Chesterfield 1 Sheffield Utd 4: Chris Wilder delighted as victorious Blades '˜get hump with each other'

Kieron Freeman scores Sheffield Uniteds first goal as they came from a goal down at half-time to sweep aside Chesterfield (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).Kieron Freeman scores Sheffield Uniteds first goal as they came from a goal down at half-time to sweep aside Chesterfield (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).
Kieron Freeman scores Sheffield Uniteds first goal as they came from a goal down at half-time to sweep aside Chesterfield (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).
THE status quo may have been irrevocably challenged and overcome in political circles in a tumultuous past week, but the natural order remains firmly intact as far as Sheffield United are concerned.

A shot across the bows was delivered by a League One backbencher to one of its undoubted powerhouses in the first half, but the establishment emphatically prevailed on the resumption of business.

An unanswered four-goal swing – including three in an indomitable nine-minute period –saw the Blades over the line with a hint of swagger, with ‘player power’ displayed in abundance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you had cared to enquire about the odds of a 4-1 win for the visitors at half-time, the numbers would have been favourable and long.

By the final whistle, they all stacked up irresistibly for the Blades, who smoothly moved through the gears in a turbo-charged second half to fire out a chilling warning to their League One rivals.

It was as polished as the first half was patchy, with manager Chris Wilder – who resisted a justifiable urge to metaphorically “smash a few teacups” at the interval after his side deservedly trailed 1-0 – allowing his players to take centre stage amid some heated discussions at the break.

How those words were backed by deeds on the restart by the Blades, whose unbeaten run stretched to 12 league games on an afternoon when John Fleck and Leon Clarke both netted their first league goals for the club.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While one striker in Clarke was able to profit personally at a former club’s expense, the script was ultimately not written for another in Ched Evans, despite his best attempts.

The one-time Blades favourite did set up the Spireites’ screaming early opener, netted by Jon Nolan, and went mighty close to scoring himself on the restart.

But the day ended up with the Welshman leaving the fray on 66 minutes with an ankle problem, but not before he was given a warm ovation by all four sides of the ground, including the 2,761 Blades contingent.

The final scoreline will have rubbed salt into the wounds, but he probably did not feel half as sick as ex-Blades manager Danny Wilson, whose side have now lost their past seven league matches.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In contrast, it was all sweetness and light in the end for Wilder, whose side – unbeaten in the league since August 20 – are now breathing down the necks of the top three.

A brazen chant of ‘Sheffield Wednesday, we are coming for you’ did the rounds in the second half from joyous Unitedites.

But it would probably be better aimed in the direction of the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City for the time being.

On the performance and his side’s transformation, Wilder said: “There are certain times when you have to come in and raise it. But it was a time for patience from my point of view.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The players had the hump with each other, which is great. It showed that they care and are proud to wear the shirt and did not want to give their unbeaten run up in front of a great away following. They showed that desire.

“We upped our game in the second half and moved the ball quicker and showed more quality in the final third.

“We said that if we could get one goal, we could take the game away from the opposition and I thought we did that.

“We went through the gears and showed what we are about.”

It was difficult to fathom who was the high-flier and who was the side propping up the table in a first half in which Chesterfield out-enthused and out-fought their lofty neighbours and were afforded the fillip of an early lead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This came when Evans adeptly supplied the supporting Nolan, who blasted home an unstoppable rising drive for a picture-book first goal for the Spireites.

It might have been two at the break with Ian Evatt’s thumping header cannoning off the woodwork moments before the interval, with the Blades, in contrast, looking strangely subdued.

Their best effort came via Matt Done’s instinctive low shot, blocked by Ryan Fulton, while Daniel Lafferty mighty have done better with a chance, but it was all rather piecemeal.

But on the restart, the Blades took the hint and livened up themselves, quickened the pace, and class ultimately told.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They took renewed risks, one of which saw Kieron Freeman gamble with a run into the box and it reaped a dividend when he headed in Fleck’s centre.

A big moment then saw Evans denied before his afternoon ended early through injury and with his exit, so the hosts’ self-belief evaporated.

The visitors took charge and how, swarming all over their hosts.

After Done missed a sitter, Fleck proved less profligate, firing home a sweet low drive following good work by Duffy, who then set up Billy Sharp for a trademark header moments later.

The gloss was provided by Clarke in the final 10 minutes with a sticky afternoon ending serenely.