Sheffield United were comfortably beaten by a brilliant Middlesbrough side as Paul Heckingbottom was sent off to compound the misery.
The Blades had taken an early lead and come out of the traps well. However, after around 20 minutes, Middlesbrough settled into the game and United never really looked like getting anything from there.
In the end 3-1 was probably what Boro deserved. They played well, and United have some thinking to do about certain things if they’re to maintain their gap in second.
One big blot on the night was Paul Heckingbottom getting sent off. The usually cool Blades boss was shown his marching orders and spent the final 20 minutes or so in the stands.
Why was Paul Heckingbottom sent off
Those inside the ground might have been a tad confused as to why Hecky got his marching orders. But Sky’s Don Goodman pointed it out before a replay then showed things clearly.
Heckingbottom had wanted to make a sub before United gave the ball away and Cameron Archer slotted in the third.
However, advantage was played instead of a foul on James McAtee and from there, Archer made no mistake.
From there, Heckingbottom was furious and turned around and kicked the subs board with some force. The fourth official was right there and Marriner was left with no option but to send the Blades boss off.
It was out of character for Hecky. And a sign the pressure might be building. Not to mention the fact the performance in general tonight was pretty abysmal.
Sheffield United needn’t panic. But Boro’s January signings made a difference here. United will need to hope their transfer embargo doesn’t come back to bite them.