Sheffield United 3 Bradford City 1: Blades continue to prosper at expense of Bantams
Having claimed six points from two league games and earned an FA Cup third round trip to Manchester United, the Blades continued their upturn in form by deservedly running out winners thanks to goals from Billy Sharp, Conor Sammon and David Edgar.
Gary Liddle pulled a late strike back for the Bantams but there was no glossing over what was a disappointing day for Phil Parkinson’s men in front of a bumper 24,777 crowd, the largest of the season at Bramall Lane.
Sharp broke the deadlock in stunning fashion on 11 minutes, turning smartly 25 yards from goal before thundering an unstoppable shot beyond the outstretched hand of Ben Williams.
It was a moment of true quality, though one that was rarely matched in the rest of a first half in which goalscoring opportunities were hard to come by.
United did manage one more gilt-edged chance, though, in those opening 45 minutes but Conor Sammon somehow missed from three yards out when meeting a sublime Sharp cross.
Billy Clarke was City’s best threat and he twice came close to creating an opening only to, first, over-hit a cross intended for James Hanson.
Then, he showed good trickery deep in United territory to find Gary Liddle but his shot was charged down by the hosts.
George Long did have one save to make, the home goalkeeper getting down smartly to his right to claw away a Tony McMahon free-kick.
After the restart, City were the first to press as Clarke had a shot charged down and Kyel Reid fired narrowly wide following a knock-down from James Hanson.
Any hopes, however, that the visitors might fight their way back into proceedings ended on 57 minutes when Paul Coutts’ cross was bundled in at the far post.
Conor Sammon took the acclaim of the crowd but there was a suspicion that Stephen Darby had got the final touch.
Either way, the home side were two goals ahead and a third goal arrived six minutes later when an unmarked David Edgar headed in from five yards out.
Bradford did pull a goal back seven minutes from time when Gary Liddle flicked in a McMahon corner but there was little doubt that United deserved the three points.