Basham header gives Blades the points
Town had chances at Bramall Lane with Martyn Waghorn hitting the bar from distance but the Blades took the points to go joint top of the Championship.
Chris Basham’s header early in the second-half proved the decisive moment after David McGoldrick had gone closest to breaking the deadlock before the break.
Waghorn struck the bar with a fierce right foot effort as Town threatened an immediate reply, with the former Sunderland frontman also going close with a low drive but Blues couldn’t find a way to goal.
Adam Webster came in for his first League start since January after recovering from an ankle ligament injury but a knee problem saw Joe Garner miss out for the first time in the Championship this season.
Webster was immediately in the action, clearing from Leon Clarke inside the Town box, then the defender was in the right place to avert the danger after Billy Sharp had found space 12 yards out.
At the other end, McGoldrick was thwarted after weaving his way into the United box, Waghorn unable to make anything from the loose ball.
The Blades had a flurry of corners in quick succession, Basham almost getting on the end of cross with a header, then Clarke crowded out.
Webster, again, was in the right place to clear from Enda Stevens’ cross, Jonas Knudsen doing the same from a probing ball from Mark Duffy as the Blades edged the opening exchanges.
Clarke couldn’t get his shot in after Sharp had set him up, McGoldrick then skimming a cross just in front of Grant Ward.
Waghorn’s fierce left footer was pushed behind by Jamal Blackman, Knudsen heading over from the resultant corner as Town began to carve out openings and McGoldrick was inches wide from close range.
Sheffield were forced into a change just past the half hour when Kieron Freeman was carried off on a stretcher, Jake Wright the replacement.
Bart Bialkowski did well to punch clear at full stretch from Duffy’s cross as Sharp lurked at the far post, Knudsen then doing superbly to divert Sharp’s cross back to his ‘keeper with Clarke looking certain to score.
McGoldrick was close to taking the ball off Blackman on the edge of the box as the Blades’ ‘keeper waited for possession in the final action of an even first-half.
United were ahead though four minutes into the second-half, Basham getting on the end of the influential John Fleck’s cross and leaving Bialkowski with no chance.
Town were so close to an immediate equaliser, McGoldrick initially forced away from danger when he looked to be in, Tristan Nydam fed Waghorn and he smashed a right foot curler against the bar.
Flynn Downes replaced Myles Kenlock just before the hour in Town’s first change, Clarke then levelling the woodwork count with a fierce volley against Blues’ bar.
McGoldrick showed a lovely weight of pass to release Waghorn, the signing from Rangers just wide of the far post with his shot, while at the other end Luke Chambers cancelled out the threat as Clarke looked to bustle in on goal.
Sharp made way for David Brooks in Sheffield’s second change midway through the half, the youngster brought down by Knudsen inside a minute of going on, the Danish international yellow carded.
Town made a double change for the last 20 minutes, Bersant Celina replacing McGoldrick and Freddie Sears on for Nydam. Celina heading over from a corner with his first touch.
Brooks was wide from the edge of the box, Clarke’s header from Duffy’s cross saved by Bialkowski as Sheffield edged to the three points.
Sheff Utd: Blackman, Stevens, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Lundstram, Clarke, Sharp (Brooks 68), Carter-Vickers, Freeman (Wright 32), Duffy (Lafferty 85). Subs not used: Moore, Donaldson, Hanson, Carruthers. Booked: Clarke, Carter-Vickers
Town: Bialkowski, Iorfa, Chambers, Webster, Knudsen, Kenlock (Downes 58), Skuse, Ward, Nydam (Sears 71), McGoldrick (Celina 71), Waghorn. Subs not used: Gerken, Smith, Spence, Connolly. Booked: Knudsen.