Burnley now have that all important 4 point gap between themselves and 7th place and could mathematically secure their playoff dream on Saturday with 3 points against Southampton, a win that will also relegate their south coast opponents.
All this thanks to a massive win after a passionate night at Turf Moor infront of the Sky Cameras.
Sheffield United came into this game unbeaten away in seven months, and had won 5 on the bounce before last weekend when they came up against a scrapping Nottingham Forest. Burnley however were coming into this game on the back of a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Cardiff, and since then the rest of the playoff chasing pack had continued their momentum and gained two wins out of two, thus closing the seven point gap to just one.
So Burnley and their fans would have been forgiven for being a little cagey, but that certainly wasnt the feeling down at Turf Moor yesterday evening. The atmosphere was electric and both sets of fans roared their teams out of the tunnel, and the volume still refused to drop as the game kicked off.
The football on the pitch was similar to the atmosphere, neither set of players intended to start slowly as both teams tried to press for the early goal which would certainly help the nerves. Sheffield United pressed forward and had a couple of corners early on, however both of them were comfortably taken by the giant Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen.
Burnley then serged forward after a quick throw out by Jensen released Eagles who then released Wade Elliot. Elliot then ran forward with intense pace and eased past 3 Sheffield United defenders who were left for dead, Elliot then opened himself up and unleashed a wipping shot which clipped the outside of Paddy Kennys post, and went wide.
The game refused to slo down and the Clarets had afew shaky moments at the back. The first was after a rare poor Carlisle left a ball looping up in the air towards the Burnley goal, Jensen was unable to catch the ball and he was forced to tip the ball over the bar.
Soon after Sheffield United had another chance. A free kick from Greg Halford was hit past the Burnley wall, but Jensen was there again to block the shot, but unfortunately he spilled the ball, and was forced to play it behind for yet another Sheffield United corner.
But then the deadlock was broken when Burnley were awarded a throw in parralell to the United penalty area. Robbie Blake spotted an marked Chris Eagles who was aware and quickly played the ball to Rhys Williams. Williams saw Paterson make a darting diagnal run, Williams then wipped in a fantastic cross which was met by the head of Paterson who guided his header into the far side of the net past a sprawling Paddy Kenny and ended his 3 month goal drought.
Sheffield United could count themselves very lucky to have 11 men on the field, after a cowardly stamp by Halford on Robbie Blake went unnoticed by the referee. Just the kind of thug tactics we have all become used to seeing when Sheffield United are in town.
Sheffied United went close again soon, but were denied an equaliser thanks to a fantastic header from Burnley skipper Steven Caldwell. A corner was sent deep towards Henderson, who showed fantastic technique to dispatch his left foot volley which look destined for the net, only for heroic defending to denie him a wonderful goal.
It certainly was an action packed first half, and if the second certainly didn’t dissapoint.
The Blades came out th strongest in the second half and put the Burnley defence under alot of pressure, but the Burney defence remained strong as Clarke Carlisle headed over his own bar to prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity for United.
Sheffield United pummeled the Burnley box with long balls from all angles. It created few chances as the Burnley defence held strong. However on one occasio Burnley failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Henderson, who failed to show any composure whatsoever and blazed the ball well over the crossbar to the dispare of the travelling fans.
Burnley showed no signs of sitting back on the 1-0 lead, and the created more chances in the hop of increasing. Eagles and McCann interacted well with each other, and this realeased McCann who ran forward. He then found Blake who found room to shoot between two United defenders, but once again the shot was straight dow the throught of Paddy Kenny.
The Clarets held strong though and sealed a fantastic win, a win that gives them an almost fool-proof chance of being in those playoff places come the end of the season.
Burnley 1-0 Sheffield United