Sheffield United’s two-match unbeaten run concluded with a loss as Bournemouth secured the points at Bramall Lane on Saturday. Marcus Tavernier netted twice, scoring in each half, while Justin Kluivert found the scoresheet following a horror moment from Wes Foderingham just before halftime.
United maintained an unchanged starting XI as they resumed Premier League action at S2, showing confidence in the team that played against Brighton & Hove Albion. Despite this, manager Heckingbottom reinforced his options from the bench, with McBurnie and Ahmedhodžić returning to the matchday 20.
Blades: Foderingham, Baldock, Trusty, Hamer (Osula 82), Archer, Thomas (Osborn 66), Norwood, Robinson, Bogle (Ahmedhodžić 45), Souza (McBurnie 45, McAtee (Fleck 82).
Unused: A. Davies, Lowe, Traore, Slimane, Osula.
Bournemouth: Neto, Cook, Kelly (Kerkez 45), Solanke, Christie, Smith, Tavernier (Brooks 82), Kluivert (Billing 65), Semenyo (Sinisterra 66), Senesi, Zabarnyi.
Unused: Travers, Mepham, Rothwell, Ouattara, Moore.
In the midst of a bitterly cold afternoon, the visitors took the lead after 12 minutes, with Tavernier showcasing an excellent first touch and finish past Foderingham from Semenyo’s reverse pass.
Despite Tavernier having a chance for a second, Robinson’s well-timed intervention and subsequent missed opportunities by Kluivert and Solanke ensued.
United faced difficulties entering the contest, leading to Norwood receiving a booking for dissent.
As half-time approached, Bournemouth capitalised on the momentum, with Tavernier missing a golden opportunity for his second goal. However, following a disastrous error by Foderingham, Kluivert demonstrated composure to secure the Cherries’ second goal before the interval.
At the start of the second half, United made a double change, but within five minutes, Tavernier capitalised on an unmarked position in the six-yard box, volleying home confidently after receiving Smith’s right-wing cross.
The visitors displayed visible confidence, yet Foderingham made a crucial save to deny Semenyo, and Solanke missed the target with the rebound.
Around the hour mark, United sought a goal to reinvigorate their chances. McAtee’s effort couldn’t find the target, and tempers flared with bookings for Baldock, Robinson, and Billing following an incident involving Kerkez. Sinisterra tested Foderingham with a near-post strike, and as United pressed for a consolation, Fleck and Osula entered the game.
Neto made a crucial save after Osula’s powerful run, but in the final added minute, McBurnie managed to guide a header past Neto from Baldock’s delivery. However, it served as no more than a consolation on a disappointing afternoon for the Blades.
After taking four points from Wolves and Brighton this performance felt like five steps backwards. Now the Blades will have to dust themselves and put on a statement performance against Burnley at Turf Moor.
After the game Paul Heckingbottom said in his post-game interview:
“I thought we started poorly and never really recovered. We wanted to get to half time to make the changes and then… The second and third goals take the game away from us and they’re really really poor.
“What we have to be more concerned about is the overall performance and make sure we quickly get this out of our heads because we’ve got another big game next week. Today, as hard as we tried and the lads kept playing, we didn’t play with the quality we need to have to win games.”