Championship
Sheff Utd4Wigan2

Sheffield United 4-2 Wigan Athletic: Billy Sharp nets hat-trick as Blades go top

Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp scores his second goal for Sheffield United against Wigan Athletic
Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp (left) took his tally to 11 goals for the season in all competitions as he scored his first hat-trick since 2008

Billy Sharp says Sheffield United will have to keep grinding out results if they want to stay in the automatic promotion race after he hit a hat-trick to help them beat Wigan Athletic and return to the top of the Championship.

The Blades are two points clear in the second tier after their closest rivals Middlesbrough and Leeds United both drew on Saturday.

"We were sloppy at times but we managed to get the three points," the United captain told BBC Radio Sheffield.

"Wigan came here and tried to give it a go and that helped us a little bit. If we hadn't been so clinical in the final third we would probably have been punished.

"We need to keep grinding out results like we did today, when we were not at our best. That is why we came up short last season."

Latics defender Chey Dunkley deflected Chris Basham's low cross into his own net to give the Blades the lead midway through the first half, but Kal Naismith fired in to equalise for the visitors six minutes before the break.

Sharp netted from inside the box to restore their lead on the stroke of half-time and then guided in Leon Clarke's left-wing cross to make it 3-1 eight minutes after the restart.

And the 32-year-old chipped Christian Walton from six yards out to complete his treble, notching his 11th goal of the season, before Joe Garner hooked in to pull one back for Wigan, who fell to their sixth straight away defeat in the league.

United took advantage of Middlesbrough's draw against Derby in the early kick-off to go top, and then watched Leeds draw at home to Nottingham Forest in the evening match.

"We knew about the result in the early-kick off, which was good for us and gave us a chance to go back top," added Sharp.

"We managed to do our job and hopefully we will put on a better performance next week."

Wigan had the early chances but the Blades scored from their first attack and eventually took control to extend their unbeaten home run to seven matches.

Sharp's clinical finishing proved crucial as he netted his first hat-trick since August 2008, when he was in his second spell with hometown club.

There could have been further goals in the closing stages, as Jack O'Connell headed against the Wigan crossbar from Oliver Norwood's corner and Blades keeper Dean Henderson had to tip over Reece James' free-kick.

Chris Wilder's men have now lost just once in their past eight matches, while Paul Cook's Latics have lost six consecutive league games on the road for the first time since May 2010, when they were in the Premier League under Roberto Martinez.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield:

"It was not a very good performance, not up to the standards that we have set.

"It was just one of those days where we were a little bit lax, a little bit slack, but good in both boxes, and won a game that was a lot tighter than the scoreline suggests.

"It was a great return from Billy Sharp, because of the way we play and the demands we put on players, we have to use our squad, and he worked his way into the team.

"It was quite subdued in the dressing room, but we are all delighted we are top of the division."

Wigan manager Paul Cook told BBC Radio Manchester:

"Sheffield United are the outstanding team in the division, they work so hard for each other, they are capable of mixing the game up and play football with the best of them.

"We knew how hard it would be to come here, but they didn't have to do a lot to win the game, to be honest, and that's a massive disappointment.

"We had a few great opportunities, we got into good areas, but we are in an unforgiving league, and teams score goals against us without really earning that right.

"If we want to improve our away form, we must play a lot better than we did today."

Line-ups

Sheff Utd

  • 1Henderson
  • 6BashamBooked at 80mins
  • 19Stearman
  • 5O'Connell
  • 18Freeman
  • 16Norwood
  • 4FleckBooked at 90mins
  • 3Stevens
  • 10SharpSubstituted forWashingtonat 88'minutes
  • 9Clarke
  • 17McGoldrickBooked at 18minsSubstituted forCouttsat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Baldock
  • 11Woodburn
  • 15Coutts
  • 22Johnson
  • 25Moore
  • 28Cranie
  • 39Washington

Wigan

  • 1Walton
  • 12James
  • 22Dunkley
  • 33Burn
  • 3Robinson
  • 26ConnollyBooked at 50minsSubstituted forGarnerat 58'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 5Morsy
  • 2Byrne
  • 25PowellSubstituted forMcManamanat 67'minutes
  • 18RobertsSubstituted forNaismithat 36'minutes
  • 10Windass

Substitutes

  • 8Vaughan
  • 15McManaman
  • 19Da Silva Lopes
  • 20Naismith
  • 21Kipre
  • 23Jones
  • 41Garner
Referee:
Tony Harrington
Attendance:
24,429

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamWigan
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home12
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away7
Corners
Home6
Away11
Fouls
Home15
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Sheffield United 4, Wigan Athletic 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sheffield United 4, Wigan Athletic 2.

Attempt saved. Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Nathan Byrne with a cross.

Attempt saved. Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Callum McManaman with a cross.

Foul by Kieron Freeman (Sheffield United).

Kal Naismith (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Kal Naismith.

Attempt blocked. Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked.

Booking

Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic).

Booking

John Fleck (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).

Callum McManaman (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Conor Washington (Sheffield United).

Dan Burn (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Conor Washington replaces Billy Sharp.

Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic).

Offside, Wigan Athletic. Nathan Byrne tries a through ball, but Callum McManaman is caught offside.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Antonee Robinson.

Attempt blocked. Cheyenne Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Dean Henderson.

Attempt saved. Reece James (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Booking

Chris Basham (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Chris Basham (Sheffield United).

Callum McManaman (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Jack O'Connell.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Paul Coutts.

Attempt blocked. Kal Naismith (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Paul Coutts (Sheffield United).

Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) hits the bar with a header from very close range. Assisted by Oliver Norwood with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Callum McManaman.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Cheyenne Dunkley.

Attempt missed. Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Jack O'Connell following a fast break.

Goal!

Goal! Sheffield United 4, Wigan Athletic 2. Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Foul by Chris Basham (Sheffield United).

Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sheff Utd159242718929
2Leeds1576226121427
3Middlesbrough15762178927
4Norwich158342017327
5West Brom1574433231025
6Derby157442216625
7Nottm Forest155822216623
8Swansea156541711623
9Birmingham155821914523
10QPR157261519-423
11Bristol City156451815322
12Blackburn155731820-222
13Stoke155551920-120
14Wigan156271822-420
15Sheff Wed155462126-519
16Brentford154652320318
17Aston Villa154652223-118
18Millwall154471923-416
19Bolton154471120-916
20Preston153572429-514
21Rotherham153571121-1014
22Reading153391925-612
23Hull153391221-912
24Ipswich151681125-149
View full Championship table

Top Stories