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David Button – Some sections of the Fulham support absolutely slaughtered Button for the first two Sheffield United goals. He had little chance with the first goal, gobbled up by in-form Leon Clarke from close range after Fulham had afforded John Fleck far too much time and space in which to advance and then shoot at goal from range. The second goal was just as lamentable and Button was probably far more culpable in allowing Clarke’s low shot to go through him at the near post, although Tim Ream was badly beaten by the big striker as well. 6

Ryan Fredericks – Started out as an explosive outlet down the Fulham right – linking encouragingly with the returning Sheyi Ojo – and, as ever, was full of running and plenty of energy. Fredericks’ short fuse saw him respond negatively to being manhandled by Billy Sharp on the touchline, something which earned him a yellow card, and, as the game went on, he was penned back as the Blades went much more direct. 6

Denis Odoi – Another assured display at left back from the Belgian, who covered so much ground in support of his side, and his defensive diligence gave Ryan Sessegnon the freedom to roam at will to such devastating effect. Odoi offers the balance that has previously been missing and seems to have left some of his lackadaisical wandering well out of position behind. Arguably one of his best displays in a Fulham shirt. 7

Tomas Kalas – The Czech centre half has failed to reach the remarkably high standards he set last season, but had an incredibly difficult evening against two in-form forwards in Sharp and Clarke. He was always making himself available to receive position and battled hard, but struggled to quell Sharp’s movement throughout. 6

Tim Ream – The American toiled manfully against the Blades’ forwards in a desperate bid to try and starve off the home side’s improbable late comeback. No one can ever question Ream’s commitment and he has improved superbly since establishing himself as Kalas’s regular partner at the heart of the Fulham defence, but he was beaten all ends up by a simple shimmy from Clarke right before he pulled the stringer for United’s second goal. 6

Kevin McDonald – There was never any doubt that McDonald was going to up for this clash against one of his former employers. The Scottish midfielder’s evening started poorly when he was nowhere to be seen as his compatriot John Fleck advanced towards goal, but his cajoling of his team-mates, organisation of both the defence and the midfield and confidence on the ball played a big part in dragging Fulham back into such a see-saw contest. It was significant that the Blades’ late rally took place once he had been replaced. 7

Oliver Norwood – The Northern Ireland international, fresh from a fine free-kick against Derby on Saturday, delivered another composed display at the heart of the Fulham midfield. Put in some important tackles to break up the Blades’ rhythm and pressed the home side with a regularity that severly discomforted Chris Wilder’s men. Norwood also delivered a few raking passes – none better than the brilliant switch of play from the right wing to left angle of the box that allowed Sessegnon to complete his hat-trick with a fine finish. 7

Tom Cairney – The Fulham captain followed up his most complete performance of an injury-plagued campaign with a whole-hearted display that married silky skills with plenty of guts and leadership. He had to withstand some early heavy tackles but punished the Blades for allowing him the time to dictate the game form the heart of the midfield, carrying the ball forward to great effect, especially in the first half. Cairney’s defensive shift could easily be forgotten – his athletic goal-line clearance that repelled James Hanson’s powerful header was vital – and he led the effort to give the Whites’ back-line some respite during added time. 8

Floyd Ayite – The Togolese winger has failed to recapture the outstanding form of his first year in English football and remains something of enigma. He produced an excellent decay run to distract the Blades as Ryan Sessegnon sauntered through the midfield before striking his sensational first goal of the evening, but frequently picked the wrong option in the final third. Never stopped running until he tweaked hamstring trying to added a fourth on the hour mark – and was replaced by Aboubakar Kamara. 6

Sheyi Ojo – The Liverpool loanee made an earlier than expected return to the starting line-up last night after dislocating his shoulder at QPR and showed everyone just why he’s such a highly-rated youngster with a display of pure pace, power and persistence that terrorised the Blades defence. Operating as Fulham’s most prominent forward threat after Slavisa Jokanovic opted to use him instead of a false nine instead of more conventional striking options like Rui Fonte and Kamara, Ojo had already unsettled the United back three when his athleticism helped him drew an early save from Jamal Blackman and gleefully the early Christmas present offered by Cameron Carter-Vickers to score his first Fulham goal. He laid the Whites’ third for Sessegnon just before half-time and was a constant threat in behind the Blades back line, being rewarded with a second on the hour mark after unselfish approach from Kamara. 9

Ryan Sessegnon – The highly-gifted teenager showcased all of his outrageous talent at Bramall Lane last night. His first goal was something truly special as he raided infield and punished the Blades for allowing him to keep running by curling a brilliant effort into the bottom corner from more than 20 yards. Sessegnon, part of Fulham’s speedy front three, showed his anticipation and predatory instincts when he volleyed the Whites back in front from Ojo’s sumptuous cross just before the break – and he was up and down the wing throughout the wing, offering both defensive cover and an attacking outlet. He completed his first senior hat-trick on his 50th Fulham appearance with another unerring finish after Norwood’s peach of a crossfield pass to put Fulham firmly in control. 9

Substitutes

Aboubakar Kamara (on for Ayite, 60): You sense that the French forward is really relishing his regular role as an impact substitute as he gets used to the helter-skelter world of Championship football. He made an immediate impact after replacing the injured Floyd Ayite on the hour mark, racing clear of the home defence before playing in Sheyi Ojo for a vital fourth. Kamara continually unsettled the Blades back line with his raw pace – and worked his socks off as the Whites clung desperately to their narrowing lead in the closing stages. 7

Rui Fonte (on for Ojo, 74): The Portuguese forward filled one of the front three roles so expertly undertaken by Ojo for the final quarter of this absorbing contest and showed a desire both to take the game to the Blades and not to shirk any tackles. He got into the box a couple of times but didn’t have any enough time to leave a mark on the contest, even if often-criticised work rate was impressive. 6

Stefan Johansen (on for McDonald, 83): The Norwegian has been laid low by a fever over the past few days and was only able to contribute from the bench last night. He added energy and valuable fresh legs as time ticked down, but Fulham sacrificed McDonald’s more defensive-minded game and were nearly punished during added time. Johansen was composed in possession and completed some crucial clearances – expect him to pushing for a recall against Millwall at the weekend. 6