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06 April 2019 Venue Deepdale Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Reports

Preston 0-1 Blades - report

6 April 2019

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The resilience of Chris Wilder's side was once again in evidence as three more points were collected in Lancashire.

David McGoldrick's first half goal decided the game against Preston but it was a fantastic team effort following the previous week's defeat.

Wilder made one change - Duffy started and O'Connell missed out through injury, failing a fitness test on the calf problem he picked up in the game against Bristol City. There was a change on the bench where Freeman replaced Johnson.

At a bright and sunny Deepdale, kick-off confirmed Stevens as one of three United central defenders and Dowell slotting into a left wing back role. The referee's watch had just ticked around to one minute when a speculative effort for Norwood appeared to be comfortable for Rudd but the home goalkeeper nervously spilled before collecting close to his line.

The home side, though, soon settled into the game and appeared to be getting some joy down their right. Nmecha was the first around the back of the United defence but Basham blocked from Maguire and Baldock kept the follow up from Browne out. Soon after Henderson had to kick away Robinson's cross that Browne was looking to get on the end of.

Going forward, Basham carried the ball out of defence a couple of times early on to cause North End problems and a Baldock cross deflected off Earl to force Rudd into another save.
Henderson made a one-handed stop from Robinson to save the blushes of Fleck, whose intended pass was cut out and paved the way for the chance and the home side also had a couple of appeals for penalties turned down.

Norwood fired over from 25-yards after a patient move involving McGoldrick, Sharp and Duffy before the opening goal arrived just after the half hour. Norwood's deep corner found the run of Egan, Rudd could only push the defender's header against the crossbar and McGOLDRICK was ideally placed to touch home from close range in a crowded six-yard box.

The Blades fans were in full voice after the goal and Preston looked to get back into the game as quickly as possible. There was a great chance when Maguire pulled back for an unmarked Robinson, but Stevens was out quickly to make a necessary block.

Close to half-time there were a couple of half chances for United but Dowell's right-footer was comfortable for Rudd and McGoldrick had an effort blocked after Sharp nodded down a free-kick from the left.

Preston made an energetic start to the second period and caught United on the break but Robinson's effort following Nmecha's pass was weak and saved by Henderson. Nmecha, himself, could only find the sidenetting after successive crosses for the home side.

Twice before the hour, Sharp had opportunities to extend United's lead. The first effort, following Dowell's pass, saw the skipper through on goal but Rudd was quickly off his line to save and soon after McGoldrick was used as a decoy runner but another shot was blocked.

Cranie was introduced for Dowell, meaning Stevens reverting to his preferred left wing back role and he also had an opportunity but sidefooted over after a richochet from McGoldrick's cross.

Maguire arrived at pace but headed Moult's cross wide and Basham prevented Preston from getting around the back with a timely tackle. The home side were seeing a lot of the ball, possibly prompting boss Wilder to introduce Stearman.

Although Preston were the more offensive outfit in the second half, the Blades defence were holding firm. The home side's best opportunity arrived on 77 minutes when the ball dropped invitingly for substitute Gallagher, but he lifted the ball over the crossbar.

Hogan replaced Sharp, whilst the next and final chance for the home side was in the fourth and final minute of added time but Stockley headed wide a Gallagher corner and within seconds the 5,577 Blades fans inside the ground were celebrating a 23rd victory in the 40th league game of the campaign.

Preston: Rudd, Fisher, Earl, Pearson, Davies, Robinson (Moult 54), Browne, Storey, Ledson (Gallagher 66), Maguire, Nmecha (Stockley 76).
Unused: Crowe, Rafferty, Ginnelly, Huntington.

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Fleck, Basham, Dowell (Cranie 63), Sharp (Hogan 83), Egan, Norwood, Duffy (Stearman 78), McGoldrick.
Unused: Coutts, Freeman, Moore, Washington.

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