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Report: Maupay blunts Blades as Albion pick up point

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Neal Maupay's eighth goal of the season earned battling Albion a deserved Premier League point at Bramall Lane.

By James Hilsum • 22 February 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay celebrates scoring Albion's equaliser.
  • Albion share the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United
  • Enda Stevens gives the Blades the lead
  • Neal Maupay responds just three minutes later with his eighth goal of the season
  • Graham Potter’s men are next in action against Crystal Palace in seven days time

Albion left Bramall Lane with a well-deserved point after sharing the spoils in a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.

Graham Potter’s men once again showed they were up for the fight with another display of grit and resilience against the high-flying Blades, as they increased the gap between themselves and 18th place West Ham United to four points ahead of the Hammers’ Monday night trip to Anfield.

The draw was Albion’s fourth in their last five games, after Enda Stevens’s opener was cancelled out by Neal Maupay’s equaliser in the space of four first-half minutes.

Potter made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Watford, with Adam Webster, Yves Bissouma and Neal Maupay replacing Pascal Gross, Solly March and Leandro Trossard.

The Seagulls boss elected not to include Alexis Mac Allister in the squad following his recall from a loan spell at Boca Juniors.

Sheffield United made the brighter start and passed the ball around with confidence, and Billy Sharp had an early sighter but fired wide.

Chances were few and far between for Potter’s men early on, the best of them falling to Bissouma, whose deflected effort went wide.

By Paul Hazlewood
Yves Bissouma takes Albion forward.

The Blades took the lead with 27 minutes on the clock through Stevens, who lashed in a close-range strike that beat Maty Ryan at his near post.

But that resilience and determination to bounce back was evident again from Potter’s men, and parity was restored within three minutes, courtesy of Maupay.

The Frenchman anticipated Webster’s header back across the box from a Mooy free kick with a finish at the far post to make it 1-1 - his eighth goal of the season.

Maupay could have added a second goal for the visitors before the break when his shot was blocked amidst a goalmouth scramble that resulted in United goalkeeper Dean Henderson clawing the ball away.

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay is congratulated after levelling the scores.

It was a feisty end to the first 45 minutes and Jack O’Connell claimed he had been fouled by Ezequiel Schelotto despite replays showing the Argentine hadn’t touched the Blades defender.

Potter’s men looked to continue their momentum at the start of the second half and skipper Lewis Dunk rifled his close-range volley over the crossbar from Mooy’s corner.

The second half was not without its nervy moments at the other end though with John Fleck’s volley from distance going just inches past the far post.

Albion would have felt hard done by not to have been awarded a penalty when Schelotto’s ball across the area appeared to have been handled by Ben Osborn. Despite going to a VAR review, no spot-kick was given.

By Paul Hazlewood
Ezequiel Schelotto in action for Albion.

The Argentine was very much the pantomime villain from the home fans’ perspective, and gave the Bramall Lane faithful a friendly wave after being replaced by Trossard with 15 minutes remaining.

Another VAR call went against Potter’s men in the closing stages when a check was made for serious foul play following John Lundstram’s challenge on Dunk. Despite appearing to lead with his studs, Lundstram remained on the pitch.

The Seagulls withstood some late pressure from the hosts when Ryan was called into action to save Fleck’s header, but another valuable point on the road was secured.

ALBION: Ryan; Schelotto (Trossard 75), Dunk, Webster, Duffy, Burn; Bissouma, Propper, Mooy; Maupay (Bernardo 90+3), Murray (Connolly 74).

SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Gross, March, Jahanbakhsh.

ATTENDANCE: 31,888 

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