Two late goals by Jamie Murphy and Chris Porter helped Sheffield United come-from-behind and beat Port Vale 2-1 tonight.
Murphy, given a new lease of life under United manager Nigel Clough, pounced in the 83rd minute to cancel out Louis Dodds’ strike. It was the winger’s seventh goal of the campaign.
It got even better for United in stoppage time when substitute Porter completed the stunning fightback, firing a left foot shot past Sam Johnson to extend the visitors unbeaten league run to six matches. Victory meant United sealed the double over Vale, who are managed by former Blades chief Micky Adams.
Clough made five changes for the trip to Vale Park, recalling Kieron Freeman, Ryan Flynn, Michael Doyle, Stefan Scougall and Jose Baxter to his starting line-up. Out go Matt Hill, Stephen McGinn, Ben Davies, Connor Dimaio and Chris Porter.
Skipper Doyle started on the substitutes bench in Monday’s goalless draw at Tranmere Rovers while Scougall was rested.
Left-back Bob Harris (groin) is unlikely to play for United again this season.
The hosts came close to opening the scoring after four minutes when former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Chris Lines, available for selection again following a four-match suspension, struck the post with a right foot shot.
United almost made the Valiants rue that miss but John Brayford, on loan from Cardiff City, blazed over.
Clough was forced into making a personnel change midway through the half as Neill Collins picked up an injury, meaning Matt Hill was brought on to play alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of their rearguard.
Goal-scoring opportunities were at a premium, with both sides cancelling each other out. Much to the visitors annoyance, Maguire saw two efforts from distance blocked.
Anthony Griffith was yellow carded just after the re-start following a late challenge on Doyle.
Vale broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Dodds, who slotted in from close range.
It took a superb save by Sam Johnson to prevent Jose Baxter from levelling things up after the Liverpudlian exchanged passes with Scougall.
At the other end, Billy Knott tried his luck from 25 yards but Mark Howard, out of contract at the end of the season, was equal to it.
Clough threw on Chris Porter for Baxter to try and spark his team into life.
However, it was the Valiants who nearly doubled their advantage, with Jennison Myrie-Williams seeing his drive deflected over the top.
Scougall, off balance, dragged an effort well wide from just outside the penalty area as it appeared it wasn’t going to be their night.
But Murphy and Porter registered in the closing stages to keep United in eighth position.
Vale: Johnson, Yates, Robertson, Dodds, Myrie Williams, Lines, Williamson, Griffith, Duffy, Knott. Substitutes: Tomlin, Shuker, Lloyd, Birchall, Smith, Hugill.
United: Howard; Brayford, Maguire, Collins, Freeman; Flynn, Doyle, Coady, Scougall, Murphy; Baxter. Substitutes: Hill, Porter, McGinn, Paynter, Davies, Long, Kennedy.