DONE’S THE REAL DEAL IN BLADES WIN
Leaders City are shocked at home
STEVE Cotterill reacted defiantly to a rare setback for his League One leaders and insisted Bristol City will bounce back.
Two second-half goals from Matt Done and a third from strike partner Jamie Murphy saw Nigel Clough’s Sheffield United recover from Matt Smith’s 13th goal of the season to claim a hard-earned success.
And Cotterill had no complaints, even though he felt there was a suspicion of offside about Done’s equaliser and a foul in the build-up to Murphy’s clincher.
He said: “It was Sheffield United’s day and all the best to them.
“They have some very good players and we knew how capable they were of hitting us on the counter-attack.
“Our players are down in the dressing room, but now it is all about bouncing back quickly and I know they have the character and spirit to do just that.
“We have another home game against Peterborough United on Tuesday evening and the lads will be right up for that when it arrives.
“I think the match officials could have been better, but you are always going to get setbacks over the course of a season and we will take the defeat on the chin.
“We actually played better in the second half and have ended up getting done on two counter-attacks. I made a positive substitution at 1-1 to try and win the game and I have no regrets about that because that has been our attitude all season.”
The deadlock was broken in a defence-dominated first half when Smith netted the 13th goal of his loan spell from Fulham to put the hosts in front on 41 minutes.
The big striker eluded his marker to volley a Luke Freeman cross from the left past Iain Turner from close range.
United equalised on 54 minutes, Done forcing the ball home from almost on the goalline after substitute Jason Holt’s shot had been parried by Frank Fielding. And it was Done again on target from barely a yard out as Murphy supplied a low ball in from the left on 77 minutes.
Murphy completed United’s impressive fightback with a fine breakaway goal five minutes later, cutting inside Derrick Williams to fire home after Luke Ayling had lost possession in midfield.
Clough sent Andy Garner to do the post match press conference and the coach admitted there had been a few harsh words from the boss at halftime.
“We were not unhappy with the performance, but we had barely registered a shot at goal,” said Garner.
“There were two many high balls into their box, which were easy for their defenders to deal with. When we started delivering the ball hard and low the chances started coming.
“It has to rank as one of our best displays of the season because Bristol City are a very good side, who will be up there going for promotion right to the end of the season.
“To score three goals away from home against a team who don’t con- cede many was very satisfying and it was a very happy dressing room at the end of the game.
“We have produced some excellent displays in cup games this season, but we are now doing well in the League too and need to keep things going.”
Smith’s goal was the only worthwhile effort by either side in a poor first half.
United lost Jose Baxter to injury after only 24 minutes, sending on Holt as replacement.
The second half was more entertaining and Ben Harris had to block a 61st-minute shot from Jay EmmanuelThomas on the line to prevent City going back in front.
Emmanuel-Thomas also shot wide before Done’s first goal, which came after manager Cotterill had sent on striker Kieran Agard for experienced midfielder Wade Elliott in an effort to force a win against their promotion rivals.
AGONISING: Bristol City’s Kieran Agard watches his effort being cleared from danger
STAR MAN JAY MCEVE