Sheffield United recorded a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Burton Albion in a game that wasn’t as comfortable for the hosts as the scoreline suggested.
Enda Stevens made the breakthrough for the Blades in the first half before substitute David Brooks struck to secure three points in the second half.
The win takes Sheffield into 7th place, two points behind Middlesborough and within touching distance of the play-off spots.
The game began with an early injury blow for Burton after Allen was forced off inside the first ten minutes following a heavy challenge from Lee Evans.
The Blades dominated much of the early possession, however it was the visitors who carved out the first chance of the game with Dyer being denied at the near post by Jamal Blackman.
The home side’s dominance was rewarded just before the half-hour mark when wing backs George Baldock and Enda Stevens combined well to break the deadlock.
A low right-sided cross from Baldock found Stevens arriving from the opposite flank and the Irishman dispatched first-time past Bywater to give the Blades the lead.
Burton looked to strike back immediately, and some quick passing and movement culminated in a clever back-heeled effort from Akpan, but it was deflected just inches wide of the post.
Blackman found himself called into action again right before the break, acrobatically denying a fierce Dyer effort to preserve his teams lead going into half time.
The Blades began the second half strongly with Billy Sharp sliding in to poke a Wilson cross just wide while Duffy was denied by the legs of Bywater within the opening minutes of the restart.
Substitute David Brooks eventually managed to double the Blades advantage in the 64th minute, converting just minutes after coming off the bench.
A nice interchange of passes between Sharp and Duffy saw the 20-year-old put through on goal and he made no mistake, slotting cooly past the oncoming Burton keeper to put United two up.
Despite the hosts pushing to extend their lead with Duffy clipping the crossbar with a thundering long-range drive and Fleck forcing a superb save from a curling free kick, the scoreline remained 2-0.
United boss, Chris Wilder, said: “It was a tough game. It was important that we got the first goal, but they were always in the game. We struggled to break them down and find the killer pass.
“Credit to the opposition because they were stubborn.”
Burton manager, Nigel Clough, said: “We played well, created chances and missed chances. We gave a poor goal away.
“In the key moments, in both penalty areas, they were better than us.
“That was the difference between the two teams.”