Sheffield United 1-1 Birmingham City: Clarke strikes again to secure the Blades a share of the points

Sheffield United came from behind to seal a share of the points in The Championship on Saturday evening in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City courtesy of another goal from Leon Clarke.

Sheffield United 1-1 Birmingham City: Clarke strikes again to secure the Blades a share of the points
Leon Clarke levelled for the Blades in the second-half. (Picture: Getty Images/Mark Cosgrove)
Sheffield United
1 1
Birmingham City
Sheffield United : Blackman, Stevens, Fleck, O'Connell, Basham, Lundstram, Clarke, Sharp (Brooks, min. 68), Wright, Carter-Vickers (Carruthers, min. 68), Duffy.
Birmingham City : Stockdale, Nsue, Dean, Morrison, Roberts, Grounds, Kieftenbeld, Ndoye, Jota (Maghoma, min. 79), Boga (Adams, min. 87), Jutkiewicz (Gallagher, min. 90).
SCORE: 0-1, min. 38, Boga. 1-1, min. 71, Clarke.
REFEREE: Jeremy Simpson.
INCIDENTS: Championship League Match Played At Bramall Lane Stadium. 27,427 Spectators.

Sheffield United came from behind to seal a point in the Championship as they drew 1-1 with Birmingham City on Saturday evening. 

The Blades came into this match as the favourites following their superb start to the campaign and Birmingham's struggles so far. However, it was the away side who led at half-time following a superb curling shot from Jeremie Boga

However, the home side did respond in the second half and in-form striker Leon Clarke sealed his side a point as he grabbed his 13th goal of the season with around 20 minutes left to play. 


Boga gives Blues a shock first-half lead

Blades manager Chris Wilder opted to name an unchanged starting line-up for this match following Tuesday night's dramatic 5-4 defeat to Fulham.

Wilder will have been aware of the importance of responding to that defeat with a positive result in this one to keep up with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the top of the division. 

It was the Blades who made the brighter start to proceedings in this one with the likes of Clarke, Billy Sharp and Mark Duffy looking dangerous in attack.

However, the Blues did look a threat on the counter-attack, especially when they were able to to feed record signing Jota. The 26-year-old Spaniard showed some early glimpses of his quality as he made United's defensive look vulnerable when the away side did manage to make it into the final third. 

Steve Cotterill opted to bring summer signing David Stockdale into his starting line-up for this one and he made a good save around 20 minutes into the first half. The ball pinged around in the Birmingham area before dropping nicely for Blades midfielder John Lundstram on the edge of the box.

However, Stockdale was there to tip his effort away from danger. The Blades had another great opportunity to open the scoring just minutes later but Clarke could only fire John Fleck's cutback wide of the target. 

Another player who Cotterill decided to give a chance to impress from the start was forward Boga. The winger certainly staked a claim for a more regular place in the team as his curling long-range strike shortly before half-time found the top corner to give the away side a shock 1-0 lead.

There is no doubt that the goal came against the run of play with United having dominated majority of the first half but the Blues had remained solid at the back in what was a very spirited performance. 

The Blues could have even extended their advantage before the half-time whistle but failed to make the most of a superb opening. Lukas Jutkiewicz found himself in plenty of space down the right-hand side but decided to shoot himself rather than cut it back for a number of Birmingham players queuing up for a tap-in.

However, it was certainly Cotterill who went into half-time the happier manager as his team found themselves 1-0 up at the break. 


Clarke strikes again for the Blades

It was the Blades who again made the brighter start to the second half but they were being frustrated by a very resilient Birmingham defence.

As the home side threw numbers forward in search of an equaliser, they also started to look even more vulnerable to the counter attack with the pace of Boga and Jota causing them problems. 

The home side's first big chance of the second half came shortly after the hour-mark. Similarly to in the first half, the ball again fell kindly to Lundstram on the edge of the box following a period of intense United pressure. However, he was unable to connect properly and scuffed his shot wide of the target.

This led to more frustration in the Bramall Lane crowd, who were witnessing their side dominate but struggle to create any clear-cut chances. This was shortly followed by a double substitution which saw both David Brooks and Samir Carruthers introduced for the home side by Wilder. 

It was 20-year-old winger Brooks who made an immediate impact on proceedings. His tricky footwork in the area allowed him to tee up Clarke who cooly slotted home into the bottom corner to make it 1-1. It was a deserved equaliser for the home side after dominating the majority of the second period. 

Both sides had chances to win the game in the latter stages but neither were able to find an elusive winner. It was an impressive result for Cotterill's side and one that they will without doubt be looking to build on in the coming weeks.