Blades boost top-two hopes after comfortable win at Hull
Premier League destiny remains in Sheffield United’s hands following an easy 3-0 victory at Hull.
With two Sky Bet Championship games remaining – at home to Ipswich and away at Stoke – Chris Wilder’s impressively-focused side are in pole position to return to the big time.
Hull were admittedly obliging hosts, but they had not lost in the league at home since November.
Yet the damage was done in the first half as two goals from David McGoldrick and an Enda Stevens header essentially confirmed an away win.
Wilder wisely battened down the hatches in the second half as his pioneering approach was replaced by pragmatism.
But United’s vocal supporters, who came in their droves in anticipation of a season-defining victory, could not have cared less as they enjoyed a carefree afternoon in the Easter sunshine.
It was, of course, a soothing relief to the away fans that Wilder’s men were quick to hit their stride – and with it the opening goal after 10 minutes.
John Fleck’s corner from the right was not especially threatening, yet McGoldrick was given the freedom of East Yorkshire to plant a simple header into the roof of the net.
United’s goal triggered unsavoury scenes in the north stand of the ground as sporadic fighting broke out between away fans, who had seemingly bought tickets in the home end, and Hull supporters.
Order was swiftly restored, but Hull’s defence remained in a state of some disquiet as McGoldrick scored again after 22 minutes.
The 31-year-old striker was given an unforgivable amount of time to control the football and point towards goal from around 25 yards.
And once McGoldrick let rip with a curling right-footed attempt, it felt inevitable that the ball should slot snugly into the bottom right-hand corner.
With their play-off ambitions essentially over following a Good Friday defeat at West Brom, Hull had little to play for.
It showed, too, as Sheffield United were vastly superior in all departments.
Few within the KCOM Stadium would have been too shocked to see the visitors score a third goal after 42 minutes.
Hull were again guilty of desperately poor defending as George Baldock was not efficiently closed down from the right flank.
Baldock lifted a neat cross towards the penalty spot which was devoured by Stevens, who rose unchallenged and headed home with lofty precision.
Hull at least improved after the restart, but Sheffield United had no reason to take unnecessary risks, such was their position of authority.
Be that as it may, McGoldrick was not too far away from a hat-trick when he flashed over the crossbar a snap-shot from the edge of the penalty box.
McGoldrick later turned provider with a deft flick to Fleck, whose close-range attempt was well saved by former Sheffield United goalkeeper George Long.
That was as close as either side came to scoring in a dull second half as the visitors eased to a hugely important victory.
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