with scarce chances for the visitors.
However, the second half showed a different Brighton, with Seagulls starting to take control. New attempts by Maupay and Danny Welbeck were thwarted by Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. After a corner, the ball was kept alive by Adam Webster and Jakub Moder was able to score a much wanted goal for the Seagulls.
Their contentment did not last long, as Moder’s goal was invalidated by the video assistant referee (VAR), finding him to have been offside.
Sheffield United was not able to create another meaningful chance until the 60th minute, but a combination between Osborn and McGoldrick was saved by goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. The game progressed and Maupay had an incredible chance to even the score but was unable to convert, his shot missing by three yards.
Speaking after the match, Brighton boss Graham Potter said to Sky Sports: “Football is about scoring goals and we did not do it today. We pushed and pushed, maybe could have got a goal but it was not to be. We needed a bit more quality over the course of the game”.
On the other end, Sheffield United interim boss Paul Heckingbottom was satisfied with the result: “The players deserve the utmost credit. We spoke before the game and for them it’s justice and the right result for their attitude because it’s been a tough, tough season”.
This week, Premier League clubs are joining a four-day boycott of social media to combat abuse and discrimination. At the end of the game, the two coaches addressed the subject, giving it their full support.
“I’m fully behind it. I think we have to try and do something. Social media can be fantastic in lots of different ways, however, is used too often in the wrong ways. Hopefully we can make some action”, said Heckingbottom.
Porter shared similar sentiments: “It’s a great statement from the whole of football. It’s unacceptable. Social media platforms can do more and hopefully this position we’re taking can force them to do more”.