Aston Villa 3 Sheffield United 3: Villa boss Dean Smith blasts match officials despite his side’s incredible comeback
He may have just witnessed his team fight back from three goals down after seemingly looking like being on the end of a comprehensive and deserved defeat by Sheffield United, but Aston Villa boss Dean Smith wasn’t going to let that get in the way of his criticising the match officials.
With the Blades 3-0 up and cruising thanks to a hat-trick from the division’s leading goalscorer, Billy Sharp, Villa looked dead and buried.
However they were given a lifeline thanks to three mistakes by the United defence.
Dean Henderson weakly flapped at a cross to allow Tyrone Mings the opportunity to pull one back for the home side before the keeper’s tame save from Tommy Elphick landed invitingly at the feet of Tammy Ambraham, who grabbed a second.
With United clearly rattled, another error, this time by Jack O’Connell whose miscued clearance offered an opening, eventually saw Andre Green head in to salvage an unlikely point for Smith’s men.
However, it was United’s second goal that provoked the ire of the Villa manager after Sharp had appeared to kick the ball out of the hands of goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. And Smith felt the United skipper was also offside in the build-up.
"We gave them a head start,” said Smith. “We were poor on the ball and they started better than us and they scored from a set-piece goal.
"I thought we started the second half really well and then unfortunately the officials didn't do their job in the 52nd minute.
"It was a big momentum changer. I thought Billy Sharp was offside for the initial cross and the ball was in Kalinic's hands and I think the lad went in with his studs to score.
"Then Sharp scored a third goal and I thought the game would drift away. But I made a couple of changes. Mings scored his goal and then you could feel something had changed in the game .
"We maintained the comeback with Tammy Abraham scoring a second before Green came up for his equaliser."