Sheffield United 0 Leeds United 1: Whites hit top spot after historic Bramall Lane victory

Leeds United left Bramall Lane victorious for the first time in 26 years on Saturday afternoon as an 82nd minute Pablo Hernandez goal handed Marcelo Bielsa's men a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United.

Saturday, 1st December 2018, 1:41 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st December 2018, 1:45 pm
Sheffield United 0 Leeds United 1.

The Argentine made one change to his starting line-up for the trip to south Yorkshire as defender Pontus Jansson returned from a foot injury in place of Lewis Baker as United set out in a 3-3-1-3 formation.

Leeds were hunting for three points at a ground in which they had failed to win since 1992 when Howard Wilkinson's team famously earned a victory that would eventually see them crowed Division One champions.

It was the ninth visit in all competitions since that day and like the previous eight games the hosts started the game on top as they dominated early proceedings.

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John Fleck produced an inviting corner into the box which was met by Chris Basham but his header was cleared away by the retreating Barry Douglas.

David McGoldrick then drove into the United half untouched and forced a good save from Bailey Peacock-Farrell from 25-yards as the goalkeeper flung himself down low to his right to keep the Blades at bay.

The striker was lucky not to see red following a tackle on Mateusz Klich as both sides grew frustrated with referee Oliver Langford for a number of decisions.

Bielsa was forced into an early substitution as skipper Liam Cooper fell to ground off the ball and was unable to continue with Aapo Halme stepping off the bench for only his second appearance of his Whites career.

The defender almost made an immediate impact as a Douglas free-kick fell to the 20-year-old inside the box and he prodded an effort towards goal but Dean Henderson produced a magnificent reaction save following a deflection.

McGoldrick then had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring as the ball fell to the striker inside the six-yard box before Billy Sharp put a header over from underneath the crossbar on the stroke of half-time.

United made a change at the break in the hope of adding some vigour to their play as Jack Clarke replaced Gjanni Alioski on the left and the 18-year-old fired a low effort on goal to announce himself into the game which was saved well by Henderson.

Klich forced the Blades stopper into another save after some brilliant footwork in the box as he fended off three defenders before shooting low.

It was the hosts again though who should've opened the scoring as Halme mishit a clearance which fell to Sharp who saw a shot blocked by Jansson before McGoldrick forced Peacock-Farrell into action.

Stevens went close with a shot from outside the box that had the Leeds goalkeeper scrambling but the effort flew inches over the bar from just outside the area.

Bielsa's men responded as Dallas picked out Kemar Roofe inside the penalty area with the game becoming a nervy affair but his header fell agonisingly wide of the post with the away end behind the goal ready to celebrate.

With the game growing tense the home side pressed on and it was a mistake that finally broke the deadlock between the two sides.

A loose ball back to goalkeeper Henderson left the stopper attempting to keep the ball in play but his pass was intercepted by Clarke who calmly picked out Pablo Hernandez in the middle of the area to prod home into an empty net and send the Whites fans into wild celebration.

Chris Wilder's men responded to the 82nd minute goal as second half substitute Conor Washington smashed the crossbar with an overhead kick but it was as close as the hosts would come.

Hernandez' late goal was enough to give the Whites all three points and lift the Elland Road club to the summit of the Championship ahead of the afternoon's fixtures.

Attendance: 25,794 (Away: 2,243)