Belfast Telegraph

Blades fans deserve this moment: Wilder

Sheffield United 1 Crystal Palace 0

Decisive say: John Lundstram hails his winner
Decisive say: John Lundstram hails his winner

By Sean Taylor

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder dedicated the club's first Premier League win for over 12 years to the supporters.

John Lundstram's second-half strike sealed a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace as top-flight football made a long-awaited return to Bramall Lane.

Back in the Premier League for the first time since their relegation in 2007 amid the controversial Carlos Tevez affair, the Blades built on their opening-day draw at Bournemouth with three points yesterday.

Lundstram fired home after 47 minutes and the majority of the 30,197 crowd responded with a noise to rock the foundations of the world's oldest professional football stadium.

"I know more than anyone what these supporters have had to go through and what they have been served up and had to deal with," said Wilder, himself a Sheffield United fan and former player. "But they kept coming back every week and supporting the team - 22,000 fans when 12th in League One, that's ridiculous.

"They kept coming for a reason, because it's their football club. Sometimes these days would have seemed a million miles off, so this is definitely a day for our supporters.

"They have gone through the mill, these are not glory-hunting supporters. This club can go anywhere at any stage - and it has done. But hopefully now we are in the right direction."

Wilder's side played with gusto and energy throughout, matching their hard work with some fine football along the way.

Their only scare came in the opening five minutes when Christian Benteke stung the palms of Dean Henderson from a tight angle, while Wilfried Zaha was largely anonymous.

Palace have now drawn a blank in both of their matches so far this season, following a goalless draw with Everton.

Zaha was recalled after starting on the bench last week. But for a couple of ill-advised exchanges with George Baldock, Wilder and the home fans, he was hardly involved.

Asked about Zaha's performance, Palace boss Roy Hodgson said: "I'm not prepared to discuss individual players and their performances.

"We didn't cause Sheffield United the problems we needed to cause them if we were going to get anything from the game.

"How do we change that? You do the same as you always do, keep working at your game."

SHEFF UTD: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O'Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck (Freeman, 29 mins), Stevens, McGoldrick (Jagielka, 89 mins), Robinson (McBurnie, 56 mins). Unused subs: Sharp,Osborn,Moore,Besic.

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Dann, van Aanholt, Townsend (McCarthy, 70 mins), McArthur (Wickham, 82 mins), Milivojevic, Meyer (Schlupp, 65 mins), Benteke, Zaha. Unused subs: Kouyate, Ayew, Hennessey, Cahill.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Man of the match: George Baldock

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph


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