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Sheffield United boss gutted to lose after having been ‘in control of the game’ against Newcastle

4 weeks ago
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Paul Heckingbottom had one or two positives to take from defeat at St James Park.

The return of fans to stadiums with ten thousand inside St James Park, the Sheffield United boss hoping behind closed doors games are now in the past, declaring ‘I hope we never have to do it again.’

Paul Heckingbottom also found a positive in how his team started the match, believing they ‘were in control of the game’, failing to take the ‘good chances’ that came their way.

Sheffield United did start the game the better side but it was possibly the first 15 or so minutes when they had a relative purple patch though they really struggle for quality in the final third, no wonder they are the lowest goalscorers in the division.

I made it a couple of chances early on and the big one was when McGoldrick missed a sitter, putting the ball the wrong side of the post.

Newcastle then had the better of the rest of the opening half and wasted some very decent chances of their own, grateful to Joe Willock who yet again showed the rest of them how to finish.

Sheffield United were the better side in the second half but didn’t have a clue how to take advantage when they got close to goal.

Newcastle were woeful after the break, with only 34% possession, one corner and one effort on target.

Paul Heckingbottom:

“It was totally different [having fans inside the ground].

“We pulled up at the hotel and there were people at the bar…it just felt totally different.

“I can’t believe that it has been 15 months, over a season without fans.

“The effect it has had on a lot of people – I hope we never have to do it again.

“I thought that we started really well, stopped them playing forwards, we created good chances, which we didn’t take.

“Then we got punished, which has been the story of the season.

“We were in control of the game for the first half hour or so and when you fall behind it is a tough game.

“We huffed and puffed in the second half, had a lot of the ball, but we had to try and get back in the game.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Wednesday 19 May 6pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Willock 45+4

Sheff Utd:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Sheff Utd 50% (34%) Newcastle 50% (66%)

Total shots were Sheff Utd 11 (2)  Newcastle 16 (12)

Shots on target were Sheff Utd 1 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Corners were Sheff Utd 2 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Referee: Robert Jones

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Willock (Carroll 85), Almiron, Saint-Maximin (Sean Longstaff 71), Joelinton (Gayle 45)

Unused Subs:

Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Jeff Hendrick, Javier Manquillo, Matty Longstaff, Jamal Lewis

Crowd: 10,000

(Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s win – Read HERE)

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