WILDER WON’T STICK THE BOOT IN Four-point lead enough to keep the Blades boss smil­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Matt Cham­bers

CHRIS Wilder was con­tent to take a point af­ter what he branded a ‘boot-fest’, re­fus­ing to ac­cept a draw at lowly Old­ham rep­re­sented two points dropped for Sh­effield United.

On-loan Ch­ester­field mid­fielder Jay O’Shea smashed in early in the sec­ond half to level an open­ing goal from Old­ham’s Tope Obadeyi.

And the League One front-run­ners had to make do with a draw ahead of back-to-back fix­tures at Bra­mall Lane.

“We would have snapped your hand off to be go­ing into the last seven games of the sea­son with a four-point lead,” Wilder said.

“We didn’t de­serve to win, but our next two games are at home where we’ve been out­stand­ing all sea­son.

“There’s no need for any­one to feel down about this re­sult and I cer­tainly don’t see it as two points dropped.

“It’s all about an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of points over the sea­son and get­ting a draw from this game is good for us psy­cho­log­i­cally.

“There wasn’t a lot of foot­ball played. Old­ham booted it bet­ter than us in the first half and we pos­si­bly booted it bet­ter than them in the sec­ond. It was a boot-fest.

“The pitch is dif­fi­cult here and Old­ham are pick­ing up good re­sults, es­pe­cially at home, so I never sub­scribed to the idea that we would just roll them over.

“We played a dan­ger­ous and com­mit­ted team, but we kept driv­ing the game for­ward to the end.”

Kieron Free­man flicked the sidenet­ting for the vis­i­tors in the eighth minute, but Old­ham started strongly on what was a hard, bar­ren play­ing sur­face at Bound­ary Park.

John Sheri­dan’s side may yet be rel­e­gated, but they are rarely in the mood to be rolled over, en­ter­ing this game on a run of one de­feat in nine.

The hosts may have gone in front on 31 min­utes. Lee Er­win swung in a cross with his right foot and wing­back Josh Law got just too much on his far-post header which cleared the cross­bar by a foot.

Old­ham took a de­served lead on 44 min­utes. Ous­mane Fane robbed Ethan Ebanks-Lan­dell of pos­ses­sion, rode the Blades cen­tre-back’s chal­lenge and fed Paul Green, who slipped in the over­lap­ping Law. His cross was a beauty and Obadeyi was in the right place to ap­ply a calm volleyed fin­ish from close-range.

Wilder’s side re­sponded well at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod and though Er­win went close with a glanc­ing header from a dan­ger­ous Chris Taylor de­liv­ery, they lev­elled five min­utes in.

James Han­son forced a mis­take from half-time sub­sti­tute Ge­orge Ed­mund­son and as the ball sat up just out­side the box, O’Shea planted a su­perb first-time ef­fort that left Old­ham goal­keeper Con­nor Ri­p­ley grasp­ing at thin air to his left.

Billy Sharp had a quiet af­ter­noon and fluffed his one clear chance in the 86th minute, get­ting well un­der­neath the ball in­side the area af­ter pos­i­tive work by Paul Coutts, be­fore later see­ing an ef­fort blocked at point-blank range by Ri­p­ley.

In the end, though, a draw was, if any­thing, a dis­ap­point­ing out­come for Sheri­dan, given the ster­ling ef­forts of his rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened out­fit.

“It was a ter­rific per­for­mance from us, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing who we were play­ing,” said Sheri­dan. “They are al­ready pro­moted in my eyes and have been turn­ing teams over. But we were the bet­ter side.

“It was a good, work­man­like per­for­mance and there were a few play­ers in there who haven’t been play­ing much.

“We nul­li­fied them and kept the top scorer in the league (Billy Sharp) quiet. They were ter­rific and I can only ap­plaud my play­ers.

“It was a great goal from us, af­ter a good pas­sage. It was a shame we con­ceded, but you know they are al­ways go­ing to cre­ate chances.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

JAY’S DAY: Jay O’Shea cel­e­brates scor­ing the Blades’ equaliser Inset: Billy Sharp gets ahead of Old­ham’s Peter Clarke

RI­VALS: Chris Wilder, left, and John Sheri­dan

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