WILDER’S JOY WITH RUTHLESS LEADERS
Lafferty’s goal seals comeback
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
HAVING A LAFF: Daniel Lafferty scores Sheffield United’s winner
FALSE DAWN: Ricky Holmes celebrates