It was nail-biting stuff in the end for Sheffield United, but a Billy Sharp penalty ensured the Blades took all three points against Derby County yesterday.
Sharp smashed in late on after Curtis Davies had given away a penalty for a moment of madness in the 18-yard box. Davies inexcusably handballed from Conor Hourihane’s cross to give Sharp the ideal chance to seal the win.
Of course, Sharp obliged. The skipper making up for the one he missed against Hull City last weekend.
The United captain had endured a tough day at the office. He missed a golden chance early on, while he also saw Iliman Ndiaye spurn two good opportunities in the second period as well. Indeed, Sharp admitted he had been frustrated at times during the 90 minutes.
Sharp was up against a former United defender in the form of the experienced Phil Jagielka. And while Sharp had the last laugh, former Blade Rob Kozluk believed the Derby man had the Blades striker in his pocket.
“United had more of the ball and 75% of possession in the second-half but the handball from Davies, you know,” Kozluk said on SUTV Live.
“Jagielka and Davies – I mean Sharp’s just walked off here – but I mean he had him in his pocket. Jagielka empties his pocket, there’s Sharp. But he scores the penalty in front of the Kop and gives the Derby fans a bit of grief.”
Jagielka is a huge favourite among United fans after two spells with the club and despite his age, he shows no sign of letting up at Championship level.
Our View: Sharp gets rewards but Jagielka puts on a clinic
He might be edging towards the end of his career, but Jagielka showed he very much still has it in the locker with his performance yesterday.
He marshalled the Derby defence brilliantly and but for the odd moment for United, didn’t give much up in terms of goal scoring chances. For United fans, it would have been nice – albeit frustrating – to see Jags doing so well.
But, as he so often does, Sharp did get the last laugh. Rob Kozluk made a good point and had a glint in his eye with his comments. Jagielka, then, will prove crucial for Derby over the course of the season.