Bolton Wanderers suffered their first Sky Bet Championship defeat of the season today, losing to Sheffield United 3-0 at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Prior to kick off, Phil Parkinson made four changes to the team that started against Birmingham City.
Jonathan Grounds and Josh Vela came in for Andrew Taylor and Erhun Oztumer, with Luke Murphy and Will Buckley replacing Gary O’Neil and Craig Noone.
Wanderers were immediately put under pressure from Sheffield United, with an Oliver Norwood corner played expertly into Chris Basham who teed it up for midfielder partner Josh Fleck.
The Scotsman took a shot from close range, but Ben Alnwick was equal to it with a magnificent diving save to deflect it onto the crossbar.
Within five minutes, the Blades had the lead as a composed Mark Duffy placed the ball into the bottom right corner to give the opponents the early advantage.
There were shouts of a penalty for the Whites, as Will Buckley was seemingly impeded in the United penalty area, but referee Andrew Madley waved off the protests.
Leon Clarke played a pinpoint ball through the Wanderers defensive line, but Pawel Olkowski made a great sliding tackle to avert any danger.
Just before the 20-minute mark, Chris Basham nearly doubled the Blades’ total, with a snapshot from 16 yards flying past Ben Alnwick post.
Chris Wilder’s men had their second soon after, with Kieron Freeman’s cross beating all Wanderers’ bodies in the box due to a Leon Clarke dummy, which saw the ball trickle into the back of the net.
32 minutes in and Fleck was causing the Wanderers defence some danger, running through the centre of the pitch and nearly chipping Alnwick but the ball flew over the bar.
With time ticking down in the first half, Wanderers nearly had a goal back through skipper David Wheater.
A Josh Vela corner found the towering centre back on the volley, but his effort was blocked by Leon Clarke on the line.
After the restart, it was Blades second half substitute David McGoldrick who created the first chance.
The Republic of Ireland international unleashed a volley from distance, but Alnwick produced another superb save diving backwards to tip it over.
With just over 20 minutes to go in the game, Wanderers went close through Northern Irish international Josh Magennis.
Substitute Yanic Widlschut found himself in space on the left flank, who then delivered a cross into Magennis who headed goalward but couldn’t quite hit the target.
The Blades had their third on 73 minutes, with full back Enda Stevens delivering a low driven cross to the front post, where Fleck flicked the ball under Alnwick.
Sammy Ameobi had a chance late on for Phil Parkinson’s men, but his effort from the edge of the area was fractionally off target.
Wanderers XI: Alnwick, Lowe, Beevers, Vela, Ameobi, Buckley (Wildschut 61), Murphy (Oztumer 61), Olkowski, Magennis (Donaldson 81), Grounds, Wheater (C)
Unused substitutes: Matthew, Taylor, Wilson, Williams,