Laf­ferty’s goal seals come­back

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ricky Charlesworth

CHRIS WILDER saluted his “re­lent­less” Sh­effield United team af­ter yet an­other vic­tory kept them on course for the League One ti­tle.

Wilder’s troops came from be­hind to main­tain a nine-point buf­fer over Bolton in sec­ond place.

The win was the 23rd of the sea­son for the Blades, and Wilder said af­ter­wards that his side are on a re­lent­less streak that knows no bounds.

“We fancy it, all the time,” said Wilder.

“When the tin hats are on, peo­ple talk about the tac­ti­cal side of games, but my play­ers just wanted to keep the ball out of the net and get over the line.

“We al­ways find a way to win games. I’m not sur­prised by my team’s re­ac­tion to go­ing down.

“Ev­ery week we turn up and the at­ti­tude of the play­ers is good and we have enough about us to get some­thing each game.

“I think they’ve got some good play­ers – we’ve got proper play­ers though.

“The play­ers de­serve ev­ery plau­dit that gets chucked their way.

“Ev­ery­body will look at what points we have but we want to be re­lent­less and keep do­ing what we’re do­ing.”

Charl­ton stunned the hosts af­ter just three min­utes when Ricky Holmes scored di­rectly from a free­kick just on the edge of the 18-yard box.

The Addicks’ skip­per lifted his set-piece up and over the wall and be­yond the reach of goal­keeper Si­mon Moore.

The Blades were then a lick of paint away from be­ing 2-0 down, but Tony Watt’s ac­ro­batic over­head shot from in­side the area came back off the cross­bar much to the hosts’ re­lief.

De­spite their slug­gish start, United re­stored par­ity on 15 min­utes when Jack O’Con­nell got the slight­est glance on Mark Duffy’s free-kick in­side the area.

At the other end, Watt was prov­ing a con­stant thorn in the Blades’ side and on the half-hour mark the Scot stepped in­side the box and un­leashed a shot which brought out a good, par­ried save from Moore.

Billy Sharp then flashed a ball across the face of goal but two

on­rush­ing United play­ers failed to make con­tact from just a few yards out.

The Blades came out af­ter the restart with Wilder’s half-time words seem­ingly ring­ing in their ears. And they didn’t take long to pro­pel them­selves into the lead.

United’s two wing-backs com­bined to make it 2-1 on 48 min­utes. Kieron Free­man whipped in a de­li­cious ball from the right by­line which Daniel Laf­ferty met with a thun­der­ous header.

De­clan Rudd pulled off a su­perb save to keep it out the ini­tial header but he couldn’t pre­vent Laf­ferty tap­ping home from on the line.

The goal gave United huge con­fi­dence al­though Jake Forster-Caskey tried his luck from dis­tance as the vis­i­tors looked to re­spond.

From then on it was all United, with sub­sti­tute Samir Car­ruthers al­most ex­tend­ing the lead shortly af­ter en­ter­ing the field, only to smash a fierce shot into the sidenet­ting.

Laf­ferty, who looked a threat ev­ery time he bombed for­ward, then al­most squirmed a shot un­der­neath Rudd.

Addicks man­ager Karl Robin­son said: “I thought we were the bet­ter team for large parts but we got hit with a sucker punch, stupidly.

“This sta­dium can de­mol­ish most teams if they play poor, but we rode the storm.

“I think we missed three or four good chances but we can’t fault the play­ers’ men­tal­ity.

“We came to the league lead­ers and how we played in the first 25 min­utes to­day is how I see this team playing.

“We should have the brav­ery to go up against teams, and we did but got hit on the counter-at­tack.

“We have to work hard and I don’t think any­body played poorly to­day.”

STOOP TO CON­QUER: Jack O’Con­nell starts the fight­back with Sh­effield United’s equal­is­ing goal

PIC­TURE: Sport Im­age

HAV­ING A LAFF: Daniel Laf­ferty scores Sh­effield United’s win­ner

FALSE DAWN: Ricky Holmes celebrates

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