A remarkable Sheffield United performance resulted in them settling for a point against high-flying Aston Villa when, in the 98th minute, Chris Wilder’s side were denied a stunning victory. Despite holding the lead late into the game with Cameron Archer’s close-range finish, a last-minute header from substitute Nicolo Zaniolo salvaged a point for the home side.
Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Watkins, Digne (Moreno 74), Lenglet, Diaby (Duran 74), Bailey (Zaniolo 81), Ramsey.
Unused: Marschall, Diego Carlos, Chambers, Dendoncker, Iroegbunam, O’Reilly.
Blades: Foderingham, Baldock, Trusty, Archer (McBurnie 90), Norwood, Robinson, Bogle, Souza, Slimane (McAtee 76), Larouci (Lowe 57), Brooks (Hamer 57).
Unused: A. Davies, Fleck, Traoré, Thomas, Osborn.
The Blades switched to a back three, placing Baldock on the right and welcoming back Robinson in the center, stifling the home crowd with a composed start. Surviving three VAR reviews for penalties, United held firm until the 18th minute when Wes Foderingham denied Moussa Diaby’s angled shot on the right.
Continuing to frustrate the hosts, Sheffield United limited Villa to half chances, with Konsa heading over and Watkins missing the target. After a defensive approach, United gained momentum as Bogle created space in the Villa box, although his low cross couldn’t find a yellow shirt, which seemed to be the offensive pattern of the half for the Blades.
Referee Anthony Taylor issued the first yellow card just after the interval, booking Bailey for a foul on Larouci during a spirited break into Villa’s half. However, Larouci soon found himself booked for almost the exact same offence, prompting his substitution for Lowe on 57 minutes. Hamer replaced Brooks.
Despite frustrating the hosts, Villa thought they had scored on 59 minutes through Bailey, but VAR ruled out the goal for the initial interference on Foderingham as Ramsey latched onto the keeper’s arm stopping him from claiming the ball. Bogle and Baldock faced yellow cards, with the latter surviving a VAR check for handball where he thoughtlessly flicked his arm towards the bouncing ball to aid his clearance.
In the final 15 minutes, Slimane made way for McAtee, and Norwood’s placed attempt was saved effortlessly by Martinez. United gained confidence, causing trouble with Lowe’s whipping cross which almost ending in a Konsa own goal, while Archer had a shot blocked.
In a dramatic sequence, a VAR check for a potential red card was waved off due to Duran swinging an elbow which caught Robinson. Shortly after the Blades captain Robinson received treatment. In the meantime, a quick free-kick saw Hamer find space at the byline after chopping McGinn and sending him for a hotdog, then the Dutchman’s accuracy to find Archer who converted from six yards out against his former club.
Foderingham excellently denied Moreno’s header at the far post, and nine additional minutes were signaled by the fourth official. Zaniolo was cautioned for a late foul on Norwood, but in the 98th minute, United’s hopes of a stunning win were dashed as Zaniolo headed home Luiz’s cross – the Italian nicked ahead of an onrushing Foderingham who left the goal gaping.