Bolton 1 Sheffield Utd 0: Blades fail to make their dominance pay

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SHEFFIELD United let down their 4,300-strong following as Chris Wilder’s tenure in charge began with defeat

The former Blades player said after defeat against his good friend Phil Parkinson’s new side: “I’m obviously disappointed, we had the lion’s share of the play in the first half and should have been out of sight in the first 20 to 25 minutes.

“We started well, on the front foot, but a wonder goal changed the complexion of the game.

“Then we started the second half well and had enough of the ball in good areas, without showing the quality we have with the final pass.

“Bolton are an experienced team and had to defend deep, whereas we didn’t really have to do that. But, ultimately, we’re very disappointed. We’re in a results business and we haven’t got one.”

Of the fans, he added: “It was a massive following, and we have to keep them on side.”

Jay Spearing scored the only goal as Bolton began life back in English football’s third tier with victory.

The former Liverpool midfielder struck a sweet 20-yard volley in the 37th minute after United had dominated.

Striker Leon Clarke should have scored with an early header and narrowly missed tapping in a cross from Mark Duffy, before Spearing fired in his first goal since last February.

Bolton nearly doubled their advantage, but goalkeeper George Long’s fine save kept out Darren Pratley’s header after 64 minutes.

Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Wilson, Beevers, Wheater, Moxey, Taylor (Davies 60), Spearing (Trotter 77), Vela, Buxton, Pratley, Madine (Proctor 72). Unused substitutes: Amos, Osede, Walker, Woolery.

Sheffield United: Long, Brayford, O’Connell, Wilson, Hussey, Duffy (Scougall 67), Fleck, Basham, Done (Adams 67), Clarke, Sharp. Unused substitutes: McNulty, Ramsdale, Wright, Coutts, Kieran Wallace.

Referee: R Joyce (Cleveland).

Man of the match: Jay Spearing.