Flint late strike settles dramatic tie at Bramall Lane
Aden Flint scored a 90th-minute winner as Bristol City beat Sheffield United 2-1 in the Sky Bet Championship’s Friday night’s fixture.
It was the home side who dominated the first hour of the tie, hitting the post on four occasions before Midfielder John Fleck was shown a straight red after 63 minutes.
Away side lead at the break
However, it was Bristol City who took the lead just before halftime, with a swift counter-attack leading to Paterson finding himself infield from the left wing position to fire past Simon Moore from 25 yards out.
That goal had come against the run of play after the home side went close early on. Mark Duffy, who collected a cross at the far post to fire straight at Fielding, who tipped over.
Duffy then went close with a superb free-kick from the left corner of the box, which curled and dipped over the helpless Fielding in goal, only for the ball to hit the face of the post and get cleared. The ball was recycled and right back Baldock crossed to the league’s top scorer Leon Clarke, who lurked but could only fire over.
Duffy had another great chance to open the scoring when a quick free-kick found him in space 30 yards from goal, but he could only dribble into the box to roll a weak shot straight at Fielding.
Sharp hit the woodwork for the second time after 35 minutes when Leon Clarke plucked a Simon Moore goal kick out of the sky before squaring for Sharp, whose powerfully whipped effort flew over the goalkeeper but smacked the top of the bar.
Sharp was then spectacularly denied by Fielding, who was once called up to the England squad after a corner found Sharp’s head inside the six-yard box. The striker flicked a header on target and somehow a great reflex save from the ‘keeper directed the ball onto the bar before it was hacked away.
City nick late winner
Just 3 minutes into the second half, Leon Clarke levelled for the Blades, after being allowed to much time to dribble the ball into the box from all of 40 yards out from goal. He struck a powerful drive across goal, past Frank Fielding.
Mark Duffy then hit the post for the second time, curling the ball with his weaker left foot onto the right-hand post, and although the ball fell to Sharp in the box, Flint made a crucial block to deny United.
John Fleck was shown a straight red by referee David Coote for a late two-footed tackle on Korey Smith, who was unfairly booed off, receiving chants of ‘cheat’ as he was helped off the pitch before being substituted.
The away side almost took the lead straight away through a deflected Marlon pack effort, which forced a great save from Moore, the rebound fell to Matty Taylor whose shot was heroically blocked by Richard Stearman.
With a quarter of an hour to go both managers made bold decisions to bring on vibrant young talents. David Brooks replaced Mark Duffy for United, while on-loan Jonathan Leko, came on for the away side, who looked lively when he got on the ball.
Heroic Flint comes up with the goods again
Aden Flint, who is now the league’s top scoring defender, hit a late winner after Reid whipped a first-time cross to the far post to allow the defender to expertly volley home.
It’s been a remarkable season for Flint, who was linked with a move away in the summer, and his goalscoring along with his commanding presence at the back make Flint one of his sides most important figures.
Flint scored City’s first goal as they came from behind to beat Hull 3-2 at the KCOM in November, and scored a memorable scissor kick in their promotion season.
Bristol closed the gap to 3 points from second-placed rivals Cardiff City and stretched 3 clear of the Blades, who will be ruing their luck as the teams around them prepare for this weekends set of games.
Cardiff visit the Madejski to play Reading on Monday night, a game the Robins will surely tune into as they bid to reach the Premier League for the first time.
It is certainly contrasting fortunes for the two sides. As manager Lee Johnson admitted after the game, they “were made to defend for large parts”, and match-winner Flint said that “we didn’t perform as we’d hoped, but it’s a huge 3 points.”
Sheffield United have now lost 4 of their last 5 games, conceding 11 goals in that time. City, meanwhile, are now unbeaten in their last 11 away matches, winning 7, having not lost since they visited St. Andrews in August.
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