Sheffield United won for only the third time in eight games as they beat Queens Park Rangers to climb back into the Championship play-off zone.
Ollie Norwood scored the only goal on nine minutes to hand QPR their sixth defeat in seven league games – and a fourth in a row.
John Fleck’s corner was dummied, allowing midfielder Norwood to find the bottom-right corner from 18 yards – his first goal in over two years. He last scored in a 2-0 FA Cup win at Millwall in January 2020.
The hosts, who are now unbeaten in 11 home league games, of which they have won eight, could have sealed victory by a wider margin.
Star turn Morgan Gibbs-White floated a clever right-foot chip just over and whistled a low right-foot shot just wide after being sent clear by John Fleck.
But QPR wasted a good late chance when Elias Chair powered a free-kick that was blocked by the wall – and Lyndon Dykes headed wide in the fifth minute of added time.
Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades now lie fifth, the third best placed in the scrum of six clubs separated only by five points.
Mark Warburton’s Hoops have dropped to ninth, now three points shy of a play-off place.
Both clubs have six games left, including the return fixture when QPR host the Blades on the penultimate Saturday of the season.
But before then, this Saturday, the Blades host second-placed Bournemouth at lunch-time, followed by QPR’s trip to Preston.
Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom told BBC Radio Sheffield:
“The goal was from a set-piece routine that we’ve used before and it was great to get a goal from it.
“We’d done our due diligence on it. Ollie Norwood and John Fleck changed their routines a bit as we knew they’d have their home work on us.
“Ollie was good. Every player has different attributes and he has some exceptional ones. He restarted possession, won a lot of second balls and got the winner too.
“But when there’s only one goal in it, you never feel comfortable and we knew we’d have to stand strong at some point.”
QPR boss Mark Warburton told BBC Radio London:
“We never tested their keeper in the way we wanted. And we conceded an awful set-piece goal.
“The second half was much better but we lacked that bit of guile you need to open them up.
“They’re well organised with a formidable home record and we’ve still got to play these boys again.
“But there’s still 18 points on the table. Everyone will drop points and take points off each other. We have to stick together and prepare for Preston on Saturday.”
- 25UremovicBooked at 51minsSubstituted forRobinsonat 63′minutes
- 8mountainsSubstituted forOsbornat 83′minutes
- 4FleckBooked at 87mins
- 9McBurnieSubstituted forJebbisonat 73′minutes
- 4DickieBooked at 12mins
- 27HendrickBooked at 58minsSubstituted forDozzellat 68′minutes
- 15FieldBooked at 80mins
- 3WallaceSubstituted forMcCallumat 72′minutes
- 19GraySubstituted forThomasat 68′minutes
- Darren Bond
Match ends, Sheffield United 1, Queens Park Rangers 0.
Second Half ends, Sheffield United 1, Queens Park Rangers 0.
Foul by Sam Field (Queens Park Rangers).
Wes Foderingham (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Robert Dickie (Queens Park Rangers) header from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by Ilias Chair with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Jack Robinson.
Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by George Baldock.
Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ben Osborn (Sheffield United).
Attempt missed. Morgan Gibbs-White (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by John Fleck following a fast break.
Attempt saved. Morgan Gibbs-White (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Osborn.
John Fleck (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jimmy Dunne (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by John Fleck (Sheffield United).
Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers).
John Egan (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Ben Osborn replaces Sander Berge.
Attempt blocked. Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).