Harrison opener as Town share points wth promotion contenders
Ellis Harrison’s first goal for Town helped Blues to a share of the points against high-flying Sheffield United.
The summer signing from Bristol Rovers, making his first start under Paul Lambert, found the roof of the net with a curler seven minutes before the break.
United were level two minutes into the second-half though when Oliver Norwood’s superb cross was headed in by Billy Sharp.
The Blades had the better chances, Sharp and Enda Stevens going close but Town held firm to pick up a good point.
Town made three changes to the side that beat Wigan last weekend, with Andre Dozzell, Gwion Edwards and Harrison coming in. Former Blue, David McGoldrick, lined up for Blades following his summer move.
Sheffield started on the front foot, Dean Gerken pushing Sharp’s shot to safety, then Blues smothered the danger from the corner after a game of pinball in the box.
Chris Basham’s cross had too much on it for Sharp at the far post, Harrison and Edwards linking up well at the other end but the ball skimmed through to Dean Henderson.
Stevens’ cross was diverted over by the foot of Sharp when a header looked the better option, Matt Pennington then staying strong to keep out McGoldrick as he raced towards goal.
The Blades continued to carry the main threat, Sharp had the ball in the net from a free-kick but was judged to have been offside, Pennington beating the Sheffield skipper to a ball over the top, Harrison responding for Town with a header at Henderson.
John Egan headed over from a corner, Sharp hooked the ball over the bar from close range, Town countering with Edwards not far off releasing Sears with a crossfield pass, Henderson off his line to prevent the Blues’ frontman getting in.
t was Town’s turn to have the ball in the net just past the half hour when Luke Chambers headed in from a corner but referee Andy Woolmer’s whistle had already gone against Blues.
On 38 minutes the ball was in the net though, Sears fed Harrison who curled in a terrific right foot shot into the top corner from 20 yards to give Blues the advantage at half-time.
Two minutes after the break the visitors were level, a superb cross from Norwood and Sharp headed in from six yards.
McGoldrick threw himself in the way of Sears’ effort that was goalbound, Chambers heading over from a corner as Town responded positively, Sharp firing well wide at the other end.
McGoldrick and Mark Duffy linked up well inside the Town box but the cross beat everyone, Stevens volleying into the sidenetting from the angle, Norwood again showing his vision with a pass to George Baldock, his shot blocked by equally good Town defending.
Egan headed wide from a corner before McGoldrick was given a standing ovation before being replaced by Leon Clarke. Grant Ward on for Dozzell in Town’s first change.
Sears sent a free-kick wide, Stevens had a vicious shot blocked by Harrison, Jordan Roberts then entering the fray for Harrison for the closing stages.
Clarke headed over at the far post after a flowing move as the points hung in the balance, Sears testing Henderson at the other end with a curler but neither side could find a winner.
Town: Gerken, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Edwards, Chalobah, Nolan, Dozzell (Ward 69), Sears, Harrison (Roberts 77) . Subs not used: Bialkowski, Jackson, Nsiala, Kenlock, Lankester. Booked: Chalobah, Spence.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Sharp, Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick (Clarke 69) Duffy. Subs not used: Moore, Coutts, Stearman, Johnson, Cranie, Washington. Booked: O’Connell, Norwood.