Sheff UtdSheffield United2West BromWest Bromwich Albion0

Sheffield United 2-0 West Bromwich Albion: Steve Bruce starts with Baggies defeat at Bramall Lane

Billy Sharp's double took him to four in three games, 12 for the season, 123 for the Blades and 261 in his career
Billy Sharp's double took him to four in three games, 12 for the season, 123 for the Blades and 261 in his career

Steve Bruce's first game as West Bromwich Albion boss ended in the same way as his very first in management more than two decades ago - with a Sheffield United home win.

Billy Sharp got both goals to lift the Blades level on points with Albion - and within a point of the top six - thanks to an eighth win in 11 games for Paul Heckingbottom's men.

But, in his 1,001st game in management after it all began at Sheffield United in 1998, Bruce was out of good fortune on his return to Bramall Lane.

Sharp's opener went in off a cruel deflection before Bruce had his skipper Jake Livermore harshly sent off, his fifth red card for Albion, for a committed challenge on Aston Villa loan man Conor Hourihane - a man Bruce himself signed for Villa five years ago.

Then Bruce witnessed a glorious chance to level wasted when Adam Reach's ball over the top left Grady Diangana galloping down the middle with the freedom of Sheffield spread out before him, but he dithered alarmingly and did not even get a shot in as George Baldock made up 10 yards to block.

If the Blades' opener owed a bit to luck, there was nothing shabby about their second with 10 minutes left when Sharp, who also had a first-half header disallowed, lashed in a right footer from 15 yards to wrap up victory.

The winning margin could have been greater as Albion failed to score for the third successive game - and recalled Baggies and England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone also made two fine second-half saves.

It leaves Albion out of the play-off zone for the first time this season in ninth, a place ahead of the Blades. They could be even further down the table by the time they play their next game, at home to former Baggies boss Tony Mowbray's Blackburn on Monday.

In-form Sheffield United were playing only their third home game since Heckingbottom took charge on 25 November - but they have now won them all.

And, following Saturday's lunchtime Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield, they then have three consecutive home games, against Hull City, Swansea City and Blackburn - with a chance for the early season strugglers to at least move into the Championship's top six.

Jake Livermore 39th-minute red card from referee Leigh Doughty was a real turning point in the game
Jake Livermore's 39th-minute red card from referee Leigh Doughty was a turning point in the game

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom:

"I see them as most others do as one of the best sides in this league. I know Steve well and how much success he has had at this level, so I knew it would be tough.

"We had some other chances which we didn't take but we don't want to be greedy. We'd settle for three points and another clean sheet.

"I'm happy that nobody's talking about us but I'm hoping that we might leave people with no option but to talk about us. We'll keep patient and then hopefully be not too far away."

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Bruce told BBC Radio WM:

"I genuinely thought Jake Livermore's red card was very harsh. If anything, it was a yellow. Jake's played the ball and he's not really endangered an opponent.

"There was a similar challenge on Grady Diangana just before that and the referee doesn't even give a free-kick - but these are the frustrations we feel as I expect Jake to make that challenge.

"We will take another look at it from a few different angles and try to see what the referee saw but it's very difficult to try and overturn something like that."


Sheff Utd

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 18Foderingham
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 19Robinson
  • 20BogleBooked at 76mins
  • 16Norwood
  • 24Hourihane
  • 2Baldock
  • 29NdiayeSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 69'minutes
  • 17McGoldrickSubstituted forMcBurnieat 69'minutes
  • 10SharpSubstituted forBergeat 90+4'minutes


  • 1Davies
  • 4Fleck
  • 8Berge
  • 9McBurnie
  • 26Goode
  • 27Gibbs-White
  • 33Norrington-Davies

West Brom

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2FurlongSubstituted forO'Sheaat 85'minutes
  • 6Ajayi
  • 16Clarke
  • 3Townsend
  • 8LivermoreBooked at 39mins
  • 27MowattBooked at 38minsSubstituted forRobinsonat 79'minutes
  • 11DianganaSubstituted forMolumbyat 45'minutes
  • 20Reach
  • 18Grant
  • 15Carroll


  • 4O'Shea
  • 7Robinson
  • 14Molumby
  • 21Kipré
  • 25Button
  • 28Tulloch
  • 29Gardner-Hickman
Leigh Doughty

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamWest Brom
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sheffield United 2, West Bromwich Albion 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, West Bromwich Albion 0.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield United. Sander Berge replaces Billy Sharp.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).

  5. Post update

    Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United).

  7. Post update

    Andy Carroll (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Sheffield United. Oliver McBurnie tries a through ball, but Morgan Gibbs-White is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Morgan Gibbs-White (Sheffield United).

  10. Post update

    Adam Reach (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Callum Robinson.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Dara O'Shea replaces Darnell Furlong because of an injury.

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Sheffield United 2, West Bromwich Albion 0. Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Callum Robinson replaces Alex Mowatt.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Mowatt (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  16. Booking

    Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United).

  18. Post update

    Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  19. Post update

    Jack Robinson (Sheffield United) hits the right post with a header from the right side of the six yard box. Assisted by Chris Basham following a set piece situation.

  20. Post update

    Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.


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