‘It wasn’t a red card’ blasts Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder

Referee David Coote shows the red card to Sheffield United's John Fleck (obscured)
Referee David Coote shows the red card to Sheffield United's John Fleck (obscured)
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SHEFFIELD UNITED boss Chris Wilder criticised the sending off of midfielder John Fleck as his Sheffield United team went down 2-1 at home to promotion rivals Bristol City

Jamie Paterson put the visitors ahead just before the break with a stunning strike, only for Leon Clarke to equalise shortly after the restart with another fine finish.

Mark Duffy twice hit the woodwork for the hosts, while Billy Sharp hit the top of the crossbar and then had a header turned onto the bar by goalkeeper Frank Fielding.

But the Blades were reduced to 10 men in the 59th minute when Fleck was shown a red card following a reckless challenge on Korey Smith.

It was the Blades, however, who went on to have the better chances, only to be beaten right at the end when Flint snatched a winner with a far-post finish from Bobby Reid’s cross.

“It’s a cruel game at times.” said United boss Wilder afterwards. “I didn’t think we deserved the defeat. I thought we did more than enough to win against a really good side that’s going well.

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp shows his frustration.

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp shows his frustration.

“I was delighted with the reaction from last Saturday (a 3-1 defeat at Millwall). I think we showed everybody in this division that we’re a decent side when we play as I know we can and we’re a match for anyone.

“Things aren’t really going for us but we’ve just got to keep going. Sometimes fortune doesn’t favour the brave.”

On the sending off, Wilder added: “The game has gone if you can’t tackle like that now. That was just a proper tackle and I don’t think it deserves a red card. Maybe the referee has been watching too many Premier League games.

“I can’t be disappointed with the performance because performance levels were up there with what I expect from the players.”

The game has gone if you can’t tackle like that now. That was just a proper tackle and I don’t think it deserves a red card. Maybe the referee has been watching too many Premier League games.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder

Lee Johnson praised his team’s resilience Bristol City’s resilience after they kept their 10-man hosts United at bay.

“It was a great win, first and foremost, and I’m delighted with the points,” said Johnson.

“I thought Sheffield United were outstanding and they were certainly the better side for the first 55 to 60 minutes. I had to change the shape three times and that was due to their relentless quality.

“My boys stuck in. It was about dealing with the atmosphere and dealing with the quality.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

“We got a bit of fortune with the sending-off. It probably was a sending-off and once they went down to 10 men, I thought we controlled the game.

“The boys have been fantastic. We didn’t have a great away record last season and maybe last year we would have caved under the relentless pressure.

“Korey Smith is not in great shape because he’s struggling to weight-bear and he’s got a nasty gash.”