Cotterill dashes Swans hopes
Penalty ends Swansea's chances of a play-off berth
Last Updated: 25/04/09 5:25pm
David Cotterill's first-half penalty gave Sheffield United a victory which ended Swansea's play-off dream.
The Blades went into the game knowing they had to win to keep the pressure on second-placed Birmingham, who were playing in the late kick-off, and took the lead with 35 minutes gone when Stephen Quinn was fouled by Garry Monk and Cotterill scored from the spot.
The goal went some way to placate the home crowd who were furious after Jamie Ward had a goal ruled out for offside and manager Kevin Blackwell was sent to the stands for protesting against a booking given to Matthew Kilgallon.
In the second half Swansea goalkeeper Dorus De Vries produced two excellent stops to deny Darius Henderson and Chris Morgan, while Ward also saw a shot clip the top of the bar.
Despite some attractive football Swansea offered little in terms of real chances and Jordi Gomez sent a free-kick wide in the first half before Jason Scotland fired over after the break.
The win moved the Blades to within a point of Birmingham, while Swansea saw their play-off hopes slip away.
The home side started well and a long kick from goalkeeper Paddy Kenny caught the Swansea defence out but Ward's shot from the angle was gathered by De Vries.
However Swansea gradually began to impose themselves on the game and Darren Pratley had a shot blocked before Jordi Gomez sent a 20-yard free-kick just wide.
Swansea were keeping the ball better than the hosts but with 19 minutes gone defender Alan Tate inexplicably gave the ball away to Ward on the edge of the area, but his shot fizzed wide.
Minutes later Matthew Kilgallon broke forward and chipped in a perfect ball to Ward who finished superbly past De Vries only to see the goal harshly disallowed for offside.
Referee Rob Styles incensed the crowd by booking Kilgallon for kicking the ball away and Blades manager Blackwell was subsequently sent to the stands.
However 10 minutes before the break Styles awarded the home side a penalty when Monk bundled over Quinn and Cotterill slammed home the spot-kick.
The home side immediately went in search of a second goal after the break and Ward tried a cheeky chip from 20 yards that floated just wide.
Minutes later Swansea had De Vries to thank for keeping them in the game as he made a superb double save.
First he palmed out Darius Henderson's close-range header from Cotterill's right-wing cross and from the resulting corner the Dutchman produced another fine stop to keep out Chris Morgan's sweet strike.
Gomez continued to pose Swansea's biggest threat and he sent a shot over the bar before driving a free-kick into the wall.
At the other end Ward looked lively up front and almost made it 2-0 but his lofted shot cannoned off the top of the bar with De Vries scrambling.
Substitute Danny Webber hooked a shot straight at De Vries late on as Sheffield United pushed for a second, but the home side had already done enough.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 25th Apr
Blackpool1 - 1N Forest
Bristol C1 - 1Sheff Wed
Cardiff0 - 3Ipswich
Sheff Utd1 - 0Swansea
Southampton2 - 2Burnley
Barnsley1 - 1Wolves
Coventry2 - 3Watford
Derby1 - 0Charlton
QPR0 - 0Plymouth
Doncaster2 - 0C Palace
Birmingham1 - 2Preston
Sky Bet Championship
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