Sheffield United 1 Stevenage 0: Blades bounce back to stay in contention

Jamie Murphy tries to burst past Luke Jones.
Jamie Murphy tries to burst past Luke Jones.
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Sheffield United showed there was no hangover from their FA Cup semi-final heartache as they brushed aside relegation-threatened Stevenage at Bramall Lane last night.

And the victory – courtesy of John Mousinho’s own goal in the 10th minute – keeps alive United’s hopes of gatecrashing the League One play-offs.

The Blades, who were second bottom at the beginning of February, are now eight points adrift of sixth-placed Peterborough United following the Posh’s defeat to Bradford City last night.

United have a game in hand on Peterborough who only have three fixtures remaining.

Jose Baxter, one of three United goalscorers at Wembley, came close to giving the hosts a seventh-minute lead but Chris Day brilliantly pushed his low 25-yard drive to safety.

But moments later, Mousinho’s miscalculation gave United an advantage they were to never surrender, the defender diverting Jamie Murphy’s cross into his own net.

Just after the half hour mark, Luke Freeman almost grabbed an equaliser against the run of play but he got his feet in a tangle and failed to divert Zoko’s shot in.

United had a strong penalty appeal rejected when Luke Jones appeared to shove the lively Murphy to the ground just inside the area but referee Mark Brown was unmoved.

Stevenage wasted a glorious chance to level after a sloppy back pass by John Brayford gave Freeman a sight a goal but Mark Howard was alert before Freeman blazed over late on.

Sheffield United: Howard; Brayford, Maguire, Collins, Harris; Doyle, Coady; Flynn, Scougall, Murphy; Baxter. Substitutes: Hill, Porter, Paynter, Davies, Long, Freeman, Kennedy.

Stevenage: Day; Obeng, Ashton, Mousinho, Hartley, Freeman, Smith, Heslop, Henderson, Akins, Zoko. Substitutes: Wedgbury, Jones, Burrow, Gordon, Doughty, N’Guessan, Goodliffe.

Referee: M Brown (East Yorkshire).