Adams double sees Saints sign off in style

By SFC Media time Sun 26 Jul Saints v Sheffield United
Photo by Chris Moorhouse | Ché Adams
Sun 26 Jul 4PM
Premier League
Sheffield United
Adams [50' 71'] Ings [84']
Lundstram [26']
yellow card
Stevens (90+3')
Referee: Peter Bankes | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 0

With Danny Ings needing two goals to land the Premier League Golden Boot, it was strike partner Ché Adams who fired a brace as Southampton came from behind to sign off the season in style with victory over Sheffield United at St Mary’s.

Saints fell behind to a 26th minute strike from John Lundstram, who was only denied a second by an excellent Alex McCarthy save soon after.

Trailing at the interval, Adams took matters into his own hands by levelling the scores five minutes after the restart, before blasting home his second 19 minutes from time.

There was still time for Ings to keep his hopes alive with a late penalty that sealed victory, as the hosts continued their fine form to whet the appetite for 2020/21.

It’s a result that means Saints climbed a place to 11th in the final table, helped by Everton’s home defeat to Bournemouth, as Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side finished the season seven games unbeaten, winning four of those.

The boss made one change to his side for the final instalment of a seemingly never-ending campaign, restoring Adams to the attack alongside Golden Boot hopeful Ings, who started the day two behind the Premier League’s top scorer, Jamie Vardy.

Adams was plucked from non-league obscurity by Sheffield United as a teenager, and scored as a substitute to clinch Saints’ club-record ninth top-flight away win last time out, 2-0 at Bournemouth.

Saints, sporting their striking new home kit with a white sash, were quickly on the front foot.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Ché Adams of Southampton goal celebration during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Sheffield United at St Mary's Stadium on April 17, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ché Adams celebrates the first of his second-half brace

Nathan Redmond danced away from a couple of challenges in midfield, but his ball over the top was just too long for James Ward-Prowse, whose crossing ability both from set-pieces and open play was causing problems.

But the Blades soon settled as both of their strikers threatened to break the deadlock.

First Oli McBurnie’s snapshot was blocked, before former Saint Billy Sharp raced away from the defence and went eye to eye with McCarthy, but the goalkeeper stood up and denied the veteran a goal on his old stomping ground.

The visitors continued their improvement after the drinks break and soon opened the scoring through Lundstram, as Enda Stevens’s cross from the left somehow squeezed beyond a host of bodies to find the midfielder at the far post, whose close-range finish was nearly kept out by McCarthy. 

The goalkeeper did win that particular duel seven minutes later, making a miraculous stop high to his left to keep out another Lundstram chance.

By now Saints had lost Stuart Armstrong to injury, replaced by Will Smallbone, as things started to contrive against the hosts after a promising start.

Redmond did his best to redress the balance, as his quick feet somehow eluded two Sheffield United defenders on the byeline, but Adams did not seem to be expecting a cutback and the ball came to him too quickly for the striker to react.

Unfortunately for his partner in crime, chances were proving hard to come by for Ings, with one blocked shot all he had to get his teeth into in a frustrating first half. 

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Danny Ings(centre) of Southampton celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Sheffield United at St Mary's Stadium on July 26, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Adams and Oriol Romeu congratulate Danny Ings on his well-taken penalty

But it would not take long for Saints to find their feet after the interval; five minutes to be exact, as Smallbone poked the ball in behind the defence for Adams, who beat Dean Henderson at his near post with a smart finish – his third goal in six games after failing to score in his first 29 appearances. Confidence, eh?

With Everton trailing at home to Bournemouth, a point would be enough for Saints to climb a place to 11th in the final table, extending their season-ending unbeaten run to seven matches.

But that streak looked in jeopardy when Sharp intercepted a risky pass from McCarthy, with the keeper grateful to Oriol Romeu for sparing his blushes with a brilliant last-ditch tackle. 

Suddenly chances were coming thick and fast, as Ward-Prowse’s header back across goal was cleverly left by Ings, who knew Adams was waiting behind him, but Jack Robinson read the script and intervened with a Romeu-esque challenge of his own to divert the shot off target.

But Adams was hungry for more and duly turned the game on its head in the 71st minute.

The goal owed much to the energy of Kyle Walker-Peters, who embarked on a trademark burst from the back and tried his luck on his left foot with a shot that cannoned into a United shirt and fell perfectly for Adams, who rifled the loose ball back across the helpless Henderson. Make that four in six.

Perhaps on another day, Adams would have been afforded the chance to complete his hat-trick when Ings was tripped in the penalty area, but the No. 9 pulled rank and buried the spot-kick to finish an outstanding campaign just one goal shy of Vardy.

Today's Match Sponsor: Utilita

Head to Head Stats

Sheffield United
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Alex McCarthy (GK)
Jannik Vestergaard
Jack Stephens
Kyle Walker-Peters
Ryan Bertrand
Stuart Armstrong
replace William Smallbone (30′)
Oriol Romeu
replace Michael Obafemi (91′)
James Ward-Prowse (C)
Nathan Redmond
Che Adams goal goal
replace Shane Long (85′)
Danny Ings goal
Jake Vokins
Jan Bednarek
Shane Long
Michael Obafemi
William Smallbone
Yan Valery
Angus Gunn
Kevin Danso

Sheffield United

Dean Henderson (GK)
Jack Robinson
Chris Basham
replace Oliver Norwood (80′)
John Egan
Enda Stevens yellow card
John Fleck
John Lundstram goal
Sander Berge
George Baldock
Oliver McBurnie
replace Richairo Zivkovic (51′)
Billy Sharp (C)
replace Leon Clarke (70′)
Simon Moore
Phil Jagielka
Leon Clarke
Richairo Zivkovic
Kieron Freeman
Jack Rodwell
Oliver Norwood
Ben Osborn
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