Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, praised his team’s never-say-die approach after Billy Sharp’s dramatic last gasp winner against Crewe Alexandra kept its League One play-off hopes alive.
Sharp scored his 17th goal of the season to move United within four points of sixth-place after the visitors had threatened to snatch a draw despite trailing 2-0 midway through the second-half.
Although Adkins admitted their performance was far from perfect - “We should have been four or five up by the time we went ahead” - he predicted United’s firepower, combined with “our tremendous character”, means it would be a mistake to rule them out of the promotion race.
“Yes, people will always look at a negative more than a positive,” Adkins said.
“We can always focus on the negatives but we’ve won and shown grit. Yes, we got pegged back but we kept going, showed grit and resiliance. That’s what we’ve got to do until now and the end of the season. We needed to win and that’s what we did.”
“For me, the first-half performance gives me a lot of belief and hope going forward,” Adkins added. “I thought we were exhilarating, exactly how I want us to play.”
Not for the first time this season, Sharp came to United’s rescue when he turned home Louis Reed’s 87th minute cross after David Fox and Harry Davis, once considered for a move to Bramall Lane, had dragged Crewe level.
But the hosts’ hard-nosed attitude was best exemplified by Che Adams who, having been dropped from the starting eleven last weekend, celebrated his return by scoring the opener before Ryan Flynn doubled their lead.
“We’ve got players who can score goals,” Adkins said.
“Billy, Che and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. There was one moment when Dom brought the ball down with his foot when it was above his head. Wow, that was brilliant. Ballerina’esque.”