SHEFFIELD, England — Last-place Sheffield United overcame the sending-off of Phil Jagielka to beat lacklustre Aston Villa 1-0 on Wednesday in what is likely to prove only a consolation victory on its way out of the Premier League.
Leading 1-0 thanks to David McGoldrick's close-range strike in the 30th minute, United was reduced to 10 men in the 57th when Jagielka brought down Anwar El Ghazi as the Villa winger charged toward the penalty box.
Referee Robert Jones initially gave a yellow a card to Jagielka but changed that to a red after being advised by VAR to look at the incident again on the pitchside monitor. Jagielka was deemed to have denied a goal-scoring opportunity as the last man.
Villa piled on the pressure in the final half-hour but, with captain and star midfielder Jack Grealish out because of injury, lacked any creativity and cutting edge to break down the hosts.
United's fourth win of the season moved the team onto 14 points, three behind next-to-last West Bromwich Albion but still 12 adrift of safety.
“We showed that we’re fighting for this club,” McGoldrick said. “With 10 men against a good team, we had our backs against the wall for the last 20 minutes and it’s just pleasing to get the win.
“We all don’t want to be in this position in the table. We know where we lie but we’re all still fighting for our future and for this club and the saying is, ‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings.' We’re all fighting to the end.”
McGoldrick’s goal — his seventh of the season — came when he turned the ball home from inside the six-yard box after meeting a drive by George Baldock that might have been a shot as opposed to a pass.
At the other end, Ollie Watkins struck the crossbar with a header before Jagielka's red card while Bertrand Traore sent a shot wide after dribbling past Oliver Norwood, Jagielka and Ethan Ampadu.
Villa stayed ninth, missing the chance to close within two points of the European qualification positions.
“There were a lot of good balls into that final third, but the movement wasn’t quite good enough when they went down to 10 men and they threw their bodies on the line," Villa manager Dean Smith said. “Quality in the final third was probably the difference but we should have won that game quite comfortably.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports