The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

IF THERE was one sil­ver lin­ing for Blades boss Chris Wilder af­ter this thrash­ing, it was that his side are un­likely to play Wal­sall again this sea­son.

Bar­ring a United slump and a Wal­sall surge re­sult­ing in a play-off meet­ing, the Sad­dlers will not have chance to im­prove a record that reads: P3 W3, F7 A2 against Wilder’s men.

A su­perb sec­ond-half Sad­dlers dis­play com­pleted an un­likely league dou­ble over the Blades, in ad­di­tion to an EFL Tro­phy tri­umph.

To put it into con­text, United have lost only eight times this sea­son – three have been to Wal­sall.

The Sad­dlers have ended three sep­a­rate Blades runs – eight un­beaten, ten un­beaten and now a six-game win­ning streak.

So it’s lit­tle won­der Wilder ad­mit­ted: “I’m def­i­nitely glad to see the back of Wal­sall!

“We’ve been ar­chi­tects of our own down­fall in the way we’ve de­fended but credit to Wal­sall. They’ve had two big re­sults against us and we have to take it on the chin.

“These things hap­pen. It would be naive for us to think we are go­ing to cruise through the sec­ond part of the sea­son.

“We’ve shown out­stand­ing form, the re­sults have been good, we’ve climbed to the top of the league, de­servedly so. And we’ve just had a bad day.

“It’s im­por­tant the re­ac­tion is right and it will be.

“We showed great reactions when we got beat at home by Wal­sall and I’m con­fi­dent we will do so go­ing for­ward.”

Top-scorer Billy Sharp’s clever turn and shot crashed against the bar just four min­utes in but Wal­sall broke away to lead a minute later through Amadou Bakayoko’s cool fin­ish.

The lead lasted five min­utes, Ethan Ebanks-Lan­dell nod­ding a deep free-kick back across goal for de­fen­sive col­league Jack O’Con­nell to head home.

How­ever, Wal­sall weath­ered the United storm and re­gained the lead on the hour, Jason McCarthy squeez­ing in a fin­ish at Si­mon Moore’s near post af­ter a one-two with Bakayoko.

Joe Ed­wards should have had a penalty for handball against O’Con­nell but made light of it by surg­ing into the area soon af­ter and beat­ing Moore at his near post again.

The keeper’s night­mare con­cluded on 77 min­utes as he felled Ge­orge Dob­son and Erhun Oz­tumer made it 4-1 from the spot.

Wal­sall fans chanted ‘can we play you ev­ery week?’ and Wal­sall boss Jon Whit­ney ad­mit­ted: “I wish we could per­form like that ev­ery week!

“That was one of the best per­for­mances from a Wal­sall team since I’ve been at this club and that’s 13 years.

“It’s a rare oc­cur­rence when you get ev­ery player prob­a­bly eight or nine out of ten.

“And you need them to be at an eight or nine out of ten to beat a team like Sh­effield United.”

PIC­TURES: Sport Im­age

STAR MAN JOE ED­WARDS Wal­sall OFF THE MARK: Amadou Bakayoko cel­e­brates Wal­sall’s first goal

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