Sheffield United 3-2 Preston: David McGoldrick hits late Blades winner
Preston come back from two goals down but Sheffield United earn all three points
Last Updated: 22/09/18 7:35pm
Sheffield United climbed to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship after a thrilling 3-2 win over bottom side Preston at Bramall Lane.
A late winner from David McGoldrick saw United take all three points after his side had let a two-goal lead slip late in the game.
Jack O'Connell and Enda Stevens combined well down the left in the opening 10 minutes and it was the former who forced the game's first corner for the home side.
The chance came to nothing but the Blades persisted with their ploy to maintain width and soon O'Connell was free to cross again, but this time McGoldrick could not time his header from eight yards out.
Although United started the brighter, Callum Robinson remained a threat for Preston and his curled shot from distance had Dean Henderson running backwards as it went over.
The home side were quick to get back on the front foot and the best chance of the opening half hour fell to McGoldrick, whose goal-bound header was cleared by Paul Huntington.
In a turgid opening half with few chances, it took an industrious piece of work from the lively McGoldrick - on his return to the side - to get the breakthrough.
He chased a long ball down the right and beat the defender, getting a first-time shot away from the edge of the area. Chris Maxwell could only push it to his right and the onrushing Billy Sharp (36) slotted the rebound into an empty net to give the Blades the lead.
An aerial threat throughout the game, McGoldrick almost made it two moments later, but his header under pressure went just wide.
The goal lifted the Blades and they continued to press in the second half.
Chris Basham doubled the home side's lead in the 51st minute with a glancing header to guide Ollie Norwood's free kick into the far corner of the net.
Tom Clarke came close to dragging one back for Preston, but his effort from Paul Gallagher's cross was scrambled away by the Blades' defence after Henderson got a hand to the powerful header.
Gallagher and Tom Barkhuizen, who was isolated for much of the game, were replaced as Preston manager Alex Neil looked for a way back into the game.
The attacking intent brought by a change in formation worked as Preston stunned the home side with two goals in as many minutes.
Against the run of play, North End scored a first goal in five away league games through Robinson (80). His run into the six-yard box went unnoticed and he tapped past the stranded Henderson to give the visitors hope.
The unlikely comeback was complete with Preston's next attack as substitute Daniel Johnson (82) fired a deflected shot home after making a good run into the box.
But United continued to press and in an end-to-end last 10 minutes, McGoldrick (87) grabbed a deserved winner, pulling away to find space inside the box and tapping home after good build-up play down the left.
Chris Wilder: "I'm delighted and proud with the way we set up. It was never dull, but the players showed tremendous character to get themselves back up off the canvas.
"I'm delighted to get the right result, which in my opinion is a home win. We went back to the team that's done ever so well recently and I thought we were outstanding in the first half."
Alex Neil: "That's been the story of the season so far. When we look like the side who's going to win and we've got a foothold back into the game, we get hurt with a sucker-punch.
"But it's about more than that. It's about game management, experience and recognising we can still throw caution to the wind along with the hard work. The third goal we conceded was really poor and really frustrating because the second half performance merited something from the game."