Sheffield United kicked off their Premier League season at home against Crystal Palace, fifteen hours after an out of character midnight signing announcement – Gustavo Hamer joining on a four-year contract.
With Paul Heckingbottom previously admitting he considered the squad light and putting pressure on those above him to make further signings, he chose a starting lineup which relied on the more familiar faces and a young frontline.
Blades: Foderingham, Baldock, Ahmedhodžić, Egan (C), Robinson, Lowe, Norwood, Basham, Osborn, Traoré, Osula
Subs: Davies, Trusty, Souza, Larouci, Marsh, Brooks, Seriki, Hackford
The Blades got the game under way and were to attack the Shoreham Street end first half, where Hamer had moments earlier said hello to a capacity United crowd.
The visitors were the first to have the ball in the net when Ayew headed in after Foderingham had palmed an effort out, thankfully, the linesman’s flag was raised.
United had some of the ball and were getting forward, Egan with a header off target from a corner. There were flurries and a couple of good moves down the Blades right before Baldock put a good looking cross into the box, only to be cleared by the Palace backline.
Norwood had a shot from 18 yards, but the goalkeeper was equal to the midfielders effort. The sides went into the break goalless.
The second half was to begin in the worst possible way for the Blades, when Palace took the lead four minutes after the break. Ayew ran at United on the right before putting a low cross through the box which was turned in by Edouard. A frustrating period ensued with a number of refereeing decisions riling the crowd with Blades fans angry at the apparent inconsistencies and the eagerness of the visiting side to “win” free kicks.
United were still having a go, Osborn linked up with Traoré and drove into the area, seeing his effort deflected wide for a corner.
Osula had a effort which curled narrowly wide and another that was put into the side netting.
On 80 minutes, Heckingbottom gave minutes to new signings Slimane, Larouci and Souza, replacing Robinson, Basham and Lowe before Brooks and Hackford got a run out in place of Osborn and Traoré.
The start of the season having come too quickly for more involvement from the incomings, Heckingbottom will be hoping that Lowe and Baldock, who both picked up late knocks won’t join the others on the injury list.
“Palace deserve the win but there’s nothing that scares us in this league, we just know we’ve got to get better from here on in.” said the Blades gaffer after the match.
Sheffield United: Foderingham, Baldock, Ahmedhodžić, Egan (C), Robinson (Slimane 80), Lowe (Souza 80), Norwood, Basham (Larouci 80), Osborn (Brooks 87), Traoré (Hackford 87), Osula
Unused Subs: Davies, Trusty, Marsh, Seriki.
Crystal Palace: Johnstone, Ward, Anderson, Guéhi (Tomkins 90+2), Mitchell, Lerma, Doucouré, J Ayew, Eze, Schlupp, Édouard
Unused Subs: Mateta, Clyne, Richards, Ahamada, Matthews, Gordon, Riedewald, Rak-Sakyi.