VIDEO: Adkins hails gritty Sheffield United

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Nigel Adkins praised his team’s “grit, character and determination” after Sheffield United averted a potential crisis against Southend.

The Blades were teetering on the brink of a third straight League One defeat during Saturday’s match at Bramall Lane when the visitors raced in to a 2-0 lead but remained eighth when Neill Collins levelled before the interval.

Neill Collins is congratulated after scoring the equalising goal against Southend

Neill Collins is congratulated after scoring the equalising goal against Southend

Adkins, who had earlier seen Jose Baxter reduce the deficit, was ultimately left frustrated after the midfielder, Billy Sharp and Chris Basham all hit the woodwork during a one-sided second-half but said: “At two down, an atmosphere will always be an atmosphere, but great credit to the players. They showed resilience.

“The second-half was all us, I thought it was a great display from the players. We hit the post three times, were on the front foot, we were in the ascendancy, but always likely to be vulnerable on the counter-attack in that situation. They had one shot near the end which went over the crossbar, but we had three or four players putting their bodies on the line, so that was good.”

United, who face Walsall this weekend, fell behind when Ryan Leonard’s long-range drive flew in off the post.

Jack Payne doubled Southend’s advantage but Adkins added: “Credit to the lads, they showed resilience, grit, character and determination to keep going. It’s fine margins.

“We have hit the post three times, they hit the post once and it goes in. We just have to keep working hard. Show attention to detail. It was unfortunate we didn’t come away with a victory, but it was important we didn’t get beat as well.”