Gibbs-White acrobatics rescue point for Sheff Utd

Morgan Gibbs-White acrobatically rescued a point for Sheffield United in their 1-1 draw at Bristol City to keep the Blades in the top six of the Championship.

After watching seventh-placed Millwall move level on points on them with victory over Hull earlier in the day, Paul Heckingbottom’s side were under pressure to deliver at Ashton Gate.

Despite dominating, United found themselves behind when Chris Martin ended a swift breakaway by tapping City in front, but continued pressure from the visitors led to an equaliser.

Gibbs-White finished on the volley after Enda Stevens’ shot was parried, keeping the Blades a point ahead of Millwall and three ahead of Blackburn in eighth.

How the Blades rescued a point

With the likes of Billy Sharp, Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster all out, Heckingbottom named a makeshift front three consisting of midfielder Sande Berge and Morgan Gibbs-White along with Iliman Ndiaye.

And it was the sharp Gibbs-White who had the first real chance of the game when he was involved in a slick move along with George Baldock and John Fleck, only to shoot straight at Daniel Bentley when clean through.

Ndiaye missed the best chance of the first-half

Ndiaye missed the best chance of the first-half

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession and chances in the opening period, having over 70 per cent of the ball before half-time and limiting City to just one chance.

Matty James’ corner was drifted in towards striker Martin, who could only head over Wes Foderingham’s bar from six yards out.

The Blades should have made their first-half chances count, but Ndiaye was too high when played through in similar circumstances to Gibbs-White earlier. With seconds remaining before half-time, Fleck fed Stevens, who dragged his effort wide.

Sheffield United began the second period in similar fashion, with Jack Robinson heading straight at Bentley – but straight from that chance came the home opener.

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Bristol City lead at home against Sheffield United after a quick counter-attack is finished off by Chris Martin.

Bentley immediately found Antoine Semenyo down the left with an excellent long ball, with the Frenchman beating his man before squaring to Martin for an easy tap-in.

Heckingbottom’s Blades had not learned their lesson from that goal – and were nearly caught out for 2-0 in two similar fashion. Martin released Andi Weimann down the left, and he played a ball across to Semenyo, who hit a first-time shot marginally over the bar.

And it wasn’t long until City were through again. This time, Timm Klose won the ball high up the pitch and played through Martin – but his low effort was straight at Foderingham, with Weimann in a promising position in the middle of the penalty area.

City were made to pay for those missed chances as their defence produced its own holes at the hour mark. Stevens found too much space inside the hosts’ penalty area to turn and shoot and while Bentley was equal to it, Gibbs-White was on hand with a scissor-kick finish to level the game.

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Sheffield United’s Morgan Gibbs-White levels the score with Bristol City after this brilliant acrobatic volley.

Such a fast start to the second period turned into an abrupt stop due to yellow cards and injuries – including one to Semenyo, who rolled his ankle shortly after the equaliser. His replacement, Nahki Wells, nearly found a late winner.

On his 100th City appearance, Wells strode through on the break but dragged a left-footed shot wide of Foderingham’s near post, when he had time and space to do better.

The hosts ended the game better as Rob Atkinson fired over from a corner.

Man of the match – Morgan Gibbs-White

Morgan Gibbs-White on Sky Sports Football:

“We deserved the three points. The stats don’t lie: we kept the ball and outplayed them but that’s what happens if you don’t take your chances.

“Me and Ili (Ndiaye) link up together really well and it showed again today. He’s exciting on the ball but it’s frustrating that we didn’t get the three points.

Gibbs-White celebrates his acrobatic equaliser

Gibbs-White celebrates his acrobatic equaliser

“It was the final end product, we couldn’t take our chances but it was the final details or the final goal and we couldn’t get it.

“For my goal, I had to think fast and it came up in the air and just tried it and it went in. Especially when it’s a tight game like that, we have to stay concentrated. We have to remember they’re good on the counter attack.

“I think after today’s performance, it’s going to be a positive as we can build on this. We will build on this, on to the next.”

What’s next?

Sheffield United will be hoping to solidify their spot in the top six when they host Cardiff City on Saturday at 3pm. The Blades then travel to QPR on Friday April 29 for a match live on Sky Sports before ending the Championship season at home to leaders Fulham.

Bristol City visit relegated Derby on Saturday before ending the season at home to Hull City and away at Huddersfield.