Sheffield United 1-1 Birmingham City: Troy Deeney is back at his best, equalizing to negate a goal from Oli McBurnie of the Blades
- Sheffield United and Birmingham City played a draw on Saturday
- Troy Deeney scored the equalizer for the Blues with 20 minutes to go
- It came just seven minutes after Oli McBurnie opened the scoring for the Blades
Troy Deeney scored a clinical equalizer for Birmingham to cancel Oli McBurnie’s second half opener and deny leaders Sheffield United a fifth straight win.
Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades were on course for victory when the revitalized McBurnie opened the scoring with a fine shot in the 64th minute.
It was his fifth goal in his last six games, but the visitors, inspired by experienced skipper Deeney, were a must.
Troy Deeney punched Birmingham’s 70th minute winner to deny Sheffield United another win
SHEFFIELD UNITED (3-5-2): Foderingham 6; Basham 6, Egan 7, Norrington-Davies 7; Baldock 6, Berge 6, Norwood 6, Doyle 6 (Brewster 64, 6), Khadra 6 (Bogle 64, 6); Ndiaye 5 (McAtee 90), McBurnie 7 (Sharp 69, 6)
Subs (not used): Davies, Arblaster, Gordon
Booked: Norwood, Bogle, McBurnie
Manager Rating: Paul Hecking bottom 6
BIRMINGHAM (5-3-2): blushing 6; Graham 6, Colin 6, Sanderson 6, Trusty 6, Longelo 6; Bielik 6, Bacuna 6 (Mejbri 69, 6), Chong 8 (Hall 82); Deeney 7 (Bellingham 90), Hogan 6 (Jutkiewicz 90)
Subs (not used): Etheridge, Leko, James
Booked: Longelo, Mejbri, Bielik
Manager Rating: John Eustace 6
They tied the score in the 70th minute when the impressive Tahith Chong delivered a dangerous ball behind United’s defence.
Deeney was there to collect possession and fire a shot from close range past Wes Foderingham for his first goal of the season, much to the delight of massive traveling support behind the goal.
The Blues were well on their way after having fought playfully all along, but United’s supporters went home with a huge sense of frustration.
If Heckingbottom’s side wants to earn from automatic promotion, they just need to grab the maximum number of points domestically.
United had won the previous four games without conceding a goal, a string of results that left Blades fans dreaming of a return to the Premier League.
This was their first match at Bramall Lane since 30 August following the postponement of Rotherham’s recent visit following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
After such a long absence, it took an hour for the Heckingbottom men to feel at home again.
Birmingham fought hard for every ball and United struggled to create clear goals.
McBurnie has had an impressive revival this season, but when Oli Norwood delivered a corner from the right in the 15th minute for the first chance at home, he headed straight for Blues goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Oli McBurnie broke the deadlock for the hosts just after the hour with a fine strike
In reality, it was only half a chance and three minutes later the visitors were almost cold to United.
Birmingham midfielder Chong burst into the penalty area and fired a shot that John Egan did a great job of blocking.
A free kick from United midfielder Tommy Doyle, on loan from Manchester City, hit the top of the bar.
Sander Berge then fired wide after skillfully manipulating space to hit a low left foot shot.
The Blades and the Blues played a messy match in Sheffield that even ended with honours
Iliman Ndiaye then failed to hit the target before attacking partner McBurnie headed a cross from Doyle from the right flank.
Birmingham kept scraping for everything as the second half unfolded and Deeney came close from a deep free kick before Ndiaye nodded wide on the other side.
Then came McBurnie’s moment when a free kick 16 yards from goal fell kindly to him and he hit a thunderous shot high into the net with his right foot.
Still, the visitors were soon even when Deeney struck in a predatory fashion.
Billy Sharp came off the bench to replace McBurnie and made a clever save from Ruddy late when the honors ended in a draw.