Halford header sends Blades to Wembley

Sheffield United are one win away from a return to the Premier League after they beat Preston North End 1-0 at Bramall Lane to win their Championship playoff semi-final 2-1 on aggregate on Monday. In a tight, tense encounter, United got the decisive goal after an hour when defender Kyle Walker crossed for Greg Halford to score with a superb header. The game then opened up, with both teams having efforts cleared off the line, but the home side held out. In next Monday's Wembley playoff final they will face either Burnley or Reading, who play their second leg at Reading on Tuesday with Burnley holding a 1-0 first-leg advantage. Sheffield United were controversially relegated from the Premier League in 2007, leading to the long-running Carlos Tevez saga. United claimed compensation from West Ham United, who survived partly due to the goals of the Argentine striker, whose signing broke Premier League transfer rules. Preston, English soccer's first league champions in 1889, had been bidding to return to the top flight for the first time since 1961.