Days Gone By | Sheffield United vs. Cardiff City
As we prepare for our 78th league fixture against Sheffield United this weekend, we take a look back at some key battles between the Bluebirds and the Blades.
Having faced off against each other since 1922, we take a look back at three fixtures that Bluebirds fans will look upon fondly.
Our biggest win
The 1978-79 season certainly won’t go down as a season to remember in the mind of City fans. Having survived relegation the season before by a single point, they were looking to consolidate themselves in the second tier.
This was Sheffield United’s third season in the Second Division, after they were relegated from the top tier, and they were looking to push on after back-to-back mid-table finishes. With both sides also getting knocked out of the group stages of the Anglo-Scottish Cup, expectations for the upcoming season weren’t high.
After a poor start to the season, Jimmy Andrews was replaced as manager by Richie Morgan, and Morgan guided City to a good run at the end of the season, a run which saw them go ten games unbeaten.
During that run of form, they defeated Sheffield United 4-0 at Ninian Park, the Bluebirds’ biggest win in the history of this fixture. It only took five minutes for the deadlock to be broken, as Gary Stevens (above, left) put City ahead.
After that, the game turned into the John Buchanan show. During his seven seasons down at Ninian Park, even though he was a midfielder, Buchanan topped the scoring charts twice for City, and his hat-trick in this game wrapped up a comfortable win.
The Bluebirds would go on to finish the season in ninth place, while the Blades were relegated to the third tier.
After narrowly missing out on the play-offs the season before, Dave Jones geared his side for a big promotion push in the 2009-10 season.
After not beating the Blades the previous season, the Bluebirds got their revenge in a remarkable game at Bramall Lane, as Jones’ side won 4-3.
Jay Bothroyd put City in front, after capitalising on a mix up in the United defence. However, Darius Henderson levelled shortly after for the hosts. Amazingly, in first half stoppage time, there were two more goals. Firstly, Peter Whittingham scored a penalty, after Henderson bought down Bothroyd in the box. But Henderson then went and scored another equaliser, and the score was 2-2 going into half time.
After the break, Whitts grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. His second goal was a powerful finish from close range, and he completed his hat-trick five minutes before full time, after finishing off a good Bluebirds move.
James Harper did score a consolation for United in the 93rd minute, but City held on to record their first win at Bramall Lane since 1989.
A vital point in the race to the Premier League
Neil Warnock had guided City to a very strong position in the Championship in the 2017-18 season. From the middle of January to the beginning of March, the Bluebirds went on a fantastic eleven game unbeaten run, and they were looking good for promotion.
To stretch their unbeaten run to twelve games, Warnock took his side to the club where he was adored, in Sheffield United, in order to keep their run and promotion dreams alive.
Chris Wilder and his side, on the other hand, were looking for a win to try and get into the play-offs. The stakes for both sides couldn’t be higher. It was an open start to the game with both teams having chances, but Leon Clarke put the home side in front, making the most of a ball deflecting off City defender Bruno Ecuele Manga.
Warnock’s side battled hard to get back into the game but were unable to break through the Blades’ solid defensive line. Just as hopes were fading, the ball fell kindly to Anthony Pilkington on the edge of the box, and he fired into the bottom corner in the 91st minute to rescue a valuable point.
The draw would open up an eight-point gap to Fulham in third place, and the Bluebirds would go on to finish second and gain automatic promotion to the Premier League. Sheffield United would go on to miss out on the play-offs.