Let’s get it right all night

Set to start: Matty Phillips is expected to begin the MK Dons match on the wing.     Picture: Steve parkin
Set to start: Matty Phillips is expected to begin the MK Dons match on the wing. Picture: Steve parkin
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HOW damaging will be the loss of those four points snatched away by late goals in two of the last three games?

Not a question to ultimately be answered by Sheffield United followers until the business end of the season, of course, but Danny Wilson has no doubts that the latest, late blow, won’t have any effect on his players - although it might make them more determined to see the job out next time!

Late equalisers don’t often get much later than the sixth minute of stoppage time and it was a savage blow for the Blades when they were on the brink of a second away win in four days, not least with Leyton Orient being down to 10 men.

“We were all disappointed in not seeing it out,” said the Blades boss.

“But some of the decisions taken at vital times cost us - and not just when the goal was scored but before then.”

The Blades boss suggested they may even have fallen between two stools.

“We had the opportunity to run down the clock,” he said. “Six minutes is a long time but sometimes you can get carried away looking for a second goal.

“I know people will look at one aspect of that goal but people can make mistakes in midfield or wherever and they will get overlooked. We could rewind that DVD of that goal and there were four or five decisions by us that we made wrongly.

We should have been making better decisions. Next time I’d expect us to see it out.”

It plucked three points from their grasp leaving them with one just as happened in the city derby. But Wilson does not expect any adverse reaction - indeed, the opposite and can point to the result at Preston last week.

The draw with Wednesday and the way it came about could easily have had an adverse effect going into a tough game at Deepdale. Instead they produced one of the best League One results anywhere this season.

“We’ll put the Orient one behind us and go again - but, hopefully, learn lessons from it too,” said Wilson.

With Lee Williamson missing out with a shin injury, Wilson could start with Matty Phillips out wide. He may also recall Ched Evans to partner Billy Clarke. Saturday’s scorer Chris Porter picked up a knock although he is expected to be in the squad.

The club have written to Orient asking for their observations over the ‘spitting’ incident at the end of the game when Phillips was spat at by a home supporter who had got to the dug out.

“We hope he will be identified and dealt with,” he said.

“It is a disgusting thing to do but there is also the issue of how the fan got to the dug out area anyway.”

It is likely the Football League will ask for information if the club have not already reported the matter to them.

This will be the first time the two clubs have met although Danny Wilson provides a link - he managed MK Dons.

That was in 2004 and was the second manager the club had in League football after the ‘hi-jacking’ of the old Wimbledon club and its re-location to Milton Keynes.

“We played at the National Hockey Stadium and it was terrible playing there - no atmosphere and small crowds,” admits Danny.

“The club wasn’t popular, we had to beg, steal and borrow players and it was a difficult time, the club was trying to establish itself.

“But the move into the new ground was the biggest thing for the club and enabled it to move forward.”

On tonight’s game Wilson commented: “We’re talking fifth versus sixth here, a team close by us who are a good footballing side but I think that applies to us as well. We have to be mindful of how they play.”

Former Blades skipper David Holdsworth is the new manager of Blue Square Bet Premier club Lincoln City.

One to watch

Not too many Colombian-born players in League One but Angelo Balanta is one of them. However the left-sided striker came to this country as a youngster and is eligible to play for England if he gets the opportunity.

He is currently on loan from QPR for whom he scored his first senior goal on his third appearance against the Blades in February 2008 in a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.

History lesson

Few will need reminding that MK Dons earned notoriety amongst most soccer followers in 2004 when high-jacking the original Wimbledon FC and moving the South London club, lock, stock and barrel, to set up an entirely new camp up in Milton Keynes, at the time playing at the National Hockey Stadium.

In 2007, it became a ‘stand-alone’ club with no connection to Wimbledon.