Hull vs Sheffield United: David McGoldrick double helps Blades near end to Premier League exile

Hull City 0-3 Sheffield United: The Blades are close to ending a 12-year absence from the top-flight

Jason Mellor
KCOM Stadium
Monday 22 April 2019 16:52 BST
David McGoldrick ensures Sheffield maintain second position in the Championship
David McGoldrick ensures Sheffield maintain second position in the Championship (Reuters)

The pundits may steadfastly maintain that the Premier League needs Leeds, but the message clearly hasn't made it through to Sheffield United, who took their latest significant step towards ending a 12-year exile from the top flight with a crushing victory at the KCOM Stadium.

Two first-half goals from David McGoldrick paved the way for another priceless three points to leave Chris Wilder's side on the verge of sealing a second automatic promotion in three seasons, and one which would condemn their Yorkshire neighbours to a spell of unwanted overtime in the form of the playoffs.

A second win in three days also meant that Championship leaders Norwich City had to wait at least a little bit longer until having their elevation confirmed, given that Marcelo Bielsa's third-place side kicked-off at Brentford later in the day.

Backed by more than 4,000 vociferous travelling fans, the Blades did what was required of them with total authority, cruising into a two- goal lead inside the contest's opening quarter, to leave them in pole position to accompany the Canaries into football's self-styled promised land, after posting their joint best away win of the campaign.

On the evidence of this latest assured display, it would be unwise to back against them emerging with maximum points from their remaining two games, when they host already-relegated Ipswich on Saturday evening, before bringing the curtain down on the regular season eight days later at a Stoke City side becalmed in mid-table.

United have lost just once now in their last 16 games, and took advantage of the third of four consecutive games where they have kicked-off prior to their rivals from Elland Road. They comprehensively out-play their hosts, whose own largely theoretical hopes of gate-crashing the top six evaporated with a third successive defeat in the space of 10 days.

McGoldrick's opener arrived in the 10th minute courtesy of some woeful marking from the hosts. The forward lost his marker Jackson Irvine to rise unchallenged at the near post to head home John Fleck's in-swinging corner.

The Blades have not lost on the last eight occasions when the striker has scored, and his second goal 12 minutes later was even more aesthetically pleasing. As Hull unwisely stood off, McGoldrick confidently thumped the ball over former Sheffield United keeper George Long on the turn from 20 yards to put the outcome beyond doubt. Released by the Portman Road club at the end of season, the Tractor Boys' loss has clearly been the Blades' gain, as an impressive return of 15 league goals so far will attest.

Enda Stevens celebrates scoring Sheffield's third (Reuters)

With Hull making little impact in their efforts to stop the incessant red and white wave of attacks, John Egan, the defender who returned from suspension in one of two changes, should have added to the advantage, but headed narrowly wide from close range after taking advantage of more lack marking at a Fleck corner.

Such was United's dominance against opponents who barely created a moment of danger in the first 45 minutes, there was still time for a third before the break. It arrived from another spectacular header, Enda Stevens arriving at the far post to add an emphatic finish from 12 yards as the Irishman met a perfect centre from his fellow wing-back George Baldock.

Fleck almost added a fourth 10 minutes from the end, but the midfielder's close range effort was blocked by the legs of Long. However, with the damage already inflicted, the visitors were happy to coast through a largely non-descript second period, played to the sound-track of boisterous celebrations from the away end. Those Blades believers are now not the only ones coming to the realisation that there's likely to be one hell of promotion party on the horizon at Bramall Lane if Wilder's charges continue to perform with such nerveless efficiency.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in