Be­low-par Blades find a way to de­light Wilder

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

SH­EFFIELD UNITED man­ager Chris Wilder was happy his side took their chance to progress to tonight’s fifth round draw.

Blades cap­tain Billy Sharp won and con­verted a penalty in the 80th minute to se­cure the vic­tory in a tightly con­tested game which saw lit­tle goal ac­tion.

Wilder said: “It wasn’t a clas­sic game. We just needed to lift our stan­dards and be a bit more ag­gres­sive in the sec­ond half and drive the game for­ward a lit­tle more.

“I thought the in­tro­duc­tion of Ched (Evans) gave us a lit­tle spark, and (Chris) Basham as well.

“We changed the shape at half­time as well just to get a bit more con­trol of the foot­ball, which I think it did and we just edged a tight game.

“It was two teams that are very evenly matched, in league po­si­tion. They made a few changes and we made a few changes, so I think both man­agers will be de­lighted that it has been de­cided on the day.”

Mark Duffy, who signed a new con­tract on Fri­day, was the main cre­ator for the Blades. Ei­ther side of half-time, the 32-year-old drilled in low crosses for Clay­ton Don­ald­son but the striker found the side-net­ting both times.

Daniel Laf­ferty was next to ben­e­fit from Duffy’s sup­ply, as he saw a vol­ley tipped over the bar by Declan Rudd be­fore the vis­i­tors’ cap­tain, Tom Clarke, brought Sharp down in­side the area.

Sharp stepped up and tucked away the spot-kick, send­ing Rudd the wrong way and North End crash­ing out of the cup.

“For­tu­nately for us, we’ve man­aged to nick it and find a way, when not play­ing great, to win a game of foot­ball, which has been a lit­tle bit of our Achilles heel,” added Wilder.

Pre­ston chief Alex Neil felt the penalty de­ci­sion could have gone ei­ther way. “Ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed, as you don’t want to lose any game,” he said. PENALTY:

“Hav­ing said that, I don’t think there was much in the game at all. I think the stats sug­gest that chances for and chances against are rel­a­tively sim­i­lar.

“I think the dis­ap­point­ing thing is to go out to a con­tentious penalty. Hav­ing watched it back about six times, it’s still a wee bit in­con­clu­sive for me. I’m not 100 per cent sure it was a penalty.”

PIC­TURE: SPORTIMAGE

Blades cap­tain Billy Sharp goes down un­der the chal­lenge of Tom Clarke be­fore con­vert­ing the re­sult­ing penalty.

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