At top six

Last-gasp Billy saves Blades’ tilt

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By John Brind­ley

BILLY Sharp’s 87th-minute win­ner had Sh­effield United boss Nigel Ad­kins only see­ing the play-off pos­i­tives whilst cru­elly sink­ing ad­ven­tur­ous Crewe to the bot­tom.

Crewe’s sec­ond-half fight­back from 2-0 down stunned Bra­mall Lane into all-too-familiar moans and groans be­fore the lead­ing scorer nod­ded United four points shy of the top six.

The over­all dis­play, like United’s sea­son, was de­cid­edly mixed yet Ad­kins in­sisted:“Ev­ery­one should be happy.We needed to win the game and we’ve done it with a great goal. Our first-half per­for­mance was su­perb.

“We were dis­ap­pointed only to be one goal up, but credit Crewe for putting three up front and get­ting us on the back foot.

“We showed the grit and re­silience we needed. It was a fan­tas­tic cross by Louis Reed and a great header from Sharpy.”

The sec­ond-half drama looked highly un­likely dur­ing a one-sided first 45 min­utes.

Che Adams guided a left-foot shot past Ben Gar­ratt from Ryan Flynn’s pass in the 18th minute but it should have been more. The goal­keeper saved bril­liantly from John Bray­ford’s sec­ond­minute header, Sharp curled art­fully against a post and Adams sent an an­gled shot wide when he should have scored.

But from the open­ing sec­onds when Brad In­man flashed the ball across the United box it was a dif­fer­ent story af­ter the break.

Ge­orge Long had saved from the out­stand­ing In­man, Char­lie Kirk and sub­sti­tute Billy Bing­ham be­fore Ryan Flynn hooked in a sec­ond from Sharp’s header.

David Fox’s low 25 yarder crept into the cor­ner of the net and Crewe were back in it af­ter 68 min­utes. Cal­lum Ain­ley then got be­hind the back of a slow-mov­ing home de­fence and skip­per Harry Davis drove Crewe level from six yards.

A Crewe win­ner looked more likely be­fore Reed’s pin­point rightwing cross was headed joy­fully home from close range by the un­marked Sharp for his 17th strike of the sea­son.

Even then Crewe tested home nerves by twice go­ing close dur­ing six min­utes of in­jury time.

Crewe boss Steve Davis said:“They were two re­ally dif­fer­ent halves. I had to change it be­cause try­ing to match them up wasn’t work­ing. It was a risk to leave three up front but it worked and the ground started to get ner­vous at 2-1. At 2-2 we were think­ing of win­ning.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed not to get a point which I think we de­served.

“Our team gets younger and younger – we had teenagers Char­lie Kirk and Cal­lum Ain­ley out there and both did well.”



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