Sheffield United came into this week’s fixture in an unusual position for them recently. Winless in three after a late equaliser against Charlton and a defeat in the FA Cup Second Round against Bolton, Chris Wilder was keen to get back to winning ways.
Swindon at home was a game Wilder’s men had to win, with promotion rivals Scunthorpe, Bradford and Bolton seemingly unable to drop points at the moment.
The Blades made six changes to the side that lost to Bolton last weekend, with Matt Done again partnering Billy Sharp up front as a return to the goal fest of recent weeks was hoped for.
Swindon started the brighter of the two sides, with Blades keeper Simon Moore being called into action early, saving from six yards to deny the Robins the dream start.
The Blades settled into the game well though, and always looked dangerous on the break – O’Connell got a boot in during a scramble which was deflected wide, and Sharp had a cute lob attempt headed off the line. Swindon defended well though, and managed to keep it goalless before the half time break.
Swindon were also first to use their bench, bringing on Michael Doughty for Jermaine Hylton. This made little impact on the game however, as Sharp fired wide from a few yards out with the linesman’s flag there to spare his blushes.
Nevertheless it seemed only a matter of time before United broke the deadlock, and sure enough Mark Duffy side footed home in the 52nd minute after a great move from United. Swindon keeper Lawrence Vigouroux will be disappointed he didn’t stop the ball from hitting the back of the net.
A commanding performance followed from the men in red and white. Coutts found the corner a minute later to double the lead, before Duffy again tapped in on the hour mark to make it 3-0, with a disallowed goal was turned in by Sharp in between.
United looked in the mood against a dejected Swindon side. Vigouroux earned himself a few drinks in the last half hour as he kept the score somewhat respectable, saving well from Done and Sharp again.
Lavery added a fourth and his first goal in a United shirt in the 77th minute after coming on for Matt Done, who left to a standing ovation, and Blades continued to look like scoring through to the final whistle.
Blades boss Chris Wilder was quick to compliment Swindon on their fast start, and blew away any thoughts that goal difference was key, stating that first and foremost “we’re there to win football games.”
He also commented on the level of training during the week as “the highest it’s ever been,” something which shows the resilience of this United side who had faced something of a blip in the last two weeks. They certainly bounced back today.
Sheffield United 4-0 Swindon Town
Man of the Match: Mark Duffy