Sheffield United earned their first league win of the season on Tuesday evening thanks to Billy Sharp’s century strike in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.
The striker reached the milestone thanks to a controversial penalty after Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser first-half red card.
The Blades had the first real chance of an extremely lively game. John Lundstram fired just wide from an Ollie Burke cut-back on ten minutes.
Magpies goalkeeper Karl Darlow was called into action for the first time two minutes later when Lundstram’s defence-splitting ball found Dave McGoldrick who tried to curl the ball home.
However, the custodian was equal to it to push it away before Lundstram fired wide again moments after.
Newcastle’s best chance of the half fell to Callum Wilson who missed a guilt-edged chance on 28 minutes when he bulleted his header wide of the mark.
The ball was back up the other end not long after, Ethan Ampadu putting in a fine ball for McGoldrick who could only head off-target with an on-rushing Darlow putting him under pressure.
United’s Burke continued to cause problems with his pace on the left flank. He fired in an effort in the 36th-minute which saw Darlow push his effort just beyond the reach of McGoldrick and away to safety.
Lundstram came close yet again five minutes from the break but the moment of the half was yet to come.
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A rush of blood
Three minutes after receiving his first yellow, Ryan Fraser was given his marching orders after committing a second bookable offence just before the interval.
Sheffield United pressed on with the extra man advantage looking for the breakthrough. Jayden Bogle and Lundstram went close but it was an old timer who was to strike first blood, albeit in controversial circumstances.
There was a massive penalty shout on 71 minutes when Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez looked to have handled the ball in the box amid pressure from the veteran attacker.
VAR reviewed the incident and gave the spot kick, allowing Sharp to step up to hammer to ball home for his side two minutes later – his 100th goal for the club.
But Wilson had Blades’ hearts in their mouthes ten minutes from time. His flicked header looked goal-bound but Aaron Ramsdale just about kept the one-goal lead intact.
Moments later, substitute Rhian Brewster’s deflective effort thudded off the post and they very were very nearly made to pay.
In the last seconds of the game, Bogle’s chest back to Ramsdale following a last-gasp Newcastle attack almost trickled into the hosts’ net before it was hooked to safety in the nick of time.
The full-time whistle was greeted with huge cheers from the Sheffield United bench.