Sheffield United 4 Wigan 2: Hat-trick hero Sharp fires Blades top of the Championship

Billy Sharp celebrates scoring his hat-trick goal. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Billy Sharp celebrates scoring his hat-trick goal. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Billy Sharp bagged a hat-trick to fire Sheffield United to the top of the Championship after a 4-2 victory over Wigan at Bramall Lane.

Restored to the starting line-up after being dropped for the midweek draw with Stoke City, the 32-year-old netted three goals as United went top of the table.

There was no Mark Duffy for the Blades, as manager Chris Wilder opted to start with strikers Sharp, Leon Clarke and David McGoldrick.

Wigan had the first chance, Nick Powell's header no problem for goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

The keeper had to be alert to keep out Gary Roberts's free-kick, before Chey Dunkley headed over.

But United took the lead on 24 minutes, Dunkley netting an own goal after fine work down the flank by Chris Basham.

But the visitors were level on 39 minutes. Nathan Byrne's cross picked out substitute Kai Naismith at the back post, and he hammered in the equaliser.

United edged back in front just before half-time, when Sharp pounced from close range.

And it could have been 3-1, as McGoldrick broke clear one-on-one with goalkeeper Christian Walton, but Antonee Robinson recovered to block the shot.

Clarke got on the end of Kieron Freeman's cross, early in the second half, but Walton did well to tip it wide.

But the Blades got their third goal on 53 minutes. Clarke broke clear down the left flank, and his inch-perfect cross found Sharp at the back post, who swept the ball into the net.

And the Blades skipper completed his hat-trick on 63 minutes, dinking the ball over Walton from close range to make it 4-1.

Substitute Joe Garner grabbed a goal back for Wigan on 69 minutes, before Reece James's free-kick was tipped over by Henderson.

At the other end, Jack O'Connell smashed his header against the crossbar as United hunted a fifth goal.