MX23RW : Wednesday, February 27 17:03:55
Feb 23, 2019 at 5.30pm UK at ​The Hawthorns (West Bromwich)
Attendance: 24,928
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
0-1
Sheff UtdSheffield United
FT(HT: 0-1)
Dowell (14')

Result: Dowell's maiden Sheffield United strike sinks Albion

Result: Dowell's maiden Sheffield United strike sinks Albion
© Reuters
West Brom suffer their first defeat in five Championship matches.

Kieran Dowell's first goal for Sheffield United earned Chris Wilder's side a crucial 1-0 Sky Bet Championship win against promotion rivals West Brom at The Hawthorns.

On-loan Everton midfielder Dowell, who moved to Bramall Lane  in early January,  struck after 14 minutes to move United into second place on goal difference ahead of Leeds – who have a game in hand – and two points behind leaders Norwich.

Albion had been chasing a fourth win in five games to strengthen their own bid to reach the Premier League, but the defeat means they are four points adrift of the automatic promotion places and a Blades side that has now won three in a row without conceding a goal and are unbeaten in their last six.

Albion had been boosted by the return of 16-goal striker Dwight Gayle following the completion of a two-match ban but even with the on-loan Newcastle marksman back in the side they failed to find a way through a well-drilled United defence.

Albion did have the ball in the net six minutes from time but it was rightly ruled out by referee Oliver Langford as it flew in off the hand of Jay Rodriguez when  he tried to head home Mason Holgate's cross.

Rodriguez was quickly into the action at the start of the game as within the first five minutes he fired a shot over from 20 yards before seeing a header flash over the bar.

It proved to be a false dawn for Albion as United made their first real chance pay.

When Kieron Freeman surged down the right-wing his ball through to Martin Cranie looked set to roll behind for a goal kick.

Cranie, however, managed to wrap his foot around the ball and hook a cross into the centre of the area where Dowell powered home a header that flew beyond goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

While Johnstone was powerless to stop Dowell, he did prevent Albion falling further behind five minutes later with a stunning one-handed save to turn away a 20-yard drive from Marvin Johnson.

The home side then enjoyed a flurry as they went in search of an equaliser, with Holgate's curling shot dropping wide in the 24th minute before United goalkeeper Dean Henderson held on to a header from Craig Dawson.

With  United proving hard to break down, it took Albion 20 minutes into the second-half to test them again.

Jake Livermore floated a ball to the far post that was met by Gayle on the volley, only for United full-back Enda Stevens to bravely block.

Albion then dominated in terms of possession but United showed they could still carry a threat when they ventured forward.

Skipper Billy Sharp was narrowly off target with a glancing header in the 77th minute before Gary Madine fired straight at Johnstone 10 minutes from time.

Henderson then denied Albion an injury-time equaliser with a save from Jefferson Montero.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27206159154466
2Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs27200755272860
4Arsenal27165655371853
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27157552351752
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Watford2711793935440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves28117103535040
9Everton28106123939036
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham27106113540-536
11Leicester CityLeicester28105133439-535
12Bournemouth27104133848-1034
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2887132634-831
14Crystal Palace2786133135-430
15Burnley2886143150-1930
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2776142941-1227
17Cardiff CityCardiff2874172555-3025
18Southampton2759132846-1824
19Fulham2745182661-3517
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2835201550-3514

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