BILLY’S RAZOR SHARP START!
SHEFFIELD United manager Nigel Adkins singled out striker Billy Sharp for praise after the Blades fan scored the opening goal in the win over Blackpool that sent them fourth in the table.
Sharp netted after 59 minutes and the home side made the points safe when Mark McNulty, on for the wasteful Conor Sammon, got the second with 19 minutes to go at Bramall Lane.
Sharp had started his professional career at Bramall Lane and, after moves to seven other clubs, had failed to find the target since his return to a side close to his heart. Adkins gave credit to the training ground work of assistant manager Andy Crosby after a corner routine led to Sharp’s opening goal.
“He’s wanted to score and he’s gone and done that now. In all the games so far he has had some good chances but the goalkeepers have made good saves,” said Adkins.
“Billy wants to score, and he wants to do it here because he loves this football club. It’s well done to Billy and he’s up and running now.
“Andy Crosby works extremely hard on the training ground and that goal has come straight off there.”
Blackpool manager Neil McDonald admitted he had set his team up to stop the Blades scoring and was pleased with how it worked in the first half.
“We tried to frustrate a team of Sheffield’s magnitude at their own place,” said McDonald.
The Blackpool boss claimed his side should have been awarded a free-kick by referee Darren Deadman for a foul on Emmerson Boyce shortly before the corner from which Sharp scored.
“They get a lot of luck and a lot of help with the first goal which should have been a free-kick for Emmerson Boyce being barged off the ball,” said McDonald.
“Sharp has put that in the back of the next and the second one is a quality finish.
“That’s the difference between the two teams – one goal which shouldn’t have been allowed and one quality finish.”
With Blackpool looking to frustrate it took 18 minutes for the first effort on target but Brad Potts’ shot was blocked and then David Ferguson’s shot across goal went just wide.
Sammon headed wide from Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s floated free-kick and the striker was then denied just before half-time when his shot was deflected over by Tom Aldred.
Ferguson hit the post early in the second half with a curling free-kick and then Sammon turned the ball wide from three yards from Campbell-Ryce’s low cross. Sharp finally broke the deadlock after 59 minutes when he got to a low corner from Jay McEveley on the right and hit a shot that Kyle Letheren failed to hold as the ball squirmed under his diving body.
McNulty, who had replaced Sammon shorlty after his closerange miss, got the second with a low shot into the far bottom corner of the goal with 71 minutes gone.
A strike by Sheffield United's Marc McNulty (not pictured) beats Blackpool's Kyle Letheren to make the score 2-0 BATTLE: Blackpool’s Henry Cameron tussles with United’s Kieran Wallace (left) and Mark Howard STAR MAN JAY McEVE