Match ends, Preston North End 0, Sheffield United 1.
Sheffield United returned to the automatic promotion places in the Championship following a narrow win over Preston North End.
The away side rose to second in the table, leapfrogging Leeds United, who lost 1-0 away to Birmingham City.
The Blades opened the scoring through David McGoldrick's tap-in after Preston keeper Declan Rudd had tipped John Egan's header onto the crossbar.
Sean Maguire went closest to equalising for the hosts, heading Louis Moult's cross narrowly wide in the 67th minute.
Preston started the brighter of the two sides, with Callum Robinson forcing a fine save from Dean Henderson after latching on to a poor backpass from United's John fleck.
But Sheffield United, returning from their 3-2 defeat against Bristol City last Saturday, have not lost consecutive Championship matches since losing their first two games this season and once McGoldrick opened the scoring Chris Wilder's side dominated proceedings.
Republic of Ireland international McGoldrick continued to impress, playing through Billy Sharp who was denied a 25th goal of the season by Rudd shortly after the restart.
Preston's Manchester City loanee Lukas Nmecha blasted a powerful second-half shot into the side netting, as the Blades held on for a eighth clean sheet in their past nine matches.
United are one point clear of Leeds in third place, while Preston's hopes of reaching the play-offs were dented, with Alex Neil's side now 10th and five points off sixth place.
Preston North End manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"The game was going to be decided on who limits their mistakes and who takes their opportunities when they come, because both teams had opportunities. We just didn't take our opportunities.
"If you watch the games at the top end of the Championship, the difference is taking your chances when they come along and limiting your mistakes.
"I don't think you can look and say we didn't try (or) we didn't play in a manner which would give us the best chance in the game."
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"It was always going to be tough, but it's not surprising in terms of the players' reaction. It's a special group of players and you could see how much they wanted this result today.
"It's a week in football, I've been in it long enough to know it can change really quickly and it can change back as well. There's still a long way to go, we'll just keep grinding away.
"They gave me a few heart attacks (during the game) and probably did the same for the supporters as well."
- 18LedsonSubstituted forGallagherat 66'minutesBooked at 89mins
- 4PearsonBooked at 36mins
- 45NmechaSubstituted forStockleyat 76'minutes
- 8BrowneBooked at 90mins
- 7RobinsonSubstituted forMoultat 54'minutes
- 8DowellBooked at 20minsSubstituted forCranieat 63'minutes
- 21DuffySubstituted forStearmanat 78'minutes
- 10SharpSubstituted forHoganat 84'minutes
- Gavin Ward
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Sheffield United 1.
Attempt missed. Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Enda Stevens.
Alan Browne (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Alan Browne (Preston North End).
Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Jordan Storey (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Darnell Fisher with a cross.
Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Darnell Fisher (Preston North End).
Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Scott Hogan replaces Billy Sharp.
Louis Moult (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Richard Stearman (Sheffield United).
Foul by Alan Browne (Preston North End).
Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).
Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).