West Brom player ratings vs Sheffield United: Jake Livermore lets team down in defeat
It was far from the dream start for Steve Bruce on his latest managerial journey
Billy Sharp scored a goal in each half for the Blades and Albion saw skipper Jake Livermore sent off for a two footed lunge on Conor Hourihane.
It all seemed to start off so well for Bruce as he watched his men dominate the early exchanges, forcing the hosts into multiple errors.
Karlan Grant went close and Adam Reach saw an effort go wide but the Blades took the lead against the run of play.
The ball fell to Billy Sharp in the Albion box and he turned and watched his deflected effort trickle past a wrong-footed Sam Johnstone.
Grady Diangana had a golden chance to equalise almost immediately when he found himself through one-on-one but he dithered, and dithered, and allowed George Baldock to get back and make a challenge.
Livermore made Bruce’s first game in charge all the more difficult when he saw red for a stupid challenge on Hourihane. He needlessly lunged in with two feet and harsh or not, he gave the referee an unnecessary decision to make.
The Blades cranked up the pressure in the second-half as they looked to kill the game off and they would have done had it not been for some superb Sam Johnstone goalkeeping.
England’s stopper pulled off multiple fantastic saves in quick succession to deny Iliman Ndiaye and Jayden Bogle.
Albion had their best spell of the game following that in truth but were unable to muster anything of real danger with 10-men.
Sharp sealed the three points with a superb finish with 10 minutes to go and put the game beyond doubt.
Here’s our player ratings from Wednesday night’s action.