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AFC Bournemouth vs Sheffield United at Stadion.Core.ViewModels.Matchday.LocationViewModel


AFC Bournemouth

, Chris Mepham ‘62'

Sheffield United

, Billy Sharp ‘88'
FT 10th August 2019 3:00 PM
Vitality Stadium
Stats Sponsored by MSP Capital

Sharp finish rocks the Cherries at the death

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Kevin Friend

Substitute Billy Sharp came off the bench to grab a dramatic late leveller for promoted Sheffield United at Vitality Stadium.

Substitute Billy Sharp came off the bench to grab a dramatic late leveller for promoted Sheffield United at Vitality Stadium.

It was a dagger through the heart for the Cherries after Chris Mepham had netted his first Premier League goal to give them the lead during a tense opening-day encounter.

The defender powered home a venomous right-foot shot midway through the second half, one of few chances in a cagey affair.

It was the second goal of his fledging career and the first since he scored for Brentford – against Sheffield United – in a 1-1 draw in the Championship in March 2018.

But veteran frontman Sharp had the final say for the visitors, the 33-year-old firing home from close range two minutes from time.

Aaron Ramsdale was handed his Premier League debut against his former club after winning the race for the jersey following a hotly-contested battle between the club’s team of goalkeepers during pre-season.

The Stoke-born 21-year-old, who joined the Cherries from the Blades in January 2017, did not concede a goal in warm-up games against AFC Wimbledon, who he served on loan last season, WBA and French outfit Lyon.  

Ramsdale was joined in the Cherries starting line-up by summer signing Philip Billing, the Danish midfielder handed his debut alongside Jefferson Lerma in central midfield.

There was no place in the Sheffield United matchday squad for striker Lys Mousset, who left Vitality Stadium for Bramall Lane last month.

David McGoldrick, who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with the Cherries in 2006/07, started up front for the Blades, the striker having netted 15 goals in their 2018/19 promotion campaign.

And McGoldrick went close to giving the visitors a dream start after fastening on to John Lundstram’s ball over the top just 30 seconds in. But Ramsdale threw himself full length to his left to parry the frontman’s first-time effort with Steve Cook mopping up the loose ball.

Two swift counter-attacks by the Cherries came to nothing, Adam Smith’s cross too high for Joshua King and then Callum Wilson’s pass failing to find the Norway international after both moves had looked promising.

Billing’s excellent interception drew applause from the Vitality Stadium faithful as the Blades looked to fashion an opening before Callum Robinson escaped unpunished after barging into Cook.

Ramsdale again had to be on his toes in the 21st minute, the goalkeeper scooping away Robinson’s low drive from 25 yards after the Blades' summer recruit had turned sharply to create space for himself.

A well-worked corner routine between Ryan Fraser and Rico ended with Billing slicing his shot high and wide of the target midway through the first half.

Chances were at a premium during the opening period with Lundstram’s scuffed effort following a John Fleck corner highlighting the dearth of scoring opportunities.

Adam Smith had his name taken by referee Kevin Friend for a foul on Jack O’Connell before the Cherries’ clearest chance of the half fell to Mepham.

The defender seized on the loose ball after the Blades defence had failed to deal with Cook’s long throw, only to blaze his shot wide when well placed on the stroke of half-time.

Mepham’s crucial challenge prevented Enda Stevens from having a clear run on goal at the start of the second half before McGoldrick latched on to a long clearance and fired inches wide of Ramsdale’s right-hand post.

Lerma’s piledriver was charged down by Stevens after the Cherries had mounted a quick break before Robinson, who was being marshalled by Mepham, failed to convert Lundstram’s driven cross.

Another block from Stevens prevented King’s shot from testing Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson after Fraser’s free-kick had caused problems.

Henderson pulled off a superb save to keep out Billing’s rasping drive from 30 yards before VAR checked a penalty decision after King had gone to ground in the lead up to the shot, with the review deeming no spot-kick would be awarded.

The Cherries finally made the breakthrough when Mepham drilled home his maiden Premier League goal after the Blades had failed to deal with Fraser’s 62nd-minute free-kick.

Helped back into the danger zone by Billing, the ball fell to Nathan Ake whose overhead kick found its way to Wilson with his shot parried by Henderson.

However, Mepham showed all the predatory instincts generally associated with a proven striker to rifle home the loose ball, his unstoppable drive giving Henderson no chance.

The Cherries were rocked late on when substitute Sharp proded home from close range after George Baldock’s low cross had eventually fallen to him inside the six-yard box.

In stoppage-time, Fraser clipped a free-kick over the crossbar from the edge of the box.



Watford Vicarage Road

Sky Bet Championship

24th October 2020 12:30 PM

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