Bristol City v Sheffield United
Monday April 18, 17:30
Bristol City bag welcome win
Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson praised his players for showing the exact reaction required after asking his group of players to show their character and personalities on the pitch when they travelled to Stoke on Good Friday. The Robins ran out 1-0 winners with Jay Dasilva the unlikely goalscoring hero when his cross found the back of the net with 10 minutes to play.
City were resolute in defence, frustrating the Potters with their doggedness, as the Robins picked up just their second clean sheet in 21 matches. On any other day, the visitors could have had added to their scoreline had Antoine Semenyo worn his shooting boots but Pearson was delighted with the application that his side showed in a rare away win.
Speaking post-match, Pearson said: “We talk about personalities and I think we showed that in abundance, it was a collective effort, a bit gritty, it had to be against a side that have got quite a bit of quality. It’s nice to get rewards for the hard, honest endeavour and we created some really good chances. It was a good away performance, stubborn organised and with a real threat.”
Sheffield United suffer shock loss
Sheffield United head coach Paul Heckingbottom described his side as “naïve” after seeing the Blades concede a costly stoppage-time winner at home to lowly Reading on Good Friday, just minutes after equalising themselves. The Royals had led early on but below-par United found a 90th-minute equaliser from substitute Iliman Ndiaye to level proceedings.
With Bramall Lane erupting and expecting a push for a Blades winner in the five minutes of injury time, the hosts instead conceded a simple goal as Royals defender Tom McIntyre latched on to Michael Morrison’s nod-down from a free-kick to give the visitors a shock three points in the most dramatic of circumstances at Bramall Lane.
Speaking post-match, Heckingbottom said, “We knew they’d be tough to break down and a threat on the counter and we’d have to be patient. We huffed and puffed, but we kept going and we responded well to the changes. But the big lesson for me after we got the goal was the naivety and managing the emotions. Our big crime was switching off.”
Bristol City and Sheffield United have posted a solitary stalemate in their most recent 17 league meetings going back to 2007/08 with the Blades enjoying the upper-hand in those head-to-head encounters (W10-D1-L6). The Blades have also bagged top honours in four of their past seven trips to Ashton Gate (W4-D1-L2) and were 2-0 winners in the reverse clash.
Good Friday’s success at Stoke was only Bristol City‘s 4.507/2 second Championship triumph in nine outings (W2-D2-L5), whilst only four clubs have suffered more league losses than the Robins this term (20). Nigel Pearson’s posse have returned W7-D7-L7 at Ashton Gate, although that record reduces to W2-D5-L6 when excluding the bottom-10 of the table.
Sheffield United‘s 1.9010/11 promotion push has stalled of late. The Blades have bagged successive league wins only once since February and have earned just W3-D3-L4 across their most recent 10 outings. United have largely built their challenge upon a strong record at Bramall Lane under Paul Heckingbottom’s watch, collecting just W4-D3-L4 on the road.
Bristol City’s fixtures have featured a chunky 3.00 goals per-game this season – 26/42 (62%) matches have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals 1.8910/11 and 29/42 (69%) have featured Both Teams To Score 1.824/5 winners. Those overall figures reduce at Ashton Gate bar BTTS, which actually increases to an impressive 16/21 (76%) win-rate here.
The Robins have scored in all bar three of those 21 home tussles, recording a paltry tally of three shutouts themselves in front of their own supporters. With City able to play without pressure and releasing the shackles, a similarly open and entertaining game could be in the offing against a Sheffield United side that’s not always convinced when on the road.
Ten of Bristol City’s 11 dates with top-half teams here have produced Both Teams To Score profit and I’m happy to follow the trends again as the Blades bid to bounce back from Good Friday’s shock loss.