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Sheffield United crush champions Fulham to secure play-off place

Sheffield United’s Iliman Ndiaye celebrates (Danny Lawson/PA)
Sheffield United’s Iliman Ndiaye celebrates (Danny Lawson/PA)

Sheffield United secured a play-off spot after sweeping aside champions Fulham 4-0.

Knowing a win would guarantee the extension of their season, the Blades were 3-0 up after 25 minutes following goals from Morgan Gibbs-White, Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge.

Enda Stevens rounded off the scoring early in the second half, with Nottingham Forest next up in the play-offs for Paul Heckingbottom’s men.

The hosts formed a guard of honour as the Fulham players came out of the tunnel before kick-off, the champions looking for a 28th win of the season, and Bobby Decordova-Reid had an early shot blocked before United took the lead.

The goal came in the 10th minute when Ben Osborn played the ball back to Oli Norwood, whose cross was met by a near-post header from Gibbs-White with the ball going in off Paulo Gazzaniga’s left-hand post.

Gibbs-White threatened again soon afterwards with a shot which hit the side netting, while at the other end, Kenny Tete tried a rising shot from distance which cleared the bar.

The home side continued to press with Ndiaye having a shot deflected wide and Jack Robinson putting a glancing header over from the resulting corner.

United increased their lead when Berge took advantage of a Jean Michael Seri slip and found Gibbs-White in the area and he squared to Ndiaye (21) who fired past Gazzaniga from around 12 yards out.

It was 3-0 four minutes later when Gibbs-White headed the ball on to Ndiaye whose low cross was swept in by Berge at the near post.

Fulham boss Marco Silva made a change after half-an-hour with Josh Onomah taking over from Nathaniel Chalobah.

Onomah was soon involved in the action, firing a shot from the edge of the area straight at Wes Foderingham.

The visitors threatened again when Neeskens Kebano sliced an angled shot wide and then Fabio Carvalho saw his effort saved by Foderingham with his legs.

Stevens added a fourth goal four minutes after the restart when Berge found him unmarked inside the area following a flowing move and he applied the finish.

The hosts eased off the pressure after the fourth goal went in; Gibbs-White put an effort over while John Egan saw his goal-bound header blocked.

Fulham were restricted to a low shot from Kebano which was deflected wide and a header from Rodrigo Muniz which was saved by Foderingham down low to his right.

It was an impressive performance from United which will boost their confidence going into the play-offs, with Forest eventually confirmed as their opponents after late drama in their game at Hull.

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