Kieron Freeman, the Sheffield United defender, last night revealed Swindon Town’s wild celebrations at the end of Thursday’s League One play-off semi-final first leg have served to make Nigel Clough’s side more determined to reach Wembley later this month, writes James Shield.
Mark Cooper’s side enter Monday’s return at the County Ground with a slender advantage after Nathan Byrne’s 90th minute goal saw them record a controversial 2-1 win.
But Freeman, who had earlier given United a deserved lead, told The Star: “They were celebrating as if they were through. They were probably buzzing because they knew they didn’t deserve to win the game.
“But that’s even better for us. The gaffer said to us at the end ‘they think they’re through.’ We’ll see. There’s Monday to go now.”
Clough, the United manager, was hugely critical of referee Darren Bond’s performance during a contest which saw Jamie Murphy denied a “blatant” first-half penalty before substitute Matt Done later had a goal disallowed.
Despite failing to seize control of the tie, Freeman insisted Swindon could find themselves in an unenviable situation during next week’s return.
“Their fans, at home, will want them to perform,” he said. “But with a 2-1 lead do they defend or do they attack? We’ll have to wait and see.
“They’ve got the one way they like to play. They pass the ball but we pressurised them into so many mistakes.
“That might play to our favour. It might make them more cautious and we can make them make even more mistakes.”