Honours even at Portman Road
Town had to settle for a point against the Blades in a hard-fought encounter at Portman Road.
Sheffield substitute James Wilson came closest to breaking the deadlock with a strike against the post, while Blues were indebted to Luke Chambers in the first-half with a clearance from Billy Sharp with the goal open.
Bersant Celina fired a couple of long range efforts in a game of few clear cut openings.
Celina and Stephen Waghorn returned to the starting line-up, with Myles Kenlock coming in for the injured Jonas Knudsen.
Bart Bialkowski, fresh from his call-up to the Poland squad, made a comfortable save from Lee Evans’ 25-yard free-kick, then Town countered at pace at the other end, Martyn Waghorn’s cross destined for Celina until Richard Stearman intervened.
Waghorn dragged a right foot shot wide of the far post, then the Town striker robbed Stearman but was pulled back as he looked to get in on goal 40 yards out. Referee John Brooks showed the yellow card when some may have looked at red.
Dominic Iorfa’s header from the free-kick went into the sidenetting as Town pressed for an opener, Bialkowski holding firm from John Fleck’s driven left footer as the Blades responded.
Celina cut inside but was off target from 16 yards, Enda Stevens too strong with his cross, then Ched Evans was crowded out on the edge of the box.
Cameron Carter-Vickers blocked out Sharp as he raced onto Fleck’s clever pass, then Sharp flicked the ball over Bialkowski but with the goal open, Chambers came to Town’s rescue.
A 60 yard pass from Adam Webster released Waghorn down the right, the striker forcing a corner that tested ‘keeper Jamal Blackman, Celina wide with a 20 yarder after a trademark mazy run across goal as an even first-half came to an end.
Jordan Spence replaced Iorfa at the break in the game’s first change, Webster in the right place to clear as Sharp threatened an early breakthrough for the visitors.
John Lundstram forced his way into the Town box, got lucky with the rebound, then with a shot on he squared the ball to Ched Evans, who went down under Chambers’ challenge but referee Brooks waved away the penalty appeals.
Blackman pushed Celina’s strike away to safety, then brilliant work by Cole Skuse saw him break into Blades territory but he couldn’t find Waghorn with his pass, Sheffield replying with a driven cross from Stevens that begged to be tapped in but wasn’t.
Callum Connolly got in the way of Sharp’s effort, the Everton loanee replaced by Luke Hyam on the hour, Ched Evans making way for Wilson in Blades’ first change.
Wilson was inches away from putting Sheffield ahead when he hit the inside of the post, Sharp couldn’t convert from the rebound, Town making a third change with Spence replaced by Joe Garner for the final 10 minutes.
Jack O’Connell got on the end of Fleck’s free-kick but couldn’t find the target, Wilson wide with the effort of the game.
Bialkowski, Iorfa (Spence 46, Garner 80)), Carter-Vickers, Chambers, Webster, Kenlock, Gleeson, Skuse, Connolly (Hyam 60), Celina, Waghorn. Subs not used: Crowe, Ward, Sears, Nydam. Booked: Skuse, Gleeson.
Sheff Utd: Blackman, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Lundstram (Donaldson 87), Sharp (Brooks 78), Stearman, L.Evans, C.Evans (Wilson 69). Subs not used: Moore, Leonard, Lafferty, Holmes.