John Egan the hero for Sheffield United against Wolves

Ireland defender heads in a late winner, West Ham still in trouble after Burnley defeat

John Egan leaps to score Sheffield United’s late winner against Wolves. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/PA

John Egan leaps to score Sheffield United’s late winner against Wolves. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/PA

 

Sheffield United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

John Egan struck deep into injury time as Sheffield United defeated fellow European hopefuls Wolves 1-0 at a rain-sodden Bramall Lane.

It looked like the game would finish goalless but Egan headed home Oliver Norwood’s corner following a sustained period of Blades pressure to give Chris Wilder’s side a crucial victory.

The win moved the hosts above Arsenal into seventh place and just a point behind their opponents in the Premier League table, keeping their dreams of Europa League football next season alive and kicking.

Meanwhile, successive defeats for Wolves have likely ended their hopes of making the Champions League, although Nuno Espirio Santo’s side could still qualify for the competition should they win the Europa League next month.

Blades boss Wilder made two changes. The fit-again Jack O’Connell replaced Jack Robinson in defence while club captain Billy Sharp started up front as David McGoldrick missed out with a foot injury.

Wolves made one change after the home defeat to Arsenal with Diogo Jota coming in for Leander Dendoncker.

Both sides got their passing games going early on in what was a competitive opening, but equally the organisation of the two teams often meant that free-flowing football lacked a cutting edge around the penalty areas.

Sheffield United celebrate John Egan’s late winner against Wolves. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/PA
Sheffield United celebrate John Egan’s late winner against Wolves. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/PA

When Wolves worked their way through the Blades defence after 14 minutes, Raul Jimenez’s touch on his chest was heavy as he tried to control Adama Traore’s cross and what would have been a clear shot on goal eight yards out was lost.

Shortly afterwards, Oliver McBurnie got across the front of Conor Coady at the near post to meet O’Connell’s cross but his glancing header was straight at Rui Patricio.

O’Connell cynically halted Jota’s drive towards goal after half an hour and received a yellow card for the foul. Ruben Neves fired the resulting free-kick goalwards but his effort clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.

Wolves had a couple of let-offs either side of half time when Willy Boly’s pass-back to Patricio was pounced upon by Sharp but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Sharp was involved again early in the second half when he put the ball in the net, only to see his celebrations curtailed by an offside flag.

It was the beginning of a sustained period of pressure for the Blades but Wolves, marshalled at the back by Coady, largely kept the hosts at arm’s length until Jonny switched off 12 minutes from time but, thankfully for him, George Baldock’s header went wide.

Wolves endured a late barrage of pressure as the Blades went in search of a winning goal and their endeavour was rewarded in injury time when defender Egan, who scored a superb goal in the draw at Burnley at the weekend, rose highest to head home Norwood’s corner, sending Wilder leaping in joy down the touchline.

West Ham United 1 Burnley 0

West Ham missed the chance to climb further away from relegation trouble after Jay Rodriguez fired Burnley to a 1-0 Premier League victory.

Rodriguez’s first-half goal, a bullet header in off the underside of the crossbar, boosted Burnley’s hopes of a place in Europe next season.

The Hammers could not find a way through a resolute Clarets defence after the interval and remain four points clear of the bottom three.

Visitors Burnley should have taken the lead when Matej Vydra collected Charlie Taylor’s cross on the six-yard line and laid the ball off to Erik Pieters, but the Dutchman blazed over.

West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski can’t keep out Jay Rodriguez’s headed winner. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/PA
West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski can’t keep out Jay Rodriguez’s headed winner. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/PA

Vydra then met Ashley Westwood’s free-kick with a glancing header which flew straight into the arms of Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham began to look threatening, though, and Nick Pope had to block a volley from Tomas Soucek and keep out Michail Antonio’s angled drive with his feet.

So it was against the run of play when Burnley took the lead in the 39th minute, Rodriguez darting in front of Aaron Cresswell and meeting Taylor’s cross with a fine header for his 10th goal of the season.

The ball bounced down off the underside of the crossbar twice before finally spinning away from the flailing Fabianski and rolling over the line.

Antonio had the chance to equalise immediately but blasted his shot into the sidenetting before Pope saved from Andriy Yarmolenko low down at his near post.

James Tarkowski could count himself lucky to stay on the pitch early in the second half after planting his studs into the thigh of Jarrod Bowen.

It was a similarly ugly challenge to the one which saw Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah sent off 24 hours earlier, but referee Michael Oliver showed only a yellow card and the VAR chose not to intervene.

Hammers boss David Moyes sent on West Ham’s record signing Sebastien Haller, fit again after a hip injury which had kept him out since the restart.

Within seconds the French striker had a glorious opportunity to equalise, but showed his ring rust with a weak finish too close to Pope.

Burnley had the ball in the net again when Chris Wood slid in Phil Bardsley’s cross but he was flagged offside.

West Ham poured forward in search of an equaliser but Burnley held firm to stay on the fringes of the European places and keep the Hammers sweating for a little longer at least.

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