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Sheffield United keep pressure on Burnley after seeing off Blackpool
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Sheffield United’s Sander Berge (right) celebrates after scoring against Blackpool (Tim Markland/PA)
Sheffield United’s Sander Berge (right) celebrates after scoring against Blackpool (Tim Markland/PA)

Sheffield United maintained the pace with Sky Bet Championship table-toppers Burnley with a 2-1 win at Blackpool.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side made it an impressive fifth win on the spin to pile the pressure on Vincent Kompany’s league leaders ahead of their trip to Stoke on Friday night.

Goals from Sander Berge and James McAtee did the damage and even Marvin Ekpiteta’s second-half effort was not enough to cause a real scare.

It meant it is now 24 points from a possible 27 for Heckingbottom’s charges as they ended 2022 in style with a remarkable run of eight wins from nine.

But, for the struggling Seasiders, who remain firmly in the bottom three, it is eight games without a win in two months.

There was a touching minute’s applause before kick-off for Brazilian great Pele, who died at the age of 82 on Thursday.

Both sides made changes for the clash on the seaside under the illumination of the lights at Bloomfield Road.

Heckingbottom made a trio of swaps from the starting line-up which saw his side hammer Coventry on Boxing Day.

Jack Robinson replaced the suspended John Egan, who was sent off last time out, while Enda Stevens and Jayden Bogle both returned to the starting XI.

Blackpool made a solitary change as defender Dom Thompson came in for the injured Luke Garrett after their third straight draw, at Hull.

Blades goalkeeper Wes Foderingham needed to be alert to tip Ian Poveda’s powerful strike from just outside the box over in the early exchanges.

The visitors put themselves ahead in the 18th minute as Norwegian Berge safely tucked into the bottom-left corner to finish off a well-worked move.

United’s goal took the wind out of the hosts’ sails after a promising start and Blackpool squandered another good chance when Jake Beesley saw his effort pushed away by Foderingham after Gary Madine did well to nod the ball into his path on the six-yard box.

The visitors piled on the pressure and penned the hosts into their defensive third but it was Blackpool who should have scored the game’s second goal before the break.

James Husband’s floated cross had Foderingham and the Blades’ defence beaten, but the chance went begging.

Sheffield United’s silky football earned them a fine second just after the restart as they easily broke the struggling hosts down.

This time it was McAtee who coolly found the bottom corner as the Blades all but put the game to bed four minutes after the restart.

But Blackpool breathed life back into the contest when Ekpiteta grabbed one back in the 55th minute.

Striker Jerry Yates then smashed a long-range effort wide as they searched for a leveller before Foderingham ensured the points late on with a great save to keep out Sonny Carey.


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