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Sport UPDATE 1-Soccer-Sheffield United go fifth as Fleck double downs Villa

20:18  14 december  2019
20:18  14 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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John Fleck scored two fine goals to fire Sheffield United to fifth place in the Premier League and leave Villa in a perilous position at the wrong end of the Premier League. Jack Grealish missing a penalty compounded a painful day for Dean Smith’s team, who have lost six of their last eight league matches.

Sheffield United opened the scoring soon after the break through John Fleck . Sheffield United climbed back into fifth spot after easing beyond Aston Villa at Bramall Lane. A 4- 1 defeat here 15 months ago was Villa ’s first of the Championship campaign and began a sequence of results that led

Sheffield United's John Fleck celebrates scoring their second goal with John Lundstram.© Reuters Sheffield United's John Fleck celebrates scoring their second goal with John Lundstram.

A superb second-half double by midfielder John Fleck sent Sheffield United up to fifth in the Premier League with a 2-0 home win over fellow promoted side Aston Villa, whose captain Jack Grealish missed a second-half penalty.

After a dull first period, the hosts burst into life five minutes into the second half with a brilliantly-worked opener, Chris Basham back-heeling the ball to John Lundstram who fired it across the box for Fleck to lash home from close range.

The build-up play for Fleck's second goal was equally impressive as the Blades worked the ball in from the left before striker David McGoldrick, who has yet to score this season, hooked a pass over his shoulder for Fleck to net with ease.

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Sheffield United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in the city of Sheffield , South Yorkshire. The club competes in the Premier League

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has a fully-fit squad for the visit of fellow promoted side Aston Villa have got some very good players so there is no way they are going to sink like a stone, but it Sheffield United 's only defeat in nine Premier League matches came in their most recent home

"Finishing is something I've worked on over the last couple of years and thankfully I am now getting my rewards," Fleck told the BBC. "David McGoldrick has been amazing for us, I am sure his goal will come but he keeps creating chances."

Villa were thrown a potential lifeline when the video assistant referee (VAR) called play back to award them a penalty for handball, but Grealish thumped his spot kick off the crossbar and the ball was cleared by Lundstram.

With tough games against fellow strugglers Southampton, Norwich City and Watford to come over the busy Christmas period, that penalty miss seemed to knock the stuffing out of Villa as they slumped to their third league defeat in a row.

Sheffield United have 25 points from 17 games, while Villa are on 15 and will drop into the bottom three if Southampton draw or win at home to West Ham United in the late kickoff.

Before the season began, few would have expected to see United occupying a European place approaching the halfway point, but Fleck was not getting carried away.

"We just need to keep the run going as much as we can and keep working hard. We know there will be bumps in the road but we keep going and see where it takes us," he said. (Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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