Sheffield United v Northampton Town
SKY BET LEAGUE 1
Saturday December 31st, 1.00pm
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1
Kieron Freeman 89
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0
Attendance: 24,194 (1,650 Cobblers fans)
Sheff Utd: Simon Moore, John Fleck, Jack O'Connell, Chris Basham (sub Stefan Scougall 70), Billy Sharp, Paul Coutts, Kieron Freeman, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Mark Duffy, Daniel Lafferty (sub Matt Done 81), Leon Clarke (sub Caolan Lavery 59)
Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale, Jake Wright, Reece Brown, Louis Reed
Cobblers: Adam Smith, Aaron Phillips, David Buchanan, Gabriel Zakuani, Lewin Nyatanga, John-Joe O’Toole, Matt Taylor, Paul Anderson (sub Alfie Potter 69), Sam Hoskins (sub Joe Iaciofano 90), Marc Richards (sub Harry Beautyman 88), Alex Revell
Subs not used: David Cornell, Kenji Gorre, Zander Diamond, Jak McCourt
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Sheff Utd: Ethan Ebanks-Landell (34), John Fleck (71)
10 cautions on or before 11 April; 2 match suspension
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Sheff Utd: none
Sendings off: 2 cautions in one game; 1 match suspension but cautions do not count towards above totals. Other sendings off; 1 or 3 match suspension. Extra match ban for additional sendings off.
Bramall Lane was the venue for the Cobblers final game of 2016 as they came up against Chris Wilder’s in-form Sheffield United. Sam Hoskins, fully recovered from a minor hamstring injury, came straight back into the side, replacing Alfie Potter.
Sheffield United started brightly in the 1pm kick-off New Year's Eve with Paul Coutts testing Adam Smith with an early effort. Hoskins couldn’t quite get his shot away after a pull-back from Marc Richards in the first real opening for the Cobblers.
Coutts went close from distance when fed in by Billy Sharp while Paul Anderson put a header just wide from an Aaron Phillips cross. A Mark Duffy free-kick also went close to breaking the deadlock but a deflection saw his effort result in only a corner.
Phillips did superby to deny Leon Clarke from close range before Paul Anderson’s header back across goal just evaded Alex Revell as the Cobblers continued to look threatening on the counter-attack.
After a quiet start to the second half Matt Taylor made an important block to deny Blades substitute Caolan Lavery. A goal line clearance then prevented the home side from taking the lead as Chris Wilder’s team enjoyed a period of pressure on the Cobblers goal.
Alfie Potter replaced Anderson in the Cobblers first change before Billy Sharp flicked an effort just wide from close range.
Simon Moore made a terrific save to palm over a Matt Taylor free-kick but it was Sheffield United who broke the deadlock in the 89th minute, Kieron Freeman scoring from six-yards.
Billy Sharp and Stefan Scougall then almost doubled the Blades lead as the game entered stoppage time.
Freeman’s late goal proved decisive as the Cobblers signed off 2016 with a narrow defeat.
SHEFF UTD MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (4) 9
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (10) 17
CORNERS: (4) 6
FOULS: (3) 9
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (3) 5
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 2
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (3) 3
CORNERS: (2) 3
FOULS: (3) 5
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 2
The above stats are recorded by club staff. The stats shown elsewhere on this page are recorded by Opta