Sheffield United 2 Gillingham 2: We threw two points away, says angry Chris Wilder

Billy Sharp celebrates his goal against Gillingham.  Pic Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage

Billy Sharp celebrates his goal against Gillingham. Pic Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage

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Sheffield United were left to rue a hatful of missed chances as they were held 2-2 against Gillingham at Bramall Lane.

United dominated the game, and led through Billy Sharp’s 18th goal of the season.

But against the run of play, the Gills took the lead with two Josh Wright goals in seven minutes at the start of the second half.

It needed a Kieron Freeman effort to level matters and earn the League One leaders a point.

The Blades were unchanged from the side which lost 4-1 at Walsall last week, meaning Matt Done remained as a wing-back with Daniel Lafferty injured.

It was one-way traffic from kick-off as United attacked with numbers.

Goalkeeper Stuart Nelson did well to push away John Fleck’s long-range effort while Billy Sharp could not keep his header on target from Jack O’Connell.

The Gills - sitting deep and getting 10 players behind the ball - had a rare chance on 19 minutes, but Elliott List fired wide.

The bright green boots of Kieron Freeman and Caolan Lavery then combined for United’s next chance.

Wing-back Freeman - sporting the bright footwear shared with his team-mate - drilled in a low cross, and Lavery was at the near post but poked the chance wide.

The Blades finally broke the stalemate on 32 minutes and it was a superb team goal.

Swift passing, involving Lavery, created the space for Sharp who fired home at the Bramall Lane end of the ground.

He twice came close to adding a second, but each time his low shot was turned away by the excellent Nelson.

Five minutes after half-time, the visitors stunned United by somehow finding an equaliser.

Poor defending allowed Josh Wright time in the box and he clipped the ball inside Simon Moore’s right-hand post.

The Blades went straight up the pitch and put the ball in the back of Nelson’s net, but Sharp’s header was ruled out for offside.

O’Donnell was inches away from finding the target with an header from Mark Duffy’s free-kick, but United were soon trailing.

Again, there seemed little danger from Ryan Jackson’s throw, but Wright crept in to nudge the Gills in front.

United had another goal chalked off for offside, before the equaliser came. Lavery’s effort was spilled by Nelson, and Freeman was lurking to blast the ball into the roof of the net.

Nelson twice denied substitute Marc McNulty, who saw his spectacular overhead kick go close, and Sharp headed wide but the Blades were unable to find a winner.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder was angered at his team’s wastefulness, saying: “We should’ve taken all three points, but we haven’t and we’ve got only ourselves to blame. We’re here to win football matches, we dominated the game.

“No disrespect to the opposition. I expect teams to come here and have a go but we’ve just managed to chuck a big two points away. It should’ve been done and dusted by half-time, three or four-nil. We should do better with the way we’re getting into really good positions.

“In the second half, I thought we were big-time. I thought we came out and thought it would just happen. Josh Wright has got in where we’ve missed about three or four challenges. It’s not good defending. They might say it’s good play, but it isn’t.

“From a game we’ve come in at half-time thinking we should be out of sight and we’re suddenly chasing. And again, we’ve missed chances or not done the right thing in the final third.”

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