Oliver Norwood goal boosts Sheffield United’s play-off hopes
Sheffield United boosted their Championship play-off hopes with a 1-0 victory over QPR following an early goal from Oliver Norwood.
The result places further pressure on Rangers boss Mark Warburton following a run of just two wins in their last 12 league games. Warburton admitted before the game that his future beyond the end of the season was uncertain.
United boss Paul Heckingbottom handed a debut in defence to Croatia international Filip Uremovic.
Andre Gray, on loan from Watford, returned to QPR’s starting line-up after being rested at the weekend.
The hosts got off to a great start when Norwood struck in the ninth minute, receiving a corner from John Fleck just inside the area and beating Keiren Westwood with a low deflected shot.
Oli McBurnie put a header on target, but it lacked the power and direction to test Westwood.
Sander Berge threatened to find a way through with a surging run as the home side looked to extend their lead, but Yoann Barbet made a timely challenge to dispossess him.
United skipper John Egan shot wide early in the second half following a corner. At the other end, Ilias Chair also fired off target.
Morgan Gibbs-White tried a chip from inside the area which only just went over.
There was an enforced change for the hosts just after the hour-mark when Uremovic went off after receiving treatment with Jack Robinson taking his place.
Warburton made a double substitution with George Thomas and Andre Dozzell replacing Gray and Jeff Hendrick.
A third change for the visitors saw Lee Wallace replaced by Sam McCallum.
United also made a substitution, sending on Daniel Jebbison in place of McBurnie.
Lyndon Dykes caused problems for United down the left-hand side and fired in a shot which went just over the bar.
As Rangers went in search of an equaliser in the closing stages, Chair tried a free-kick which struck the defensive wall.
Ben Osborn found Gibbs-White whose low shot failed to test Westwood with the keeper gathering the ball comfortably.
Gibbs-White had another chance to add a second goal when he ran from around the half-way line into the area and shot narrowly wide of Westwood’s left-hand post.
Rangers piled forward in stoppage time, but they were unable to test keeper Wes Foderingham.
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