Championship promotion hopefuls Sheffield United ran out convincing 3-1 winners over Derby County at Bramall Lane on Boxing Day.
Although the visitors saw the majority of the possession, particularly in the early stages of the game, it was Chris Wilder’s side who created the best chances.
Sheffield United could have been ahead inside the opening minute when David McGoldrick fired narrowly wide from outside the penalty area. In the reverse fixture between these two back in October, Craig Bryson had given the Rams the lead on 13 seconds.
Billy Sharp saw a one-on-one denied at point blank range by Scott Carson in the Derby goal on 10 minutes.
The Blades got the lead they deserved five minutes before the break when Sharp headed home Jack O’Connell’s cross into the far corner past the despairing dive of Carson.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half Frank Lampard’s side equalised against the run of play as Harry Wilson struck a wonderful free kick in off the underside of the crossbar, giving Dean Henderson no chance in the process. It was the Liverpool loanee’s ninth goal of the season; third three kick and sixth goal from outside the penalty area.
As Derby began to push forward Sheffield United sensed opportunities on the break and re-took the lead midway through the second half as David McGoldrick latched onto a ball over the top before chipping over the oncoming Carson into an empty net.
Sheffield United sealed the three points in the final 10 minutes when substitute striker Leon Clarke headed home from a corner, deflected home.
Today’s results see Derby County drop down to sixth in the table before a trip to Norwich City to see out 2018. Meanwhile Sheffield United will close the year at home to Blackburn Rovers.