Sheffield United 1-1 Millwall: Chris Wilder’s men suffer blip in race for automatic promotion

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Sheffield United 1-1 Millwall: Chris Wilder’s 10 men suffer blip in race for automatic promotion as Jake Cooper nets last-gasp equaliser to earn visitors a vital point

  • Sheffield United slipped up at home as Jake Cooper secured a point for Millwall 
  • The defender scored in the dying embers of the match to make the score 1-1 
  • United had taken the lead early in the second half through striker Gary Madine 
  • The home side were reduced to 10 men when John Egan handled on the line 
  • Ben Marshall missed the resulting spot kick but Cooper scored right at the death 

Hard to top this for a finish. A late penalty miss, an even later equaliser and a moment of controversy in between.

It all ended with Sheffield United spilling two promotion points, Millwall gaining one in their battle to stay up and the home manager confronting the referee in the centre circle.

An angry Chris Wilder branded all of it ‘uncharacteristic’ from both himself and his side after Jake Cooper punished them deep in stoppage time.

Millwall players celebrated with their fans in the stands after Jake Cooper's last-gasp equaliser

Millwall players celebrated with their fans in the stands after Jake Cooper’s last-gasp equaliser

Cooper bundled the ball in the net from close range to send the away fans into pandemonium

Cooper bundled the ball in the net from close range to send the away fans into pandemonium

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder had some choice words for the officials at the end

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder had some choice words for the officials at the end 

Ben Marshall missed a penalty during the second half with his effort crashing off the crossbar

Ben Marshall missed a penalty during the second half with his effort crashing off the crossbar

Gary Madine's composed finish had given the home side the lead early on in the second half

Gary Madine’s composed finish had given the home side the lead early on in the second half

Bramall Lane had been holding its breath for a second time – after the let-off of Millwall substitute Ben Marshall scraping the bar from the spot.

Only for Cooper to pounce for the last-ditch leveller after a header from Tom Elliott, impressive from the bench, had been parried by Dean Henderson.

But the flashpoint for Wilder was just moments before when, at the other end, what he called a clear foul on David McGoldrick went unpunished.

The Blades boss called it ‘a terrible decision’ and ‘astonishing’ that referee Webb had ‘not seen a foul right in front of him.’ 

MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE

Sheffield United (3-5-2): Henderson, Basham (Madine 21), Egan, O’Connell, Freeman, Duffy (Coutts 72), Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Sharp (Cranie 64), McGoldrick;

Subs not used: Dowell, Hogan, Stearman, Moore

Scorers: Madine (51)

Booked: Fleck

Sent off: Egan (85)

Millwall (4-1-4-1): Martin, McLaughlin (Marshall 58), Cooper, Pearce, Romeo (O’Brien 81), Tunnicliffe (Elliot 70), Ferguson, Thompson, Leonard, Wallace, Gregory;

Subs not used: Meredith, Williams, Amos, Morison

Scorers: Cooper 90

Booked: Cooper

Att: 26,703 



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But Wilder insisted his players, and not the official, were most culpable. ‘We went backwards,’ he said after his side visibly recoiled from a winning position in the wake of Gary Madine’s 51st minute goal.

The cost was heavy in other respects, too. John Egan, who handled off the line from under the crossbar for the penalty award, will be banned for Friday’s visit of Nottingham Forest after being sent off.

In addition, skipper Billy Sharp and defender Chris Basham, both forced off, are major doubts with hamstring injuries.

But the day was a triumph for Millwall, beaten only once in their last six games. 

Millwall goalkeeper Dave Martin makes a good save by pushing the ball over his crossbar

Millwall goalkeeper Dave Martin makes a good save by pushing the ball over his crossbar

Chris Bashman mistimes his tackle and catches Milwall's Ryan Tunnicliffe during the first half

Chris Bashman mistimes his tackle and catches Milwall’s Ryan Tunnicliffe during the first half

David McGoldrick tries to take a shot from inside the box as Cooper tries to get a block on it

David McGoldrick tries to take a shot from inside the box as Cooper tries to get a block on it

Self-professed ‘Chris Wilder fan’ Neil Harris said: ‘It was the first time as a manager I’ve played five at the back.’

After falling behind, when Madine finished off a brilliant combination between McGoldrick and John Fleck, Millwall changed tack to throw everything forward.

‘Great credit to our players,’ said Harris. ‘We deserved a point and I’ll back us to stay up with three of our last five at home.’

Elliott played a major part. It was his header that produced what Harris jokingly called Egan’s ‘great save’ under the bar.

And there was agreement from Wilder, too, that Millwall deserved their point. 

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