Sheffield United 2-0 Millwall: Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge on target as Blades beat Lions

Sander Berge scored for the first time in seven games to double the Blades’ lead

Sheffield United bounced back from an opening-day defeat with a comfortable win over Millwall at Bramall Lane.

After struggling to create chances in defeat at Watford, Iliman Ndiaye gave the Blades an early lead, planting a firm right-footed shot into the corner of the net.

And midway through the first half it was 2-0 when John Fleck seized on Charlie Cresswell’s poor miscue and squared to Sander Berge who rounded goalkeeper Bart Bialkowski and slotted in.

Bialkowski prevented further damage by saving Oliver Norwood’s first-half penalty kick after Jake Cooper had tripped Rhian Brewster.

Having failed to find the target and struggled to carve out chances in defeat at Watfordthe Blades had Manchester City loanee James McAtee on the bench and were 2-0 up and cruising by the midway stage of the first half.

Lions defender Cresswell, on loan from Leeds, had been the two-goal hero of an encouraging 2-0 opening-day winbut discovered how quickly fortunes can change with a glaring mistake for the Blades’ second goal.

The visitors’ generous defending continued when Jamie Shackleton’s careless cross-field pass gave Brewster a run on goal forcing Cooper to concede a spot-kick.

His blushes were spared by a diving penalty save from Bialkowski who had earlier done well to block a close-range strike from debutant defender Anel Ahmedhodzic.

The Lions were knocked out of the EFL Cup by League One side Cambridge in midweek and huffed and puffed for a way back after the break.

However, they were unable to seriously test home keeper Wes Foderingham, Ged Wallace firing their best chance wide.

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom told BBC Radio Sheffield:

“We know what Millwall are in terms of their threat. They scored over a third of their goals from set plays last season and top of the league in chances created from set plays so we were aware of that and prepared for it.

“We dealt with that well all game and actually scored a goal on the counter off one of them, which was big.

“All those things that go unnoticed and aren’t talked about we were really strong today.

“The things that are noticed, us moving the ball quicker, creating chances, playing on the front foot, I thought that was there as well, particularly in the first half.”

Millwall manager Gary Rowett told BBC London 94.9:

“It was a disappointing performance, particularly the first half. You can’t give Sheffield United gifts at Bramall Lane.

“I thought that we started the opening stages of the game quite well and there was quite a big moment. I have watched it back lots and lots of times and I felt there was a big shove on Jake Cooper for the first goal.

“The referee said to me there’s a clear directive to allow more physical contact and I can understand that.

“I have no problem with that as a manager, it’s probably needed, but what you have then got to do is make sure you get it right in the right areas. A foul is a foul whether there is contact or not, so for me it was a poor decision.”

Line-ups

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 18FoderinghamBooked at 90mins
  • 15Ahmedhodzic
  • 12Egan
  • 26ClarkBooked at 82mins
  • 2Baldock
  • 16Norwood
  • 4FleckSubstituted forOsborneat 72′minutes
  • 33Norrington-DaviesBooked at 90mins
  • 8Berge
  • 29NdiayeSubstituted forJebbisonat 67′minutes
  • 7BrewsterSubstituted forSharpat 67′minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Sharp
  • 11Khadra
  • 13Lowe
  • 23Osborne
  • 28McAtee
  • 36Jebbison
  • 37Amissah

Millwall

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 33Bialkowski
  • 15Cresswell
  • 5Cooper
  • 3M Wallace
  • 2McNamaraBooked at 90mins
  • 8Mitchell
  • 16Shackleton
  • 11Malone
  • 23SavilleSubstituted forBureyat 81′minutes
  • 20BennettBooked at 45minsSubstituted forOlaofeat 80′minutes
  • 7Aphobe

Substitutes

  • 1Long
  • 4Hutchinson
  • 6Evans
  • 14Burey
  • 25Olaofe
  • 35Müller
  • 40Topalloi

Referees:
David Coote

Attendance:
27,738

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