Basham strike gives Blades advantage in promotion race

Sheffield United took a step closer to the Premier League after beating promotion rivals Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday.

Chris Basham’s 71st minute strike was enough to give Chris Wilder’s side a vital three points and lift them into second in the Championship table.

While the home side dominated possession they could not find a way past a resolute United defence. The Blades’ goal was the game’s only shot on target in what was a tense affair in West Yorkshire.

Tyler Roberts came closest for the hosts when his 15-yard strike struck the post.

A mistake by Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson gave Leeds a 1-0 victory in December and it was another individual error that separated the two teams at Elland Road.

A slip from Leeds captain Liam Cooper allowed Billy Sharp to pounce on a loose ball before playing in Basham to place a calm finish past Kiko Casilla in the Leeds goal.

The hosts pressed for an equaliser but failed to test Henderson who kept his seventh consecutive clean sheet.

It got worse for Leeds when Casilla saw red in the final minutes for bringing down Sharp who was through on goal. Defender Pontus Jansson had to takeover the gloves for the remainder of the match as all three substitutes had been used.

Wilder had emphasised before the game that any result would not be ‘season-defining’ and maintained this stance post-match. The Blades’ manager also claimed he had considered substituting goalscorer Basham in the first half.

He said: “He’s done well to be the match-winner because after 25 minutes he was coming off as he was absolutely useless. But I left him in there. I still don’t think this is a defining result but we’re in the mix.”

Leeds head coach Marco Bielsa was clearly frustrated in his post-match interview. The Argentine said he felt his side deserved to win the game but its the Blades who have the advantage going into the international break.