On Saturday Latics travel to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United for the second time in three weeks.
Surprisingly we have only met 17 times down the years.
Latics have 5 wins, Sheffield United 7, draws 5.
The first meeting was at Springfield Park in Division Four back on the 5th September 1981, a crowd of 8,001 witnessed the Blades take all the points courtesy of a solitary goal scored by Keith Edwards, both clubs would go on to promotion at the end of that season.
The last meeting was just a matter of three weeks back, we raced into a three goal lead at the DW Stadium in a League 1 fixture, looking comfortable was a bit of an understatement, we then lost David Perkins to injury with 25 minutes remaining and bang, before we knew it the game was level at 3-3, that game was a good indicator how effective the Done and Sharp double act can be for the Blades.
The stand out game though just has to be the last time we were at Bramall Lane, 13th May 2007, Premier League survival was at stake for both clubs, due to the underhandedness of West Ham, for which they were later fined by the FA and ordered to pay Sheffield United compensation for, it would mean that it was down to either Wigan Athletic or the Blades to slip into the Championship, as we know it was the Latics who survived with a stunning 1-2 victory in a game with many twists and turns.
In the opening 30 minutes there was only one team in the game as the Latics played forceful attacking football. Following a corner in the 7th minute Emile Heskey was clearly hauled to the ground by Kilgallon but referee Mike Dean waived away penalty appeals.
The Latics continued to attack and were rewarded in the 14th minute through Paul Scharner’s left-foot volley following good work from Kevin Kilbane. The Latics were looking good and continued to press, but the rhythm of their play was disrupted when influential captain Arry DeZeeuw had to leave the pitch and be replaced by Josip Skoko with Scharner going back into defence.
Against the run of play Jon Stead equalised for the home side with a brave header eight minutes before the break, the scoring of the goal led to a nasty collision of heads between Stead and Latics keeper Mike Pollitt which led to a long break in play, also caught up in the melee was Ryan Taylor suffering a leg injury in the incident and had to leave the pitch on a stretcher, he was replaced by David Unsworth.
The break in play led to Mike Dean adding 5 minutes stoppage time to the end of the first half, it was right at the end of this that the game was settled.
A corner was swung into the Sheffield United penalty area and Phil Jagielka rose with his arms aloft, the ball struck his hand, Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Up stepped sub David Unsworth to bury the spot kick beyond a diving Paddy Kenny and score against the club he only left in January.
The Latics almost scored again shortly after the restart with Emile Heskey’s spectacular effort being superbly saved by the agile Kenny. The rest of the second half was a complete onslaught as the Blades went in search of an equaliser; tackles were flying in as the excitement grew, this resulted in Latics’ Lee McCulloch receiving two yellow cards and being sent off on 73 minutes.
With 10 men it was backs to the wall stuff for Jewell’s men, who never really threatened after McCulloch’s dismissal, Mike Dean added on another 5 minutes stoppage time to the end of the game at times it was like the Alamo! When the final whistle eventually went it was the Latics who celebrated and Sheffield United left to suffer relegation to the Championship.
What a game!
Last Six Meetings
12 Jan 2016 – League 1 – Latics 3 Sheffield United 3
13 May 2007 – Premier League – Sheffield United 1 Latics 2
16 Dec 2006 – Premier League – Latics 0 Sheffield United 1
01 Jan 2005 – Championship – Sheffield United 0 Latics 2
18 Dec 2004 – Championship – Latics 4 Sheffield United 0
28 Dec 2003 – League Division 1 – Sheffield United 1 Latics 1
Last Time Out
Latics 3 Sheffield United 3
Goal scorers: Latics – Grigg 16, Vuckic 43, McCann 66 mins
Sheffield United – Done 68 & 89, Sharp 75 mins
Referee – Andy Woolmer
Attendance – 10,113
Latics – Jääskeläinen, Perkins (Cowie 65), Daniels, Power, McCann, Grigg, Jacobs, Morgan, Barnett (James 80), Pearce, Vuckic (Wildschut 62)
Unused Subs – Nicholls, Kellett, Davies, Hiwula
Sheffield United – Long, Brayford, Basham, Flynn (Adams 78), Sharp, Baxter, Done, Collins, McEveley (Woolford 77), Edgar, Hammond (Campbell-Ryce 88)
Unused Subs – Howard, Sammon, Reed, McGahey
Check out the latest PWU Podcast – Higher and Higher
Well what can we say following on from what was a great week for the Latics, a superb performance against Port Vale, a 3-0 win and some excellent business, in and out, in the transfer market.
Will Grigg notched his first hat-trick for the club at the weekend, Burton, Gillingham and Coventry all lost, we are now looking good for an automatic spot come the end of the season.
Transfer business concluded, O’Donnell, plus big earners Holt and Cowie leave the club, whilst hot prospects Sam Morsy and Ryan Colclough arrive.
Latics youngsters were unfortunate on Tuesday to lose against Man City in the FA youth cup 3rd round, the game went to extra time and could have gone either way, a super performance that bodes well for the future.
We are off to Sheffield United on Saturday, still smarting after letting a three goal lead slip just three weeks ago the Latics will want to get maximum points here to make up for that dreadful last 15 minutes at the DW.
The podcast can be listened to by clicking the embedded player below or downloaded to listen at you leisure by visiting www.buzzsprout.com