Sheffield United Fan’s Column: My 21 key moments last season

James Wilson scores the winning goal against Oxford United 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved
James Wilson scores the winning goal against Oxford United �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Here are what I think were the 21 most important moments of Sheffield United’s season, in chronological, not ranking, order.

You may want to choose your top ten, and, of course, you may have other ideas:

- August 8th – selling Che Adams to Birmingham City, freeing up funds for Chris Wilder to overhaul his squad.

- August 19th – sending the distracted John Brayford to Burton Albion on loan, and signing Simon Moore.

- August 27th – picking Jake Wright and restoring a transformed Paul Coutts for the home game against Oxford United.

- August 27th – James Wilson’s headed winner against Oxford after United went behind again. It got the show on the road.

- August 31st – selling Dominic Calvert-Lewin to Everton and signing Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Daniel Lafferty.

- September 4th – these two signings gave Wilder the scope to change the formation to 3-5-2 at Gillingham. The freedom this gave Kieron Freeman allowed him to score the first of his eleven goals.

- September 4th – Gillingham defender Josh Pack’s inexplicable decision to handle the ball in the last minute, giving Billy Sharp the chance to score the winner from the spot. The rolling ball was picking up speed.

- September 24th – bringing on Stefan Scougall for Mark Duffy at Scunthorpe United. Scougs won a late penalty, and ten-man United kept the unbeaten run going.

- October 1st – Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s equaliser in the fifth minute of injury time at Fleetwood Town.

- November 22nd - Ebanks-Landell’s late winner against heroic, nine-man Bury. I’m glad they stayed up.

- December 10th – After losing at home to Walsall and at Bolton in the cup, United endured a frustrating, goalless first half against Swindon. Then early in the second half Lawrence Vigouroux fumbled Mark Duffy’s shot inches over the line. Suitably boosted, United went on to play superbly and win 4-0.

- December 31st – With ten minutes remaining at home to Northampton Town, Matt Taylor arrowed a free kick towards the top corner. Simon Moore flung himself to his right and somehow kept it out. The Save of the Season. Nine minutes later Kieron Freeman got the winner.

- January 3rd – Nipping in front of other interested parties to nab Samir Carruthers from MK Dons. What an asset he proved to be.

- January 24th – Signing James Hanson and Jay O’Shea. They watched as that night United lost at home to Fleetwood Town. It was the team’s last defeat. Hanson only scored once, but he set up important goals at Peterborough, Oldham and on the last day against Chesterfield. O’Shea had a hand in the goal at Peterborough, scored from Hanson’s knock-down at Oldham, and overall got three in ten appearances.

- February 11th - Billy Sharp’s late winner in a tight game at Peterborough. This victory was the one that convinced many Blades fans that this time it was for real.

- February 25th – A convincing 2-0 win over promotion rivals Bolton Wanderers. Again Carruthers showed his value after coming on for Duffy.

- March 14th – Swindon keeper Will Henry’s howler, passing the ball to O’Shea, who restored United’s lead in a 4-2 win.

- March 25th – O’Shea’s fine volley to earn a tough point in a game of beach volleyball at Oldham. Fleetwood and Bolton subsequently lost there.

- April 5th – Leon Clarke’s return to fitness to coincide with Caolan Lavery’s season-ending injury. Clarke scored in five consecutive games, the first of which was the opening goal against his former club Coventry City.

- April 8th – Wilder’s half-time team talk when 1-0 down at Northampton: “Get the job done…” They did and promotion was assured.

- April 15th – ten-man Oldham’s dogged win over Bolton. Champions!