Alex Baptiste is just brilliant and four more talking points from Sheffield United 0 Gillingham 0
A fine performance but not the result they were after, as Sheffield United drew a blank against Gillingham at Bramall Lane.
Here are five talking points from the 0-0 draw...
FANS PROVE ADKINS' EARLY POINT
When Nigel Adkins first took over as Sheffield United manager he stated that having managed close by at Scunthorpe United, he knew the type of fans that Sheffield United have. The boss was aware that if the strong, working class fanbase saw effort and hard work then they would get behind the team and that was in evidence on Saturday. The supporters won't have been overly happy with the result but in vociferously backing them throughout and applauding the players off the pitch, those in the stands showed their appreciation of the endevour - to pinch a well-used Adkins word - applied. The fact that there was over 18,000 there, too, proved another point.
ALEX BAPTISTE IS A DEFENSIVE DREAM
When Baptiste arrived at Bramall Lane on loan there were concerns. Not about his ability - history shows he can cut it at a higher level - but the fact that he was coming back from a long term injury. However, it's no coincidence that United have been less porous at the back since he came into the team and on Saturday it was clear to see why. The Boro central defender glides around the pitch, making simple passes, reading everything, positioning himself perfectly and in doing all this, inspiring confidence amongst those around him. It's a long shot, but if he was convinced to have another spell in Sheffield next year, United would have a superb signing on their hands.
BASHAM'S WING BACK SWITCH A SURPRISING MASTERSTROKE
Chris Basham is a versatile footballer and a good one at that, but few could have foreseen a switch to right wing back being such a success. It was tried last week against Crewe, as a tactical ploy in going up against their left back and worked a treat. Many will have expected Basham to revert to a central role though and Ryan Flynn put out wide against Gillingham. However, the 27 year old stayed in that position on Saturday and again put in an impressive display of hard work, intelligent play and no less skill on the flank. Yet another string to his bow. MORE: Basham earmarked for key Blades role
NOT A GREAT GAME FOR THE REFEREE
Man-in-the-middle Robert Lewis had been having a good game...and then he lost it. Early on he allowed a few very strong but fair tackles to go unpunished, when others may have given a foul, but then when Ryan Flynn went down in the box under a challenge from the Gills keeper and no penalty was given the referee appeared to lose the control he had on the game. As it turned out he made the right call with Stuart Nelson getting a slight touch on the ball, but perhaps affected by the disapproval from the stands, Lewis began to make some very strange decisions. One of the worst, and a particular pet hate of mine, came when Paul Coutts took a quick Blades free kick and found Billy Sharp in space in the box and ready to strike. Lewis blew the whistle, called the play back and booked the Gillingham player who had committed the foul. He could have easily done that afterwards.
A GAME OF FRUSTRATION
After what has been a generally positive look back over the game, just like last week, the way United played, while offering encouragement, will have had more than a few fans muttering 'if only'. Indeed, if only they had played this way all season. There'll come a point where you have to forget it and look ahead, but when looking ahead means, as is likely, another season in League One, it's difficult to shake off those two little words.