Sheff UtdSheffield United2Nottm ForestNottingham Forest0

Sheffield United 2-0 Nottingham Forest: Blades keep pressure on promotion rivals Leeds

By Michael BeardmoreBBC Sport
Yohan Benalouane fouls David McGoldrick.
Yohan Benalouane's dismissal for bringing down David McGoldrick proved to be the game's turning point

Sheffield United kept the pressure on promotion rivals Leeds with a vital victory over 10-man Nottingham Forest.

Mark Duffy's curling second-half finish put United ahead just four minutes after Forest defender Yohan Benalouane had been controversially sent off for bringing down David McGoldrick.

Full-back Enda Stevens sealed the points with a composed finish late on from McGoldrick's pass.

The victory moved Chris Wilder's side back into the top two and above Leeds on goal difference following their surprise home defeat by Wigan.

United had struggled to break Forest down until Tunisian centre-back Benalouane saw red for felling McGoldrick just outside the area as he advanced on goal.

While the Blades striker may have got his shot off, the presence of covering defenders meant referee Andy Madley's decision to dismiss Benalouane was a contentious one.

Duffy wasted little time in making the numerical advantage count by bending a fine finish past Forest keeper Costel Pantilimon, who produced a fine reaction stop from McGoldrick soon after.

A run of one win in their past four matches had seen United hand the initiative to Leeds in the race for second spot with the Blades letting leads slip in three of those games.

But Stevens eased any nerves with his second goal in three games, firing across Pantilimon, as the Blades coped without 23-goal top scorer Billy Sharp, absent with a hamstring injury.

A fourth successive defeat ended Forest's slim play-off hopes and they will be without Jack Colback for their remaining games after the midfielder's 15th booking of the season triggered a three-match ban.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder:

"It was never going to be easy. We had to work hard to get in front and it was a little bit easier when they went down to 10 men.

"It was a great first goal and the second one calmed everyone right down. I thought we saw the game out well.

"We've had a good run at it. It's a great effort from everyone and I don't think we're done yet. I'm looking at one game at a time and we've just got to keep going.

"Every game is tight and we've got something to play for."

Nottingham Forest boss Martin O'Neill:

"The big turning point was the sending-off. First and foremost, Benalouane says he didn't touch him. There is an angle that might even suggest that.

"Take that aside, I think (Molla) Wague is providing cover so it doesn't look as if he's the last man.

"The sending-off has changed the game and Sheffield United scored just a couple of minutes later and eased the anxiety around the stadium.

"It's important for us to stop the run of defeats. It's a tough old job but I think I came in with my eyes open."


Sheff Utd

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Henderson
  • 28CranieBooked at 45minsSubstituted forLundstramat 78'minutes
  • 19Stearman
  • 5O'Connell
  • 2BaldockBooked at 77mins
  • 16NorwoodBooked at 86mins
  • 4Fleck
  • 3Stevens
  • 21DuffySubstituted forDowellat 86'minutes
  • 14MadineSubstituted forHoganat 66'minutes
  • 17McGoldrick


  • 7Lundstram
  • 8Dowell
  • 11Hogan
  • 15Coutts
  • 18Freeman
  • 25Moore
  • 39Washington

Nottm Forest

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 25ByramBooked at 43mins
  • 29BenalouaneBooked at 47mins
  • 13Wagué
  • 6ColbackBooked at 18mins
  • 23Lolley
  • 22Yates
  • 24YacobSubstituted forAppiahat 75'minutes
  • 28Tuncará GomesSubstituted forMilosevicat 50'minutes
  • 14Cash
  • 9MurphySubstituted forGrabbanat 59'minutes


  • 7Grabban
  • 8Watson
  • 11Osborn
  • 15Steele
  • 17Milosevic
  • 37Ansarifard
  • 43Appiah
Andy Madley

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamNottm Forest
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sheffield United 2, Nottingham Forest 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, Nottingham Forest 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Sam Byram.

  4. Post update

    Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).

  5. Post update

    Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Alexander Milosevic.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield United. Kieran Dowell replaces Mark Duffy.

  8. Booking

    Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Sheffield United 2, Nottingham Forest 0. Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by David McGoldrick following a fast break.

  10. Post update

    Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).

  11. Post update

    Arvin Appiah (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by John Lundstram (Sheffield United).

  13. Post update

    Arvin Appiah (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).

  15. Post update

    Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield United. John Lundstram replaces Martin Cranie.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Matthew Cash (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left misses to the right. Assisted by Joe Lolley following a set piece situation.

  18. Booking

    George Baldock (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

  19. Post update

    Hand ball by George Baldock (Sheffield United).

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Byram.

As It Stood

2Sheff Utd432410971393282
4West Brom4322101184582676
5Aston Villa431915979582172
7Bristol City421812125647966
11Sheff Wed431515135457-360
13Nottm Forest431415145654257
View full Championship table

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