Bamford’s header earns Leeds the win at Sheffield
Patrick Bamford’s late header earned Leeds United a hard-fought victory over Sheffield United, who are still searching for their first points of the season.
After both goalkeepers excelled, it looked as though a first Premier League derby between the two Yorkshire sides in 26 years was heading for a goalless draw.
But with two minutes remaining, Bamford rose at the back post to meet Jack Harrison’s cross and head in his third goal of the season to send Leeds’ players and staff wild.
It was just reward for a second half in which Leeds continued to ask questions of home keeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Sheffield United, who have never previously failed to score in their opening three league fixtures, will regret John Lundstram’s first-half shot being superbly saved by Illan Meslier.
But a second win of the season for Leeds, and a clean sheet, having conceded seven goals in their opening two games, will be relished by their fans – especially against one of their fiercest rivals.
The fact they pushed the champions close in a 4-3 loss at Anfield and held out to beat Fulham by the same scoreline suggests they will win many new fans this campaign.
But against Sheffield United they showed they could grind out a victory and were thankful to Frenchman Meslier, who excelled in goal.
In thwarting Lundstram from eight yards, he pulled off one of the saves of the season so far. He also denied George Baldock with another superb effort.
Led superbly by midfielder Kalvin Phillips – a timely performance, with England manager Gareth Southgate watching – Marcelo Bielsa’s side created plenty of chances themselves in an open game.
But they could not find their way past Ramsdale, who denied Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas’ toe-poke in the first half before other efforts from Helder Costa and Bamford after the break.
When Dallas finally rounded Ramsdale from Ayling’s long through-ball, Chris Basham cleared his tame effort off the line.
But Leeds finally found a way through in the 88th minute as Bamford nodded in a downward header to clinch three points.