The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Jon Wal­dron

NIGEL Ad­kins in­sisted his Sh­effield United play­ers de­served all of the plau­dits af­ter they scored a late win­ner to claim a cru­cial vic­tory at strug­gling Colch­ester.

The Blades are a point off the play-off places in League One, af­ter David Edgar’s 90thminute win­ner gave them all three points at the Com­mu­nity Sta­dium.

It had looked like the vis­i­tors would have to set­tle for a draw, af­ter U’s de­fender Tom East­man can­celled out Billy Sharp’s 20thminute opener for the vis­i­tors.

But Edgar grabbed a cru­cial late goal and boss Ad­kins says they de­serve plenty of credit for their de­ter­mi­na­tion, fol­low­ing tough re­cent fix­tures at Manch­ester United in the FA Cup and Wi­gan Ath­letic in the league.

“My play­ers have put a shift in this week – a shift and a half – phys­i­cally and men­tally to do what they’ve done, so well done to them,” he said.

“The play­ers take all the plau­the dits. At times we’ve played well and not got the points we de­served, but other times maybe we’ve got the re­sult on the back of the week we’ve had.

“Well done to the play­ers to show the grit and re­silience they have to get the points.”

Gavin Massey fired over from a tight an­gle for Colch­ester early on af­ter Ge­orge Mon­cur pounced on Edgar’s mis­take, and Marvin Sordell planted a shot just wide of the far post soon af­ter for the U’s af­ter more good play by Mon­cur.

But Sh­effield United took a 20thminute lead when Colch­ester left-back Matt Briggs mis­judged goal­keeper Ge­orge Long’s huge clear­ance, and Sharp ad­vanced into the area be­fore even­tu­ally plant­ing a low shot past Jake Kean.

The Blades were in charge for the re­main­der of the half and Matt Done sent a shot wide be­fore half­time, as the vis­i­tors went in at the break ahead.

But Colch­ester were the bet­ter side in the se­cond half and keeper Long did well to save Alex Gil­bey’s long-range ef­fort, be­fore the U’s equalised just be­fore the hour through East­man – who headed home su­perbly from Sordell’s cross.

Long de­nied Mon­cur late on be­fore Edgar net­ted from Mar­tyn Wool­ford’s cor­ner to win it at the death for Sh­effield United.

And Colch­ester boss Kevin Keen ad­mit­ted con­ced­ing that goal so late in the game was a cruel blow for his side, who are with­out a league win since Oc­to­ber and are now five points from safety at the foot of League One.

He said:“I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed as we put in a re­ally good per­for­mance against a team with a lot of re­ally good play­ers.

“It was very much a kick in the teeth, but we have to take pos­i­tives from the se­cond half per­for­mance which was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic and we need to just keep go­ing – that’s all we can do.

“We have 20 games and we have to get some­where around 30 points to get in and around that 50 point mark. “At some stage, we have to pull the cat out of the bag and win a game but I’m still feel­ing very con­fi­dent.”

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