Sheffield United 2-0 Brentford: 10-man Blades earn vital win
Gary Madine sent off in first half but goals from Ollie Norwood and David McGoldrick see Sheffield United to victory.
Last Updated: 12/03/19 11:52pm
Ten-man Sheffield United recorded their eighth straight home league win, beating Brentford 2-0 to maintain their drive for automatic promotion.
Oliver Norwood scored a first-half penalty and substitute David McGoldrick added a second late on. Brentford had a numerical advantage for nearly an hour after striker Gary Madine was sent off.
The hosts applied some early pressure with Madine putting a glancing header wide after getting on the end of a John Fleck corner.
Fleck himself went close, firing in a 25-yard effort which went narrowly wide.
Brentford then enjoyed a good spell with Neal Maupay stretching to meet a low cross from Yoann Barbet and diverting the ball on target, forcing keeper Dean Henderson to save with his legs.
Said Benrahma then had a couple of efforts, first firing in a free-kick which Henderson turned over the bar and then sending a low drive wide.
The opening goal came in the 26th minute after United were awarded a penalty. Norwood sent Luke Daniels the wrong way from the spot after Yoann Barbet was penalised for bringing down George Baldock inside the area.
United were reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute when referee Tony Harrington brandished a red card following Madine's late challenge on Ezri Konsa.
Henderson made a save from Ollie Watkins at his near post and Benrahma put a free-kick over in the closing stages of the half.
United boss Chris Wilder made a double substitution for the start of the second half, sending on McGoldrick and Martin Cranie in place of Scott Hogan and Kieran Dowell.
McGoldrick soon made his presence known, finding space inside the area in the opening minute of the half and testing Daniels with a shot.
Jack O'Connell also had a header saved before the visitors enjoyed a spell of pressure.
Barbet put a low drive wide and then Henderson had to be at full stretch to keep out an effort from Maupay.
Henderson went close to scoring a bizarre own-goal when he sliced a back-pass into the air before recovering and palming the ball away from under the bar.
Kamohelo Mokotjo went desperately close to equalising, hammering a shot against Henderson's left-hand post with Julian Jeanvier putting the rebound over.
United's top scorer Billy Sharp joined the action on the hour-mark, replacing Baldock.
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank responded by making a double substitution shortly afterwards, with Konsa and Moses Odubajo making way for Sergi Canos and Emiliano.
McGoldrick (84) sealed the victory, heading in from close range after Fleck's corner was headed back by O'Connell.
Despite enjoying a decent spell of possession late on, Brentford were unable to find a way through.
Chris Wilder: "Regardless of what happens this season, from my point of view, what the players have produced tonight goes a long way in terms of what I wanted when I came to the football club. They gave everything and from a character point of view and the art of defending, that was right up there.
"We've got players who are disciplined and organised and want to keep the ball out of the back of the net. We rode our luck a couple of times and the keeper's made some wonderful saves when he's needed to. It was the toughest of tests with the players they've got and their movement."
Thomas Frank: "I think we could have done better, but I think only a few teams could defend like Sheffield United did tonight in this division. Credit to Sheffield United because I thought they did very well and these three points could be crucial for them. Not only the desire and the mentality, but the tactical adjustments they made as well.
"They're full of confidence and they know they will create chances. They have a style of play that not too many teams have. I think they did fantastic and I think in spells we did not have enough tempo, going through the middle instead of getting around them. It was part of the plan to have more offensive power but we didn't use it enough."