Match ends, Sheffield United 2, Ipswich Town 0.
Sheffield United 2-0 Ipswich Town: Blades on brink of Premier League return
Sheffield United effectively sealed promotion to the Premier League by beating relegated Ipswich at Bramall Lane.
Goals from Scott Hogan and Jack O'Connell put the Blades six points clear of third-placed Leeds, who host Aston Villa on Sunday (12:00 BST) and must beat in-form Villa at Elland Road to keep their extremely slim automatic promotion hopes alive.
Even if they do so, Chris Wilder's side have a vastly superior goal difference compared to their Yorkshire rivals and would only finish outside the top two if:
- Leeds win their final game of the season away at Ipswich.
- Sheffield United lose their last match away at Stoke.
- Leeds overturn a goal difference which is 13 in Sheffield United's favour after Saturday's result.
On such a big occasion, there were few signs of nerves on show from the home side, who are on the brink of ending a 12-year exile from England's top division.
Strike pair David McGoldrick and Hogan wasted early chances before Hogan, on loan from Villa, turned in O'Connell's low cross at the near post.
Visiting goalkeeper Dean Gerken pushed Oliver Norwood's second-half free-kick against the upright, but centre-back O'Connell made the game safe with a towering close-range header from John Fleck's corner.
Bottom club Ipswich, who have only won four of their 45 Championship matches this season, did well to weather long spells of Blades pressure without conceding again, but showed little attacking threat.
Should Sheffield United be promoted as expected, Wilder will have taken teams up from England's fifth, fourth, third and second tiers during his managerial career.
Several members of the squad that won the League One title in 2016-17 remain at Bramall Lane and have been backed up by astute additions such as Norwood, who could win promotion from the Championship for the third successive season with a third different club.
The Northern Ireland international midfielder helped Brighton reach the Premier League in 2017 and then did so with Fulham a year later via the play-offs.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder:
"I'll let you guys talk about where you think we're going to be next year.
"We still have a game to play but we're going to try to win the Championship. That's how our mindset is. Who says we can't?
"We've taken an unbelievably massive stride today but the game's not done yet. It's got to be an unbelievable swing between now and next Sunday.
"Hopefully we've done it, which is an incredible feeling for everybody connected with the club."
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert:
"Congratulations to Sheffield United. They're nearly, nearly there. They're a very good side. I think they're the best team we've played.
"What I did say to the lads is 'remember that atmosphere because we could have that next year'.
"We never capitulated, which was good. All credit to the team, they kept going. I can't fault the players for their effort because we stayed in the game as long as we could.
"It was always going to be tough and it was a difficult game for us. They've beaten a lot better teams than us here so it's no disgrace."
- 21DuffySubstituted forLundstramat 85'minutes
- 11HoganSubstituted forSharpat 63'minutes
- 17McGoldrickSubstituted forMadineat 78'minutes
- 9JacksonSubstituted forDozzellat 68'minutes
- 31JudgeBooked at 45mins
- 14KeaneSubstituted forChalobahat 8'minutes
- 42El Mizouni
- Tim Robinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, Ipswich Town 0.
Foul by Luke Chambers (Ipswich Town).
Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Ipswich Town. Conceded by Dean Henderson.
Attempt saved. Alan Judge (Ipswich Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Andre Dozzell.
James Bree (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).
Aristote Nsiala (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).
Substitution, Sheffield United. John Lundstram replaces Mark Duffy.
Foul by Cole Skuse (Ipswich Town).
Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Teddy Bishop (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United).
Trevoh Chalobah (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Gary Madine (Sheffield United).
Substitution, Sheffield United. Gary Madine replaces David McGoldrick.
Flynn Downes (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).