Bradford City 2 Sheffield United 2: Honours even in pulsating derby

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Picture: Philip Oldham/SportImage.
Sheffield United's Billy Sharp celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Picture: Philip Oldham/SportImage.
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THE only thing missing from a pulsating Yorkshire derby was a dramatic last gasp winner - and Valley Parade’s largest crowd of the season almost got that.

Ninety five minutes of an absorbing contest packed full of incident and bone-shuddering challenges had been played when James Hanson rose highest amid a goalmouth melee to meet Billy Knott’s corner.

The striker powered a trademark header goalwards and, for the second home game running, Bradford City looked to have snatched all three points at the death.

Then, though, Jose Baxter - straining every part of his 5ft 10in frame - rose to head the ball off the line and ensure Sheffield United’s valiant second half fightback would not go unrewarded.

The Blades, trailing to goals from James Meredith and Devante Cole, had seemed down and out as the game approached the final quarter.

Out of very little, however, the match turned as a seemingly innocuous throw-in led to Meredith, under pressure from Chris Basham, headed into his own net and, suddenly, the visitors were back in it.

Four minutes later, United were level thanks to Billy Sharp’s fifth goal in as many league appearances to set up a frantic finale that - at both ends - came oh-so-close to finding a dramatic winner.

First, Neill Collins was denied by a fantastic save from Jones one minute into stoppage time. Then, at the other end, Baxter did his bit to keep out Hanson and, immediately, referee Neil Swarbrick blew for full time - much to the annoyance of Phil Parkinson.