TEN-MAN BLADES HIT BACK TO STUN IRON
Sharp’s penalty is saver
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
HERO TO ZERO: Chris Basham opens the scoring Inset: But Basham is later sent off
POINT MADE: Billy Sharp celebrates his equaliser