Sheffield United 2-0 Ipswich Town: Sorry Blues taught a lesson as Blades head for Premier League
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town were taught a footballing lesson by Premier League-bound Sheffield United as the Blades swept the visitors aside.
This was a Championship fixture in name only and looked very much like the Premier League v League One contest it will be next season, with Ipswich second best in all departments as Scott Hogan and Jack O’Connell secured the win for the rampant hosts.
Paul Lambert’s men couldn’t live with their hosts’ quick movement, slick interplay and clever running which, at times, tied the Blues up in knots, while injuries to strikers Will Keane and Kayden Jackson certainly didn’t help.
The Blades are effectively a Premier League team now, with their lead over third-placed Leeds six points with the Whites having two games left to play. The Blades’ goal difference is significantly superior.
For Ipswich, there’s one more game to go before life in the third tier begins, when they face Leeds next Sunday.
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Lambert made four changes to his side, as Myles Kenlock, Cole Skuse, Teddy Bishop and Kayden Jackson all returned, but the biggest alteration came in shape, as the Scot brought back the midfield diamond which showed so much promise in February.
Sadly, though, those best-laid plans lasted a little over six minutes until Will Keane’s injury forced a tactical rethink and raised questions over whether this was the striker’s last appearance in Ipswich blue.
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Those opening six minutes saw the Blues barely touch the ball as the Blades toyed with their visitors and pushed higher and higher with the ball. But when Lambert switched to match the visitors 3-4-2-1 formation and dropped Skuse into a central-defensive position, Ipswich were able to get a foothold in the game and, at times, dominated.
However, that all changed on 23 minutes when centre-back O’Connell split wide to collect a defence-splitting ball, which he delivered expertly for Hogan to turn home.
From there it was all Sheffield United as they exerted their dominance on an Ipswich side who struggled to keep pace.
The Blades were finding their way through the Ipswich backline at will, with Gerkan and Skuse needing to combine to hack the ball away after a dangerous McGoldrick ball created danger.
Somehow it was only 1-0 at the break, but that soon become two just minutes into the second period as a whipped Oliver Norwood free-kick from an extremely tight angle rattled away off of the inside of Dean Gerken’s post.
McGoldrick headed the ball into the side netting as half of Bramall Lane thought the former Ipswich man had found the net, as United pushed for a second they deserved.
In truth, it felt like the Blades were 4-0 up on sorry Ipswich, but they did finally make it 2-0 when O’Connell rose highest to power home Fleck’s corner.
The Blades were heading for the top flight, while Ipswich’s League One reality draws ever closer.
Sheffield United: Henderson; O’Connell, Egan, Basham; Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Duffy (Lundstram 85); McGoldrick (Madine 77), Hogan (Sharp 63)
Subs: Moore, Cranie, Stearman, Dowell
Ipswich Town: Gerken; Bree,Chambers, Nsiala, Kenlock; Skuse, Downes, Bishop, Judge; Jackson (Dozzell 68), Keane (Chalobah 8)
Subs: Bialkowski, Emmanuel, Ndaba, Elder, El Mizouni,