Swansea 1-0 Sheffield United: Oliver McBurnie scores as Swans beat Blades
Last Updated: 19/01/19 8:41pm
An Oliver McBurnie goal was enough to earn Swansea a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at the Liberty Stadium.
The striker turned home a Nathan Dyer cross in the 65th minute to settle a hard-fought match in south Wales.
Billy Sharp should have opened the scoring for Sheffield United when he found himself in space on the edge of the six-yard box, but he failed to muster sufficient power to beat Erwin Mulder who stuck out a leg to repel his tame shot.
David McGoldrick was the next Blades forward to fluff his lines when he evaded his marker to get on the end of a Mark Duffy cross, but only succeeded in heading the ball well wide from 10 yards out.
Swansea's chances suffered a blow when central defender Joe Rodon was forced off with an injury after going down under no pressure.
Swansea made a single change, as Oliver McBurnie came in for Courtney Baker-Richardson.Sheffield United named an entirely unchanged team from their previous league outing, a 1-0 win over QPR.
Mulder was once again called into action for Swansea by Rodon's replacement, Cameron Carter-Vickers, who diverted a cross towards his own goal, but the goalkeeper was in the right position to block it and avoid embarrassment.
It took until after the break for Swansea to cause Dean Henderson any concern when Matt Grimes whipped a free-kick over the wall from 20 yards but it just cleared the crossbar, too.
McBurnie and Dyer threatened to combine on a couple of occasions prior to the winger playing a one-two with Mike van der Hoorn in the area, before firing a cross towards the striker who slid the ball into the net from close range.
Swansea: Mulder (8), Roberts (8), Van Der Hoorn (8), Rodon (7), Naughton (7), Fer (8), Grimes (7), Celina (7), Dyer (7), Routledge (6), McBurnie (7)
Subs: Carter-Vickers (7), James (7), Fulton (n/a)
Sheff Utd: Henderson (7), Baldock (7), Stevens (6), Fleck (6), O'Connell (7), Basham (7), Sharp (6), Egan (6), Norwood (6), McGoldrick (6), Duffy (6)
Subs: Dowell (6), Clarke (n/a), Madine (6)
Man of the match: Leroy Fer
After an underwhelming first half, Swansea were the dominant force after the break, and could have doubled their lead when first Bersant Celina had a fierce strike saved by Henderson. The goalkeeper then recovered to dive to his left to stop the rebound, a Daniel James shot, nestling into the bottom corner.
The win takes Swansea up to ninth in the SkyBet Championship table, while Sheffield United missed out on the opportunity to regain second spot.
Graham Potter: "I think we lifted our performance second half.
"Second half I just asked them to play more life themselves.
"We don't think about that [reaching the play-offs; we're a young group, a new group of players trying to improve and get better with each game and I think we've done that."
Chris Wilder: "I thought first half we were excellent, we should have come in up [at half-time].
"I think we've played well enough to get the result. I think the result was lost in our changing room and won in theirs.
"We've had enough in and around the box but failed to find the quality.
"Some strange decisions from the referee. I don't think there was any consistency with the referee, he was guessing on a few decisions."
Man of the Match
Leroy Fer ensured there was a stable spine throughout the Swansea team, leading a relatively inexperienced side to victory over high-flying Sheffield United.
The Dutchman was combative against a strong Blades midfield and completed 36 of his 40 passes to kick his team ticking.
Swansea turn their attentions to the FA Cup next Saturday, when they host Gillingham.
Sheffield United travel to face Norwich City on the same day in a crucial promotion battle.