Sheffield United hard work pays off in QPR win as midfielder enjoys rare strike

Ollie Norwood was delighted to score his first Sheffield United goal in over two years to seal a 1-0 victory over QPR on Tuesday – and may have now forgotten Bramall Lane’s groundsman for costing him one earlier in the season!

Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:06 pm

Norwood finished off a well-worked set-piece involving John Fleck and George Baldock to give the Blades an early lead against QPR, as they saw out the 1-0 win to move back into the Championship play-offs.

It was Norwood’s first goal since January 2020, although he could have had one earlier this season when faced with an open net against Swansea City – only for the ball to take a bad bobble and cause his shot to go over the bar.

Luckily United were 4-0 up at the time, and Norwood smiled after his QPR strike: “I blame the groundsman for the bobble against Swansea!

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“The set-piece is one we’ve worked on a few times this year and I've had a few blocked.

“Flecky put it in a perfect area and I just thought: ‘Hit the target’. It went through a couple of bodies and thankfully hit the net. And it turned out to be the winner.

“It's been a long time and I don't score many so when I do, I enjoy it.

Oliver Norwood of Sheffield United scores their side's first goal against Queens Park Rangers at Bramall Lane (George Wood/Getty Images)

“I don't get paid to put the ball in the back of the net; I contribute as much as I can but I try to set the other lads up. So when you do score it's obviously nice, but it's not always my job to do that.

“It's nice to contribute, and if it turns out to get us three points then it's got us three points. At this stage of the season it doesn't matter who gets it as long as we're winning games and climbing the league.”

Heckingbottom revealed recently that he has worked hard with his coaching staff, including Jack Lester and Stuart McCall, on improving United’s output from set-pieces and was delighted to see it pay off against QPR.

Victory sent United back up to fifth in the Championship table with six games of the season remaining – four of which are at home, starting with this weekend’s home clash against second-placed Bournemouth.

“It's something we spoke about when Hecky got the job,” Norwood set of set-pieces.

“We weren't creating first and second contacts in the box and we work hard on it. The analysis lads and the support staff with Hecky and Jack and Macca, it's something we work hard on and when it ends up in the back of the net everyone takes credit for it.

“It's nice to be on the end of one and three points is the most important thing tonight. We'll look forward to Saturday.”

One man who didn’t appreciate United’s goal, however, was QPR boss Mark Warburton, who branded it “awful” from his side’s defensive perspective.

United are still unbeaten at home since October, but that record will face a stiff test this weekend when second-placed Bournemouth visit Bramall Lane hoping for three more points towards their own promotion bid.