Sharp’s penalty is saver

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Hale

SCUN­THORPE UNITED may have ex­tended their un­beaten run at home to 17 games but this one will have felt like a loss af­ter they let a late lead slip against ten men.

The Glan­ford Park faith­ful last wit­nessed de­feat in De­cem­ber when for­mer striker Billy Sharp scored the win­ner and Gra­ham Alexan­der’s side would have been feel­ing some un­wanted deja vu on Satur­day.

Scun­thorpe had come from be­hind to lead 2-1 but con­ceded a late penalty which Sharp smashed into the net to snatch a point.

“In the first half it was two good teams who showed a bit too much re­spect to each other and they man­aged to score from a very clever set­piece,” said Alexan­der.

“Af­ter they’ve gone down to ten men (when Chris Basham was sent off) we should see the game out but Sh­effield United have the qual­ity in their ranks to win a penalty and put it away.

“If we saw out the game at 2-1 then I’d be ab­so­lutely de­lighted with the per­for­mance, so it’s a bit of a sore one to take when we’ve dropped two points at the end.”

Jack O’Con­nell should have put the vis­i­tors ahead in an en­ter­tain­ing open­ing pe­riod but he could not keep his header down af­ter his op­po­site num­ber Mur­ray Wal­lace had gone close at the other end.

Sh­effield United fan and Scun­thorpe cen­tre-back David Mirfin then did well to reach a cross ahead of Matt Done be­fore John Fleck’s spec­u­la­tive ef­fort flew miles wide of the up­right.

Scun­thorpe had their best chance of the game on the half hour mark but Kevin van Veen could not keep his ef­fort on tar­get af­ter he had got in be­hind.

And the Iron were rue­ing that miss mo­ments later as Sh­effield United bril­liantly took the lead.

Mark Duffy played a free-kick from 25 yards out short and the Blades played it around the un­moved Scun­thorpe de­fence in a mat­ter of sec­onds be­fore Chris Basham coolly slot­ted past Luke Daniels.

Lively Scun­thorpe winger Duane Holmes did well to make space at the edge of the box but could only find the side net­ting

be­fore Kieron Free­man halfvolleyed wide at the other end. Richie Small­wood went close to bring­ing Scun­thorpe level early in the sec­ond half but his curl­ing ef­fort was ac­ro­bat­i­cally stopped by Si­mon Moore.

And the hosts were level just min­utes later as Josh Mor­ris blasted past Moore at his near post to give Scun­thorpe a much needed lift.

The Blades were down to ten men with over 20 min­utes still to go as goalscorer Basham’s force­ful chal­lenge on Neal Bishop was deemed wor­thy of a red card.

Scun­thorpe nearly made the man ad­van­tage pay in­stantly but Mor­ris was de­nied from al­most the ex­act same spot he had scored from 15 min­utes pre­vi­ous. Holmes scored what most in­side Glan­ford Park thought would have been the win­ner with ten min­utes to go from 25 yards out.

But Sh­effield United had other ideas as for­mer Scun­thorpe striker Sharp smashed home a penalty af­ter a foul by Mirfin to earn a valu­able point for the Blades.

“It was a dis­ap­point­ing start to the sec­ond half with them get­ting back in the game,” said Sh­effield United man­ager Chris Wilder.

“But even af­ter the send­ing off I think we were fairly com­fort­able,”

“In my opin­ion (the send­ing off) is just two lads on their back­sides try­ing to get the ball.

“If that is a send­ing off then the one five min­utes ear­lier from Mur­ray Wal­lace on (Chris) Basham is one too.

“Every­body wants to see com­pe­ti­tion and play­ers mak­ing con­tact with each other so let’s make sure that doesn’t go out of the game for good. I feel for Basham be­cause he’s been ter­rific and he doesn’t de­serve to be sent off.”

RA­ZOR SHARP: Sh­effield’s United’s Billy Sharp scored a late penalty to equalise

PIC­TURE: Sport Im­age

HERO TO ZERO: Chris Basham opens the scor­ing In­set: But Basham is later sent off

POINT MADE: Billy Sharp cel­e­brates his equaliser

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