Hull City 0-2 Sheffield United: Oli McBurnie and Sander Berge take the Blades to the top of the championship

Hull City 0-2 Sheffield United: Oli McBurnie and Sander Berge score to propel the Blades to the top of the Championship table

  • Scotland striker Oli McBurnie put the visitors Blades ahead after 20 minutes
  • Sander Berge’s goal secured the win 15 minutes from time at the KC Stadium
  • The result puts Sheffield United top of the table with 17 points from eight games
  • The game was interrupted by an intruder on the pitch and a flare in the stands

Barely a goalkeeper for two years, Oli McBurnie can’t stop scoring them as Sheffield United returned to the pinnacle of the Championship in style.

The Scottish striker struck in the 20th minute before Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge sealed victory in the last quarter, cementing the Blades’ growing status as promotion favorites.

Victory away from a tense Yorkshire derby against rising Hull City side showed once again that Paul Heckingbottom’s side can take a beating this season.

The scars of last season’s play-off semi-final defeat by Nottingham Forest are healing and McBurnie is proving to be a key figure in their bid to reach the Premier League.

Oli McBurnie scored the opening goal for Sheffield United on their outing at Hull's KC Stadium

Oli McBurnie scored the opening goal for Sheffield United on their outing at Hull’s KC Stadium

After a difficult two years plagued by injury, illness and poor form, during which he only scored twice, he finally shows why the Blades paid Swansea £20million for him three summers ago.

Match Statistics

Hull City (3-4-1-2): Ingram, Jones (McLoughlin 77), Figueiredo, Greaves, Coyle, Woods (Seri 69), Slater, Elder (Smith 69), Tufan (Pelkas 77), Tetteh (Longman 14), Estupiñán

Substitutes not used: Baxter, Christie

Manager: Shota Arveladze

Booked: Figueiredo 90+8

Sheffield United (3-5-2): Foderingham, Ahmedhodzic, Egan, Norrington-Davies, Baldock, Berge (McAtee 87), Norwood, Doyle (Arblaster 87), Lowe (Basham 29), McBurnie (Brewster 69), Ndiaye

Substitutes not used: Khadra, Gordon, Amissah

Manager: Paul Heckingbottom

Scorer: McBurnie 20, Berge 75

Booked: Ahmedhodzic 58, Brewster 90+8

Referee: Matt Donohue

McBurnie collected a short pass from Max Lowe down the left channel, advancing to the edge of Hull’s box and hitting a powerful, if fairly hopeful, right foot shot.

McBurnie’s imagining his chances was a testament to the confidence running through his veins right now.

Tigers goaltender Matt Ingram should have saved him, but he bounced the ball under him, much to the delight of McBurnie and the traveling hordes.

It was McBurnie’s third goal in as many games and sent Heckingbottom’s team headed back to where they hope to finish the season – at the top of the pile.

With 15 minutes left, Berge got too much space in the host’s 18-yard box and he drove a deflected shot past Ingram.

Heckingbottom has fought hard to keep Berge on deadline day amid interest from Club Brugge and several Premier League clubs.

Keeping him might be United’s best deal this summer and for much of this competition he’s looked a notch above the never-ending industry that typifies the Championship.

“We’re Sheffield United, we’re the best in the league,” was the chant from the noisy away game in front of 20,426 spectators.

United have not lost since an opening-day defeat at Watford and this latest success – after four straight home wins – marked their first win on the road this season.

Oli McBurnie's goal was his third in as many games the Blades have beaten Hull's challenge

Oli McBurnie’s goal was his third in as many games the Blades have beaten Hull’s challenge

Hull, enjoying a steady revival under new ownership, had won their last three games at MKM Stadium.

Shota Arveladze has been proving to be a popular figure with Tigers supporters since being appointed on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January.

After a disappointing end to last season when Hull’s priority was avoiding relegation to League One, the start of the current season has raised hopes of a play-off push.

Crowds turned out to give the Tigers their biggest league attendance since Tottenham visited the Premier League in May 2017.

The points were sealed when Sander Berge scored the win with 15 minutes to go

The points were sealed when Sander Berge scored the win with 15 minutes to go

Hull has changed a lot since then, when Turkish businessman and TV star Acun Ilicali took over the unpopular Allam family in January.

Despite their sparkling start to the season, United always seemed able to switch gears when the opportunities arose, with Berge in the middle of the park dominating the proceedings.

The Blades had issued a warning to their hosts when George Baldock’s superb cross volleyed over the Hull goal from the right.

Moments later, however, they led as McBurnie tried his luck and was suitably rewarded.

Hull settled down and it took a brilliant double save from Wes Foderingham to thwart Hull’s Oscar Estupinan, who shot clean after a counterattack.

United lost Lowe to injury and he was replaced by Chris Basham but Hull lacked a clinical touch in front of goal and continued to spurn the few chances they had.

Victory was assured for United as Iliman Ndiaye deftly created the space to find the advancing mountains in the box and deflected a powerful right foot that ricocheted past Ingram and into the net.

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Maureen Mackey

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