Match ends, Sheffield United 2, Middlesbrough 1.
Sheffield United boosted their Championship play-off hopes with victory over 10-man Middlesbrough.
Lee Evans fired home a wonderfully struck volley from outside the area to give the hosts an early lead.
Top-six rivals Boro had Grant Leadbitter sent off for a second bookable offence before Evans scored his second with another fine volley.
Daniel Ayala pulled a goal back for the visitors after the break but they could not find an equaliser.
Defeat, coupled with Millwall's win at Bolton, meant Boro drop out of the top six.
A dreadful first 45 minutes prompted Boro boss Tony Pulis to make a triple substitution at the break and the move paid off almost immediately as Ayala slotted home after Ben Gibson flicked on Stewart Downing's free-kick.
Jonny Howson and Britt Assombalonga went close as Boro pushed for a leveller but Chris Wilder's men held on to move to within three points of the top six.
The Blades host in-form Millwall on Saturday, while Middlesbrough entertain Bristol City.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"You always get value for money watching us. We never make it easy for the supporters or the manager.
"In the first half we were outstanding with the way we took the game to the opposition.
"All of a sudden, the whole atmosphere changes in terms of giving them a lift, and we got tight. From then on, it wasn't a straightforward game."
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis told BBC Tees:
"We threw the ball out of play from our own throw-in and that summed up our first 10-15 minutes. But they scored a great volley - sometimes you've got to hold your hands up.
"We were coming into the game from that point, but I've seen Grant's (second) challenge - the kid throws himself to the ground, he's got his hands up in the air, he rolls around and holds his ankle.
"It's a challenge you can give a free-kick for. A challenge to book someone knowing he's going to be sent off? That's very harsh."
- 13WrightSubstituted forDuffyat 73'minutes
- 7LundstramSubstituted forLeonardat 90'minutes
- 4FleckBooked at 35mins
- 36BrooksSubstituted forDonaldsonat 86'minutes
- 3FriendBooked at 87mins
- 7LeadbitterBooked at 25mins
- 27BesicSubstituted forClaytonat 45'minutes
- 37TraoréBooked at 41minsSubstituted forda Silvaat 45'minutesBooked at 71mins
- 11BamfordSubstituted forAssombalongaat 45'minutes
- 2da Silva
- Darren Bond
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, Middlesbrough 1.
Attempt missed. Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Lee Evans (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).
Foul by Leon Clarke (Sheffield United).
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Ryan Leonard replaces John Lundstram.
Attempt missed. Lee Evans (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Adam Clayton.
Attempt blocked. Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Enda Stevens.
George Friend (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Lee Evans (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by George Friend (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Sheffield United. Clayton Donaldson replaces David Brooks.
John Lundstram (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).
Offside, Sheffield United. Enda Stevens tries a through ball, but David Brooks is caught offside.
Lee Evans (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.