Warburton breathes easy after come­back vic­tory

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ricky Charlesworth

MARK WARBURTON ad­mits it was “mad­ness” that his Not­ting­ham For­est side man­aged to ride their luck to steal this win.

The pres­sure on Warburton was re­lieved as For­est over­came the Blades and stopped the rot after four straight de­feats.

First-half goals from Ja­son Cum­mings and Kieran Dow­ell sealed a come­back win over United, who took an early lead through John Lund­stram.

Warburton’s side now oc­cupy a spot in the top half head­ing into the in­ter­na­tional break.

He said: “We played very well in our last game and got noth­ing, while here we didn’t hit those heights and we took three points. That’s the mad­ness of the game.

“We gave away a soft goal at the be­gin­ning and the play­ers looked ner­vous but it was a good re­ac­tion. We could have scored two more goals at the end of the first half.

“The chances for Kieran and Ja­son should have been con­verted while we could have scored a few more at the end as we broke away on the counter.

“Over­all, the boys re­sponded to the chal­lenge re­ally well. We wanted to go into the in­ter­na­tional break on the back of a vic­tory and all credit has to go to the play­ers.”

The Blades came into this game in ex­cel­lent form hav­ing en­joyed two wins in­side a week and with six vic­to­ries in their last seven out­ings.

Their mid­week con­quer­ing of Wolves fol­lowed a bril­liant dis­play at arch-ri­vals Sh­effield Wed­nes­day which meant Chris Wilder’s side en­tered this match sit­ting sec­ond in the table.

And United en­joyed an ex­cel­lent start as they went in front with just two min­utes on the clock. Lund­stram, mak­ing his first start of the sea­son, con­nected with Enda Stevens’ cen­tre and slot­ted past Jor­dan Smith.

But that lead barely last five min­utes as the hosts drew level. A poor clear­ance from John Fleck, from an equally poor Ben Os­born corner, al­lowed Cum­mings to crash home his first league goal for the club.

And the For­est men put them­selves in front on 27 min­utes. Ten­dayi Darikwa’s cross to the far post was calmly volleyed

across goal by Daryl Mur­phy and into the path of Dow­ell, who fin­ished ex­pertly.

Cum­mings could, and maybe should, have in­creased For­est’s buf­fer even fur­ther just be­fore the break but the Scot’s ef­fort skimmed a post.

An­dreas Boucha­lakis, a half­time re­place­ment for Danny Fox, cre­ated the first chance of the sec­ond half but planted a header just wide.

The ma­jor­ity of the sec­ond half was even, but with­out many clear goalscor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. For­est’s slen­der lead was al­ways in dan­ger as United upped the ante and threw on the heroes from last week’s Steel City derby, Leon Clarke and David Brooks.

United were push­ing as the game wore on and they left it late to fashion their best chance of pinch­ing a point.

Cameron Carter-Vick­ers planted a header that beat Jor­dan Smith but came back ag­o­nis­ingly off the wood­work.

De­spite the set­back, Wilder was proud of his play­ers’ show­ing. “I don’t know whether to cry or smile,” he said. “If there was any con­fir­ma­tion needed that we’ve ar­rived in this league, then it was that per­for­mance. It was out­stand­ing.

“I’m not go­ing soft, be­cause I want to win. I want us to win go­ing for­ward.

“Maybe the boys may have ex­pected a rocket but we just haven’t mar­ried up the per­for­mance with a re­sult.

“We’ve made a cou­ple of mis­takes that have been quite clin­cially pun­ished.

“We pushed them back and pushed them back. We’ve not got the re­wards but we’re cer­tainly on the right track.”

PIC­TURE: UK Sport Pics

CLOSE SHAVE: Not­ting­ham For­est striker Daryl Mur­phy wins a header

EYES DOWN: Liam Brid­cutt takes the ball for For­est

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