Sheffield United down South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley to boost play-offs hopes

Written by James Wilson

Sheffield United have climbed back into the Championship play-offs places after Paul Heckingbottom’s men secured an all-important three points in a 2-0 victory against local foes Barnsley at Bramall Lane.

Sander Berge and Morgan Gibbs-White were on the scoresheet as the Blades ended a five-match winless run in the league to conclude the day in 5th position in the Championship table and pile more misery on the relegation threatened Barnsley.

In a goalless first half it was the 22nd placed visitors who first threatened to open the scoring, with midfielder Matty Wolfe forcing an outstanding low save from Wes Foderingham with a half-volley inside the area.

The hosts’ best effort in the opening period came courtesy of defender Jack Robinson, whose left-foot drive outside the box sizzled just wide of Bradley Collins’ left-hand post.

After a disappointing first half, the Blades re-emerged from the half-time break with clear added impetus, and it did not take long for them to get their noses in front.

Oliver Norwood’s cleverly taken quick free kick set Conor Hourihane free down the left-hand side with the Irishman’s whipped cross bundled over the line by Sander Berge at the back post to give United the lead in the 54th minute.

There was cause for concern for United on 65 minutes, however, as inspirational captain Billy Sharp was forced to be replaced through injury by academy graduate Daniel Jebbison.

Despite this setback the Blades were able to maintain their composure, and doubled their lead in the 76th minute after substitute Oli McBurnie deftly scooped the ball over the Barnsley backline towards Morgan Gibbs-White who coolly rounded Collins in the Barnsley goal before sliding into the net to seal the points for his team.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom paid tribute to the collective spirit amongst his players and expressed his delight in signing off for the international break with a victory.

He said: “They all need credit. We’ve had players playing out of position, players putting themselves forward who aren’t 100% fit.

“I think it was only fitting that we signed off with a win today and now we get ready for the final eight games.”

Sheffield United will resume their Championship campaign away at Stoke City on Saturday 2nd April after the international break.

Written by James Wilson

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