4 observations from Sheffield United 0 - 1 Luton Town
Rob Edwards and the team took another giant step towards securing a second successive Championship Playoff finish, with a hard battled win against automatic promotion contenders Sheffield United. Again Carlton Morris popped up with a vital goal, which takes his tally to 15 for the season, what a truly astute piece of business he has turned out to be.
This results takes us to 4th place, and because of the way results fell during the weekend, we are very much looking above us rather than below us. We have breathing space in the playoff positions now, with Norwich in 7th place 5 points behind us on 55 points, and a queue forming behind them with West Brom on 54 points, Coventry on 53 points, Sunderland on 52 points and Watford in 11th place, on 51 points. This didn't feel like a 6 pointer going into the game, but settling on the result now, it has very much roped Sheffield United back into the playoff mix, with Middlesbrough now only 4 points behind and Luton Town 7 points behind, this has been a bad time for Sheffield United to be undergoing a wobble. Cast your mind back to the first game back from the World Cup break, and the league was looking like a done and dusted two horse race. While Burnley continue to gallop onto the finish line, Sheffield United have tripped over their own legs, faceplanted into a big muddy pile and are now trying to pick themselves up and get some momentum to get away from the chasing pack.
Carlton Morris wheels away celebrating goal number 15 of the campaign | Photo credit Gareth Owen
Away comforts Going into this game Sheffield United boasted a very strong home record, in fact the second best in the league. Played 17 won 11 drawn 3 and lost 3 for a total of 36 points. However, they were coming up against Luton Town, who now boast the best away record in the Championship. Luton Town have played 18 games won 10 drawn 4 and lost 4 accruing 34 points in the process. This promised to be a ding dong of an affair, with an unstoppable force seemingly meeting an immovable object. As has become a regular occurrence this season, Luton Town walked away with a 1-0 victory and the three points. Fortunately our home form has also had an uptick since Rob Edwards, Richie Kyle and Paul Trollope joined the club, if we can get it to the same level as our away form, we will be flying as we finish the season. Currently our home form is 13th best in the league with 18 played 6 wins 8 draws and 4 losses.
Do it for Pelly!
It was a very sad sight to see Pelly being carried off the pitch. After all his work to get back to fitness after a season ending injury this time last season, he was getting his confidence back and was putting in some very impressive performances, so much so he was keeping Allan Campbell out the starting lineup. Before leaving the pitch during the 26th minute, Pelly had already completed 2 dribbles and won 100% of his tackles. It was during one of his trademark bursts that Jayden Bogle cynically kicked Pelly's leg, causing him to fall awkwardly. Although Pelly bounced back up immediately ready to crack on, he went back down as it was obvious that the pain he was in outmatched his adrenaline from the sublime dribble. Ethan Horvath mentioned in his post match comments that the team are a family and they will do it for Pelly, hopefully we can secure the playoffs now for Pelly, and perhaps even make it to the Premier League, because if anyone in the Luton Town squad deserves to be playing in the Premier League with this fine club, it's Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.
Elijah and Carlton - Best forward line in the Championship?
Luton Town fans have been waiting for this, for the front two of Elijah and Carlton to fully click into gear. I can safely say that this is the case, and what seemed on paper at the beginning of the season as a forward line that no defender would want to see running at them, has become a reality. In this game, Elijah carved out two chances for Carlton, with one of them ending up in the back of the net. They both had a lot of joy running at the defence, with Carlton completing 4 dribbles and Elijah completing 3. In addition to their ability on the deck, they are both adept in the air, Elijah winning 7/13 aerial duels and Carlton winning 4/5, keep in mind this was against an experienced backline of Jack Robinson, John Egan and the highly praised Anel Ahmedhodzic. Considering the array of forward talent on the pitch with the sought after Ilman Ndiaye and court frequenter Oliver McBurnie, I would choose Carlton and Elijah over Ndiaye and McBurnie any day of the week.
Locks blocks shots
I am running out of things to say about Tom Lockyer. Here are his defensive stats for the match; 100% tackles won, 9 clearances (1st in match), 2 interceptions (=1st), 1 blocked shot (=1st with Marvelous Nakamba), 3 headed clearances (2nd after Gabe Osho - who is also flourishing every week). He needs to sign a new deal, ASAP. If a meteorite was heading towards Earth, I would expect Tom Lockyer to head it away.