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James McAtee screamer earns Sheffield United victory over Brentford

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Dec 2023

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James McAtee’s first-half stunner handed Chris Wilder his first win since returning as Sheffield United manager as they beat Brentford 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

Chances were few and far between for much of the first period but United made their first shot on target count thanks to a McAtee beauty right at the end of the half.

A Brentford side without the injured Bryan Mbeumo struggled to pierce a resolute-looking Blades defence in the second period.

The home side had chances themselves to put the game to bed through Anis Slimane but nevertheless claimed their first clean sheet of the season and just a second Premier League victory.

A tightly-contested opening greeted supporters at a windy and rainy Bramall Lane with the first chance falling in the way of the hosts when Auston Trusty saw an early effort deflected behind for a corner.

Brentford midfielder Frank Onyeka could count himself lucky for still being on the field after he lunged in late on Vini Souza which was deemed only to a yellow card offence following a VAR check on the half-hour mark.

Onyeka almost made his presence count straight away but he hit a tame effort into the hands of Wes Foderingham for Brentford’s first shot on target in the 36th minute.

Moments later it was the Blades’ turn to come forward after Gustavo Hamer slipped Will Osula through, only for him to divert wide of the front post from close range.

The hosts finished a cagey first half the better of the two, this time Hamer deciding to have a crack from distance which flew comfortably wide of Mark Flekken’s goal.

After a quiet first 40, the game seemed to spark into life and Brentford almost nicked an opener when Neal Maupay found himself with space inside the area but saw his effort deflect marginally wide.

Sheffield United broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time with their first shot on target of the game when McAtee spectacularly curled into the top corner as Flekken watched on helplessly for the Manchester City loanee’s first Premier League goal.

The Blades came close to a second just before the hour mark after Cameron Archer dispossessed Ben Mee. He teed up substitute Slimane, who was denied by the onrushing Flekken.

Yoane Wissa seemed determined to deny Blades victory and had a couple of chances on target.

After seeing a header saved by Foderingham, he was denied minutes later when the United stopper kept out his goalbound volley.

Space began to open up as Brentford went in search of an equaliser and United saw a wonderful chance go begging as Slimane lashed into the side netting when one-on-one with Flekken.

It was wave after wave of Brentford attacks in the final minutes and a nervous Bramall Lane blew a huge sigh of relief when a late Saman Ghoddos free-kick seemed to bounce off the arm of Anel Ahmedhodzic only for VAR not to rule it a penalty as United claimed their second win of the season.

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