Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson challenged his side to stay ahead of the pack after two identical free-kicks from Tony McMahon secured them a 2-0 win at Crawley and took them back to the top of the table.

McMahon struck from 30 yards in both halves to lift the Blades above Tranmere and Wilson is looking for consolidation going into the hectic festive fixtures.

He said: "It's great to go top after a terrific team performance and lots of aspects of our play pleased me.

"The challenge now is for us to stay there. We've got ourselves into a great position.

"Being top means a great deal. Now clubs around us will be looking at us leading the way.

"Some people maybe would have expected us to struggle against Crawley on a difficult pitch, which was a leveller, but we went out and were very positive."

Crawley manager Richie Barker felt a draw would have been a fair result and was critical of referee Gavin Ward for awarding United the free-kick that led to McMahon's 29th-minute opener.

Barker said: "I must be careful what I say, but it wasn't a free-kick. I'll make sure the feelings are felt. If it is a guess it has cost us.

"We didn't get the rub of the green with the referee's decisions. It changed the game and it allowed them to get a foothold.

"We kept plugging away very well, but it was never going to be easy against a side of their quality, especially in such difficult conditions."