Res­cue act un­der­lines striker’s value to the Blades

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - AT BRA­MALL LANE Email: richard.her­ Twit­ter: @RHer­cock­YPS­port

CHRIS BASHAM has hailed the im­pact of vet­eran striker David McGoldrick on pro­mo­tion hope­fuls Sh­effield United.

The 30-year-old only bagged a 12-month con­tract at Bra­mall Lane after im­press­ing man­ager Chris Wilder dur­ing a sum­mer trial.

Just one goal in eight ap­pear­ance in the Cham­pi­onship be­fore Satur­day’s visit of Pre­ston North End hardly vindicated that de­ci­sion.

McGoldrick’s only goal had come in Au­gust’s 2-1 win at QPR, but look be­yond the scor­ing sta­tis­tics and the im­pres­sion that he has made on the Blades has been sig­nif­i­cant in their march up the Cham­pi­onship to sit fourth this morn­ing.

The Repub­lic of Ire­land in­ter­na­tional’s all-round game and work ethic has en­deared him to Blades sup­port­ers and his con­tri­bu­tion to the cause was clearly ev­i­dent on Satur­day.

He cre­ated Billy Sharp’s firsthalf goal be­fore win­ning the free­kick that led to Basham scor­ing the sec­ond.

Even after Pre­ston ral­lied to make it 2-2 late in the game it was McGoldrick – who had dragged a good chance wide at 2-0 – who re­mained com­posed to bag the 87th-minute win­ner.

“David has been out­stand­ing since he came into the foot­ball club and showed his qual­ity at the end, the com­po­sure to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Basham.

“It was then just a case of hang­ing on. We went 2-0 up and he (McGoldrick) had a chance to put us 3-0 up, but he snapped at it a lit­tle bit and it went wide. But he has got that qual­ity and it was a great goal for him.

“The fans love what he does, what he brings to this foot­ball club, and he has been like a breath of fresh air since he came here.

“Hope­fully he can get a roll on now.

“He brings ex­pe­ri­ence. He was linked with moves for £9m or £10m (ear­lier in his ca­reer), so you know he has that qual­ity. He’s also good in the dress­ing room, has a voice.”

It was Basham’s left-wing cross that cre­ated an early chance for McGoldrick – who started out at Notts County, but has had a long list of clubs in­clud­ing Southamp­ton, Not­ting­ham For­est and Ip­swich Town – but his header was cleared off the line.

The striker, who had a loan spell with city neigh­bours Sh­effield Wed­nes­day in 2011, then turned provider on 36 min­utes.

He raced clear down the right flank be­fore draw­ing Chris Maxwell out of his goal and tee­ing up Sharp to fire home into an un­guarded net.

McGoldrick played a part in United’s sec­ond goal six min­utes after the restart.

He won a foul off Paul Hunt­ing­ton and Ol­lie Nor­wood’s free-kick was glanced in­side Maxwell’s far post by Basham’s head.

It was a spe­cial mo­ment for the Blades de­fender, who ded­i­cated the goal to his son Luke, who was cel­e­brat­ing his fourth birth­day.

“We worked on a few things,” said Basham.

“It was on a plate for me and it flew into the top cor­ner.

“It was my lit­tle boy’s birth­day, so it it was nice to get him a goal.

“His name’s Luke, and I said, ‘I will try and notch a goal for you to­day son’, so that was nice. I ded­i­cated that one to him.”

At 2-0 the match seemed over as a con­test.

Maybe it was that feel­ing in­side Bra­mall Lane that seeped into the play­ers as Pre­ston grabbed two goals in­side three min­utes to stun the ma­jor­ity of the 23,857 crowd.

First Dar­nell Fisher’s cross was turned in by Cal­lum Robin­son in the 80th minute.

Three min­utes later United’s ad­van­tage was wiped out.

Sub­sti­tute Daniel John­son’s de­flected shot – from a low cross from the left from An­drew Hughes – wrong­footed Dean Hen­der­son, who had ear­lier saved from Tom Clarke’s header, in the Blades goal.

But most teams man­aged by Wilder over the years pos­sess a never-say-die at­ti­tude and this cur­rent Blades side are no dif­fer­ent.

A ram­pag­ing run down the left by Enda Stevens caused panic in Pre­ston’s de­fence and he picked out McGoldrick, who rammed in the win­ner in front of a re­lieved Kop.“At 2-0 you feel com­fort­able in the game, but Pre­ston are a Cham­pi­onship side,” said Basham.

“They were al­ways go­ing to cre­ate some­thing in the game.

“We con­ceded two, but we showed char­ac­ter and spirit to win the game, and got an­other three points to leave us fourth (in the ta­ble).”

He con­tin­ued: “We are still learn­ing as we go along as a team. The play­ers and staff are learn­ing.

“We feel a bit de­flated, but we have won the game.

“I would rather have this re­sult than the Bris­tol City re­sult (a 1-0 de­feat).

“Pre­ston are fight­ing for their lives. I know it’s only eight games in, but they are try­ing to find a win from some­where.

“They could have got that in the end, but we are buzzing to have come off the pitch hav­ing won the game.”

Sh­effield United: Hen­der­son, Stevens, Fleck, O’Con­nell, Basham, Sharp (John­son 74), Egan, Nor­wood, McGoldrick (Stear­man 90), Free­man, Duffy (Clarke 85). Un­used

sub­sti­tutes: Lund­stram, Wood­burn, Moore, Wash­ing­ton.

Pre­ston North End: Maxwell, Fisher, Clarke, Davies, Robin­son, Browne, Gal­lagher (John­son 62), Hughes, Led­son (Har­rop 90), Hunt­ing­ton, Barkhuizen (Moult 71). Un­used sub­sti­tutes: Rudd, Earl, Burke, Barker.

Ref­eree: S Dun­can (Tyne & Wear).

WIN­NER:Sh­effield United striker David McGoldrick pic­tured after scor­ing the de­ci­sive goal against Pre­ston North End on Satur­day. In­set, Chris Basham cel­e­brates after head­ing home Ol­lie Nor­wood’s free-kick to make it 2-0 to the hosts at Bra­mall Lane. PIC­TURES: SI­MON BELLIS/SPORTIMAGE

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