SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams vowed to keep fighting until the bitter end after his side earned a stay of execution in the npower Championship with a 3-2 home win over Bristol City, writes Graham Walker.
United teenager Jordan Slew slammed home a stunning 86th-minute winner in an action-packed game which saw both sides reduced to 10 men, to lift the rock bottom Blades to within six points of safety with three games remaining.
Asked if his side now had realistic chances of avoiding the drop, Adams said: “We don’t know. We just keep going.
“We asked them today to show a bit of pride and passion in their own performance and be brave and that’s all they can do.”
Adams was roundly booed by sections of home fans for replacing midfielder Lee Williamson with defender Rob Kozluk following Harry Maguire’s dismissal.
But he said: “The crowd are entitled to their opinions aren’t they? If Williamson had played the whole 90 minutes he wouldn’t have played at Reading on Saturday.
“His body can’t recover as quickly as other players because of his back, so the crowd can do and say what they want, I’ve got big broad shoulders.”
Brett Pitman gave City a ninth minute lead direct from a corner courtesy of Blades goalkeeper Steve Simonsen’s howler before the home side turned the game on its head just before the break.
City defender Jamie McAllister’s attempted clearance crashed off Blades midfielder Williamson and into the net in the 40th minute.
Nicky Maynard was shown a straight red card by referee Andy D’Urso for his lunging tackle on United defender Matt Lowton two minutes later and 60 seconds after that David McAllister, on his full debut, fired home a stunning shot into the top corner to give the Blades a half-time lead.
United’s teenage defender Maguire was shown a straight red card for bringing down City substitute and former Blades striker Jon Stead inside the penalty area in the 59th minute and Pitman converted the spot kick, but Slew lashed in a late winner in what was his second goal in successive matches.
City manager Keith Millen admitted “too much had gone on in the game” for him to be happy with their performance.
He said: “Where do you start with that? It could have gone either way, whichever team took their chance (would win) and they took theirs with a good finish.”
Millen felt Maynard had been harshly treated by referee D’Urso after watching the replays of his first half sending-off.
He added: “At the time I felt he could send him because he slid in, but he got a slight touch of the ball.
“The wet pitch didn’t help, he slid through the lad and just caught him, so we’ll assess it on the way home.”
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RESULTS, FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2011:
Doncaster Rovers 0 Crystal Palace 0
Northampton Town 2 Rotherham United 2
SCORES, SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2011:
Sheffield United 3 Bristol City 0
Watford 1 Barnsley 0
Walsall 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Oxford United 0 Chesterfield 0
FIXTURES, EASTER MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2011 (Kick offs 3pm):
Reading v Sheffield United
Barnsley v Doncaster
Sheffield Wednesday v Swindon Town
League Two: Chesterfield v Bury
Rotherham United v Gillingham