Dean Henderson turns from villain to hero for Sheffield United

Top display: John Fleck congratulates Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson at Vicarage Road. Picture: Robin Parker/Sportimage
Top display: John Fleck congratulates Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson at Vicarage Road. Picture: Robin Parker/Sportimage
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SHEFFIELD United will be glad of the opportunity to recharge their batteries during the international break for next up is the visit of Arsenal to Bramall Lane.

That encounter comes two weeks tonight and the Blades will be full of confidence after maintaining their unbeaten away record in the Premier League with a goalless draw at Vicarage Road.

I think we’re a couple of points light, but nine points is a decent start. We’ve got a nice tasty game against Arsenal to look forward to after the international break.

Chris Wilder

The match also saw under-fire goalkeeper Dean Henderson redeem himself with a top-class display, following his howler which presented Liverpool with victory in the Blades’ previous match.

United manager Chris Wilder said: “He’s a really good keeper and he’s reacted the right way. He was always going to play and he was pivotal to the clean sheets we had last season.

“It’s a tough old changing room but he’s come through it. There’s no hiding place at international level or the likes of Manchester United, so that’s what he’s got to get used to.

“These things happen in football and in life and it is how you react and overcome the next hurdle. It is no surprise what he has done. He has been neat and tidy in his work and is a really good goalkeeper.”

Of the game, Wilder said: “When you come away from home in the Premier League and play the way we did, it is good, but we couldn’t really find that final pass.

“If we can’t win then we need to take something from these games. The balance of the team is good with the amount of possession and chances we had, the players were outstanding.

“I think we’re a couple of points light, but nine points is a decent start. We’ve got a nice tasty game against Arsenal to look forward to after the international break.”

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores, whose side are yet to record a victory this season, claimed: “We tried to go for the win but Sheffield United are a very confident and physical side. We didn’t concede for the first time in a long time, so that’s a good thing.”

Spaniard Flores deployed a flat-back five to patch up a defence which has already leaked 20 goals this season and he continued: “The players responded really well and we need to support them. They were a little nervous with decision-making, everything is so fast, but I think we had opportunities that we can work on.”

The afternoon, however, belonged to Henderson, who delivered the perfect response to his costly mistake against Jurgen Klopp’s side when he let Georginio Wijnaldum’s tame shot into the net .

The Blades goalkeeper – on loan from Manchester United – did brilliantly to deny Danny Welbeck early in the second half, and Craig Dawson’s low header in stoppage time looked destined for the back of the net until the 22-year-old palmed the ball to safety with a strong right hand.

The Hornets are without a victory in their eight Premier League games – their longest winless start to a campaign since the 2006-07 season.

But they created the better chances only for Andre Gray, Welbeck and second-half substitute Dawson to spurn them.

Neither side was able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck in a first half low on quality, although Gray should have given the hosts an early lead when he somehow lifted Roberto Pereyra’s low cross over the bar with the goal gaping.

Craig Cathcart almost diverted Chris Basham’s curling delivery into his own net soon afterwards, but Ben Foster spared his captain’s blushes with a magnificent fingertip save.

Watford survived another scare just before the interval, when Blades striker Oli McBurnie stretched but narrowly failed to connect with Basham’s delivery.

Watford improved marginally in the second half and Welbeck should have broken the deadlock after latching on to Gray’s flick-on and darting into the penalty area after escaping his marker on the halfway line, only for Henderson to thwart the former Arsenal man with a smart stop before the goalkeeper denied Dawson at the death.

Watford remain bottom of the table, while Wilder’s side climb to 12th place after stretching their unbeaten away run to four matches and having picked up more points on their travels this season than they have at Bramall Lane.

They struggled to create meaningful opportunities despite enjoying more than 60 per cent possession, but their four-game unbeaten start away from home matches a feat they last achieved in the top flight in 1972.

Callum Robinson shot straight at Foster from the edge of the area in the second half and Enda Stevens and John Lundstram both fired over the bar from promising positions but the game ended in stalemate and Flores and Watford were jeered off the pitch.

Apart from Henderson, another United player on top of his game was John Fleck.

He drove the Blades forward from the centre of midfield and one mazy run in the first half underlined why he is in line for his first Scotland international cap.

Watford: Foster, Janmaat, Cathcart, Prodl (Dawson 57), Kabasele, Holebas, Cleverley, Doucoure, Pereyra, Welbeck (Sarr 77), Gray (Deulofeu 59). Unused substitutes: Gomes, Chalobah, Hughes, Femenia.

Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, McBurnie (Mousset 62), Robinson (Sharp 71). Unused substitutes: Luke Freeman, Jagielka, Osborn, Moore, Besic.

Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).