SHEFFIELD UNITED 1
at Bramall Lane
Table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers made it a magnificent seven straight wins with a sumptious display of finshing at fourth-placed Sheffield United.
The Blades didn’t know what hit them when striker-in-form Chris Iwelumo walloped home after five minutes – putting the Bades on the backfoot from the word go.
Iwelumo stunned the 27,000-plus crowd when Dave Edwards threaded a fantastic through-ball for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who touched the ball on to strike partner Iwelumo.
The Scotland marksman then rounded defender Gary Naysmith and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny before firing home from an impossible angle.
Shocked by the setback, the Blades almost hit back immediately and goalkeeper Carl Ikeme had to produce a brave block to keep out Stephen Quinn on the edge of the area.
Ikeme was tested again moments later by James Beattie before Greg Halford just failed to connect in front of an open Wolves goal from Kyle Naughton’s cross.
Wolves responded when Michael Kightly twisted and turned in the Blades goalmouth before firing a fierce shot just wide.
By that stage Wolves had lost Edwards, who fell awkwardly and had to be replaced by George Friend in the 16th minute.
Wolves’ injury plight worsened when Ikeme collapsed as he was about to punt downfield and Welsh international Wayne Hennessey was pressed into action just before half time.
The Blades began the second period as though they meant business and began to put Wolves’ defence under the cosh.
They had claims for a goal turned down when Brian Howard’s inswinging corner appeared to cross the line before Hennessey scooped it away.
Then Richard Stearman lapsed with a poor back-pass that let in Billy Sharp who appeared to smack his shot against the outside of the post.
However referee Graeme Laws ordered a corner, from which Sharp went down like a sack of spuds, with Blades fans howling for a penalty.
Against the run of play, Wolves silenced the partisan home support when Karl Henry raced to the byline and squared the ball for Iwelumo to smash home his 15th of the season on 58 minutes.
Five minutes later, Wolves put the result out of sight when Ebanks-Blake drilled in a third after fine build-up play by Iwelumo and Kightly.
United kept going, substitute Matthew Spring pulling one back on 75 minutes when Wolves failed to deal with a long throw, Spring’s low driven shot going in off the post.
Encouraged, Sheffield continued to press and Hennessey had to be at his best to plam out Howard’s free kick.
Both sides had chances at the death, Ebanks-Blake slotting just wide while Darius Henderson headed against Wolves’ crossbar in what had been a cracking contest.
Scorers: Iwelumo (5) 0-1, Iwelumo (58) 0-2, Ebanks-Blake (63) 0-3, Spring (75) 1-3.
SHEFFIELD UNITED (4-4-2): Kenny; Halford, Morgan, Kilgallon, Naysmith; Naughton, Quinn (Webber, 61), Speed (Spring, 8), Sharp (Henderson, 65); Beattie, Howard. Substitutes: Jihai, Dyer.
WOLVES (4-4-2): Ikeme (Hennessey, 42); Foley, Stearman, Collins, Ward; Kightly, Henry, Jones (Shackell, 45), Edwards (Friend, 16), Ebanks-Blake, Iwelumo. Substitutes: Vokes, Keogh.
Referee: Graeme Laws (Tyne and Wear).
Bookings: Wolves – Foley, Hennessey, Ebanks-Blake.