- Albion suffer first Premier League defeat in four against Sheffield United
- Ollie McBurnie’s goal midway through the first half the difference
- Three goals disallowed by VAR including Neal Maupay’s first-half effort
- Albion stay 13th ahead of Boxing Day trip to Tottenham Hotspur
Graham Potter made his three substitutions by the 53rd minute and the Seagulls dominated possession in the second half. But apart from one tip-over to deny Aaron Connolly, Blades’ keeper Dean Henderson was rarely extended, as Albion struggled to break down a well-drilled and resilient Sheffield side, who have now gone nine games unbeaten away from home, a new record for a promoted team in the Premier League.
The visitors had two goals disallowed by VAR and Albion one, but despite lots of pressure, the home side could not find a way through.
Dale Stephens returned after suspension in place of Yves Bissouma, as Graham Potter made one change to the team which drew with Crystal Palace. Fit-again Connolly returned on the bench.
The visitors made the better start and thought they had gone in front after just seven minutes, but a VAR check ruled that John Egan had bundled home an in-swinging corner with his right forearm.
United threatened again in the 16th minute when John Lundstram intercepted Dale Stephens’s pass, but hit the side netting, before Albion threatened for the first time and it almost brought them a goal. Henderson pushed out Aaron Mooy’s shot, but Martin Montoya was offside when he crossed for Neal Maupay to tap the ball in.
But it was the Blades who took the lead in the 22nd minute. Adam Webster’s clearing header dropped for McBurnie, and he raced into the box before beating Maty Ryan with a right-foot shot which had too much power for the Albion keeper. McBurnie’s ability in front of goal would have come as no surprise to Potter. The Scottish striker scored 24 goals in the Championship for Potter’s Swansea City side last season.
Although the hosts had plenty of the ball in the first half, they found it tough to penetrate a well-organised opponent, who got men behind the ball when danger threatened, kept possession well and battled for every loose ball.
Pascal Gross had a half-chance just before the break after good work on the left by Leandro Trossard, but Sheffield scrambled the ball clear.
Potter responded by bringing on Glenn Murray and Connolly at the break and switched to 4-4-2, but Albion had a huge let-off in the 49th minute when Webster was dispossessed by David McGoldrick, who rounded Ryan, but somehow hit the side of the post with the goal gaping.
The visitors had a second goal disallowed by VAR in the 54th minute when McGoldrick was ruled offside after Jack O’Connell bundled in a free kick. Albion immediately made their third change when Yves Bissouma replaced Martin Montoya.
Albion switched to a back three, and for the first time in the match they built up some momentum, as Henderson was forced into action in the 72nd minute, tipping the ball over after Connolly had quickly got the ball out of his feet to fire in a right-foot shot.
United were restricted to counter-attacks, but substitute Lys Mousset nearly doubled their lead when he skipped past two challenges and hit a powerful shot which dipped just over, before McGoldrick found the roof of the net with a looping effort from a tight angle.
Dan Burn was pushed up front late on and Albion kept going, but couldn’t find a way through, and will be looking for a response on Boxing Day at Tottenham Hotspur.
ALBION: Ryan, Montoya (Bissouma 56), Webster, Dunk, Burn, Mooy, Propper, Stephens, Trossard (Connolly 45), Gross (Murray 45), Maupay.
SUBS NOT USED: Button, Duffy, Bernardo, Alzate.
1ST PRIZE £1000 269014
2ND PRIZE £100 SHOP VOUCHER 268569
3RD PRIZE BOTTLE OF WHISKEY 270123
4TH PRIZE BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE 269931
5TH PRIZE BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE 271880
1ST £500 0113
2ND £50 2011
3RD £25 0467
1ST GOAL TIME 23 MINUTES