Jagielka inspires Stoke to victory over former club Sheffield United
Sheffield United were undone by a familiar face as Phil Jagielka proved instrumental in Stoke’s 3-1 home win.
The 40-year-old, who made 309 appearances for the Blades across two spells, scored one and set up another, recording a goal and an assist in the same game for the first time in his career.
Jagielka first assumed the role of creator, teeing up centre-back partner Ben Wilmot to fire the hosts into an early lead.
And, after the Blades levelled through Rhian Brewster’s first goal since January, it was the veteran defender who restored Stoke’s lead.
The evergreen Jagielka ended a rather longer wait for a goal, notching for the first time since April 2019.
And substitute Liam Delap opened his account for the club in stoppage time as the Potters handed new boss Alex Neil his first home win.
Sheffied United remained top of the Championship despite a third game without a win.
Despite their recent stutter, Paul Heckingbottom’s side nearly opened the scoring inside 30 seconds when James McAtee dragged an effort narrowly wide.
And the Manchester City loanee’s early miss proved costly as the hosts opened the scoring after just four minutes.
A precise Jagielka delivery found the onrushing Wilmot at the far post and the latter powered an effort in from close range for his third goal in six outings.
Stoke, whose winless run at home stretched back to early August, then saw Tariqe Fosu stung the palms of Wes Foderingham.
However, the Blades responded positively to their early setback.
A spectacular Tommy Doyle strike from range looked destined for the top corner, were if not for the impressive reflexes of his England Under-21 team-mate Joe Bursik.
The Stoke goalkeeper was then indebted to Fosu, who cleared a Kyron Gordon header off the line to deny the youngster a first senior goal.
The visitors’ persistence eventually paid off when Brewster was afforded time and space to volley in his first goal of the season.
A lively Fosu threatened to re-establish the host’s lead when his thunderous strike from range crashed off the crossbar.
United could have even snatched the advantage themselves, but Iliman Ndiaye’s effort struck the foot of a post, with Bursik left motionless.
But it was Jagielka who settled the afternoon as he netted for the first time in over three years, nodding in a Lewis Baker corner.
Fosu was again frustrated when his clean volley was cleared off the line by Oliver Norwood as Stoke began to turn the screw.
And the hosts made the points safe late on as on-loan Manchester City youngster Liam Delap, son of former Stoke stalwart Rory, tapped home his first goal in red and white.