If a Premier League player had produced the pass which created Billy Sharp’s goal at Bradford City on Sunday then we would have been watching, hearing and reading about it until kingdom come, writes James Shield.
But Jose Baxter represents Sheffield United, not Swansea City or Southampton, so his inch-perfect assist slipped under the radar. Although, he explained ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Doncaster Rovers, the attacking options at Nigel Adkins’ disposal means there could be plenty more to come.
“The pass was alright but Billy’s movement made my mind up to be fair,” Baxter told The Star. “The last thing you want is nobody in front of you moving. Once I got it on the half-turn, he made it easy.
“Sparky (Marc McNulty), Billy, Sammo (Conor Sammon) and even Higgy (Michael Higdon) when he comes on, how he pulls off the shoulder of defenders, they are great for us a little further back.
“Their movement makes it easier for us and tougher for the opposition. They’re brilliant to work with and you’ve got to be looking for that ball every time you get it in there.”
Baxter’s entrance as a second-half substitute proved the defining moment of United’s game against Phil Parkinson’s side. Trailing 2-0 at the time, the former Everton midfielder created the goal which enabled the visitors to draw level before preserving their point by clearing James Hanson’s 95th minute header off the line.
“The clearance came from a bit of advice I got from (Chris Morgan) Morgs,” Baxter revealed. “He told me, once you see the ball go over your head, do whatever it takes to get back on the line.
“That’s what you’ve got to do when you get a near post job. I heard Chomp (Mark Howard) shouting he had someone pinning him down and that a man had got away so that’s what I did. You’ve got to stay switched on at all times because we want to be scoring, not conceding, last minute goals.”
United are seventh in the League One table, four points behind second-placed Walsall. Rovers, meanwhile, are 22nd after drawing with Oldham Athletic, Baxter’s previous club, four days ago.
“Bradford are a great team with a good squad and some really good players on the bench so usually you’d walk away happy with a point,” he said. “But with the expectations we’ve set ourselves and where we want to be, we were a bit disappointed.”