Have your say: Blades keep cutting it fine but still call the shots

Neill Collins on the art of winning 1-0.
Neill Collins on the art of winning 1-0.
0
Have your say

During George Graham’s tenure at Highbury, the chant ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ became one of the most familiar in English football.

Now, almost two decades on, an heir apparent has emerged with Sheffield United having this season mastered the art of winning by the narrowest of margins.

Monday night’s victory over Portsmouth, achieved thanks to a second-half penalty by Neil Blackman, was the sixth time that the Blades have claimed all three points via a 1-0 winning margin.

With Danny Wilson’s team sitting in the top two courtesy of Monday’s win, clearly this ability to grind out results has become a crucial part of United’s armoury as they look to make up for last season’s heartache when promotion was snatched away not once but twice in a matter of weeks.

However, as a key member of the back four that kept a lively Portsmouth at bay, Neill Collins said: “At the end of the game, 1-0 is a great score.

“But during the match itself, it is a very fragile scoreline. Regardless of who you are playing in the world, if it is 1-0 and the opposition gets a corner or set-piece then they can snatch an equaliser.

“Having said that, we are seeing games out and the run we are on at the moment breeds confidence.

“When it is 1-0, teams at the bottom probably get a bit more nervous. But it is easy saying that after a game. So, while it is better to win 2-0 or 3-0, it is also important to be able to do what we are doing now.

“Don’t forget we have lost a few players since last season. Stephen Quinn, Lee Williamson and Matt Lawton all moved on and we’ve had to adapt. All of them were top players and losing personnel like those three makes a difference.”

United’s only league victories other than their 1-0 successes have come against Bournemouth (5-3) and Hartlepool United (2-1).

With their other seven outings having finished as draws, Wilson’s men boast the only remaining unbeaten record in the Football League.

Collins admits his team-mates can be proud of such an accolade but added: “It is good to be unbeaten, of course it is. But it will mean nothing come April if we are not out there on the Bramall Lane pitch celebrating.

“Last year, we had a fantastic time but our season ended up being defined by five minutes here and five minutes there. We won’t be getting carried away.

“Huddersfield had a huge unbeaten run last year but we finished well ahead of them so it didn’t mean an awful lot. It is the same with the league table.

“It is nicer being second rather than seventh or eighth but I don’t really look at the table at this stage. There are teams who perhaps aren’t up there at the moment.”