Sheffield United 3-1 Derby: Blades move above Rams in Championship table
Billy Sharp, David McGoldrick and Leon Clarke score for Sheffield United.
Last Updated: 26/12/18 6:49pm
Sheffield United returned to winning ways and climbed above visitors Derby in the Sky Bet Championship with a 3-1 victory at Bramall Lane.
Goals from Billy Sharp, David McGoldrick and Leon Clarke secured a home win for the Blades despite a trademark Harry Wilson free-kick levelling the scores early in the first half.
The result left the Blades in fourth place in the table, two points ahead of their opponents who dropped to sixth.
Chris Wilder named an unchanged Blades side for the third successive match and it was top-scorer Sharp who had the best chance for the home side early on.
McGoldrick curled wide in the opening minute before Sharp forced a fine save from Scott Carson - the goalkeeper rushed out quickly as the striker flicked Enda Stevens' header goalwards.
Down the other end, Tom Huddlestone's 30-yard through ball was met by Wilson and he shot under Dean Henderson with his weaker right foot, only to see George Baldock clear off the line.
In a half with few clear chances and a number of mistakes, it took a pinpoint header from Sharp to break the deadlock and give the Blades the lead four minutes before the break.
Jack O'Connell again found space down the left and delivered a cross into the middle which Sharp headed into the far corner past the outstretched Carson.
The second half started brighter, but McGoldrick failed to capitalise on Fikayo Tomori's fluffed header to his goalkeeper and the Rams were able to clear.
And the visitors went down the other end and levelled in the 53rd minute thanks to a Wilson free-kick from the edge of the box. His curled effort left Henderson rooted and clipped in off the underside of the bar to draw his side level against the run of play.
Tackles began to fly in as tempers flared on both sides, leading to an end-to-end exchange between two of the league's promotion hopefuls.
Oliver Norwood blazed over from 18 yards after rushing to meet a lay off from Mark Duffy, before Wilson saw a second free-kick whistle narrowly wide from distance.
The Blades were back in front in the 64th minute when John Fleck's diving header sent McGoldrick through and the striker showed composure to lob Carson.
Sharp could have sealed it with little over 10 minutes to play, but his unmarked header inside the area went just wide of Carson's right post.
Derby continued to press for an equaliser, but the Blades secured the three points through substitute Leon Clarke as his free header was deflected past Carson by Jayden Bogle with six minutes left.
Chris Wilder: "I thought it was a really good game and I'm delighted with my team and the way they went about it. It was an all-round performance and everyone contributed.
"It's not easy to win games at Championship level and we won a really excellent game of football today and we deservedly did that."
Frank Lampard: "In the first half we played pretty well and had a lot of possession. We played well in the first half and then got ourselves back at 1-1 early in the second, but we didn't play well in the last part of the game and made mistakes which lost us the game.
"A great goal by Harry [Wilson] and we needed to own the game then and I fancied that we would do. But if you give simple goals away it changes the atmosphere and it made it very difficult. They're one of the best teams in the league and a difficult team to play against."