Billy Sharp is spot on as Sheffield United beat Newcastle United for their first win of Premier League season

Relief for bottom club Blades but pressure mounts on Magpies manager Bruce

Sheffield United's English striker Billy Sharp shoots from the penalty spot to score his team's opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Newcastle United at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on January 12, 2021. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications.
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Sheffield United ended a 20-game winless run in the Premier League on Tuesday as Billy Sharp's penalty earned a 1-0 victory over 10-man Newcastle.

The Blades still face an uphill task to haul themselves off the bottom of the table as they sit nine points adrift of safety.

But Chris Wilder's men ensured they will not set an unwanted record by going a full top-flight season without a win thanks to another night to forget for Newcastle.

The Magpies could yet find themselves dragged into a relegation battle as they remain eight points above the drop zone in 15th, but have played two games more than Fulham in 18th.

Steve Bruce's men are winless in eight games in all competitions, including exits from both domestic cups.

Two quickfire bookings for Ryan Fraser just before half-time left the visitors a man down for the full second-half.

But scoring goals has been United's Achilles' heel all season and they struggled to make the man advantage count until Federico Fernandez was punished for the ball brushing his outstretched hand inside the area.

Cub captain Sharp showed his experience by sending Karl Darlow the wrong way from the spot.

Jayden Bogle nearly scored a spectacular own goal six minutes into stoppage time to ruin the Blades big night when his attempted pass back with his chest eluded Aaron Ramsdale and the ball rolled just past the post for a corner.

But the hosts held out to end a 186-day wait for a league win and more than double their points tally for the season.

"It's a huge relief, I'm so happy for the boys. It was important we got a win soon. It was scrappy at times but in the first half I thought we were brilliant," Sharp said.

"Everyone has written us off, the pressure is off. We've not had a great time in the last few months but we've got to keep our heads high now. We're good enough to do it."

Soccer Football - Premier League - Sheffield United v Newcastle United- Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - January 12, 2021 Sheffield United's Billy Sharp celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Pool via REUTERS/Stu Forster EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.

Magpies manager Bruce had no complaints about Fraser's sending off, but bemoaned what he called a "pathetic" penalty decision.

"I've got no issues with the red card – we can't argue with that and you can't argue with how poor we are in the first half," he said.

"But the penalty baffles me. The referee got it spot on in real time. It hit [Fernandez's] hand but it's not intentional. It could have been a foul on him as well.

"VAR is supposed to be for clear and obvious decisions. How someone 300 miles away on a TV screen can overturn it is beyond me.

"You know when the referee goes to the screen it will be a penalty – it's pathetic. It's beyond me.

"And then there's a horror challenge by Billy Sharp, that should be a straight red card. It's blatant. They didn't check it. It's laughable the whole VAR situation and I don't think anyone enjoys it.

"I'm struggling to cope with it. Week in week out, it's ruining the game."

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United reacts during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Newcastle United at Bramall Lane on January 12, 2021 in Sheffield, England. Sporting stadiums around England remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)