Sheffield United 1-0 QPR: David McGoldrick earns narrow win
Sheffield United move up to second with victory at Bramall Lane.
Last Updated: 12/01/19 6:50pm
David McGoldrick's first-half strike was enough to give Sheffield United a 1-0 victory over QPR and take them into the automatic promotion places.
Chris Wilder's men dominated for large parts of the match, and they held on to win 1-0, ending the R's unbeaten run and record their fourth consecutive league victory.
The home side took the lead after early sustained periods of pressure as McGoldrick headed in from close range eight minutes before half time. The striker lost his marker to latch onto Oliver Norwood's cross and score his tenth goal of the campaign.
United were looking to bounce back from their FA Cup defeat to Barnet and continue their fine league run, while QPR were aiming to extend their unbeaten six-game run in all competitions.
The Blades started as they meant to go on and could have taken the lead in the opening minutes when Billy Sharp's lay-off found McGoldrick inside the box, but he volleyed wide of the mark.
United continued to probe Rangers' defence and McGoldrick might have been in again at the back post but George Baldock's cross was too deep for the striker.
The visitors were doing well to frustrate the Blades with their resolute defence as Joe Lumley was forced into his first save from Norwood's deflected effort from the edge of the box.
QPR were happy to sit back and surrender possession for the majority of the first half, however the home side broke the deadlock in the 37th minute.
After more patient build-up play from the hosts, Norwood's whipped cross from the right-hand side found an unmarked McGoldrick at the near post to head in from six yards out.
The R's were on the front foot after conceding, however they only managed two long-range attempts before the half was out. Jordan Cousins fired well over before Dean Henderson saved comfortably from Ebere Eze's tame effort.
Steve McClaren's men came out with more urgency after the break as they started to find their rhythm.
Baldock defended well to head clear on two occasions as the visitors searched for an equaliser.
The visitors were looking to counter-attack at every opportunity, and Luke Freeman had a great chance to draw level from one of their swift breakaways, but he scuffed his shot into the hands of Henderson.
With both sides looking for a decisive goal, the match became an end-to-end affair but it was United who looked the more likely team to score.
Wing-back Enda Stevens had the best chance of the half to double the home side's lead as he found himself with space in the box, but his strike was just wide of the post.
Chances were coming thick and fast at both ends, as the visitors had a good opportunity but Freeman was again off the mark with his attempt as the Blades held firm to take all three points.
Chris Wilder: "It is job done, it was a tough game. They were on a good run of form, no result is given to you in the Championship and you have to work extremely hard to do things right. Given the run they're on, it is well deserved. We've had to overcome stubborn and difficult opposition today but I think the right result is the one that has happened.
"We always talk about that it's not going to be free-flowing and we're not going to create chance after chance, but it is football and we've talked about that one bit of quality that we need and we've got it today."
Steve McClaren: "I thought you saw two very good teams go toe-to-toe and really slug it out. There wasn't a great deal in the game and both defences did well to restrict chances so it was always going to be a one-goal game. We're disappointed to concede because I think it was from their only shot on target in the whole game so I thought our shape and the way we defended without the ball was very good.
"We tried to create opportunities and we had chances without actually going on goal. Our final ball today was not of the quality that it has been, so therefore you lose games. It is the first one in seven games, but it's the Championship so we'll dust ourselves down and go again at Preston next week."