Oldham 1 Sheffield United 1: Blades failed to adapt to bare pitch, admits Wilder

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder (Photo: Sportsimage)
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder (Photo: Sportsimage)
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JAY O’SHEA ensured Sheffield United’s unbeaten run stretched to double figures on a dreadful pitch at Boundary Park.

On a surface featuring more bare earth and sand than grass, the contest proved a dour one with constructive passages of play at a premium.

Amid the poor fare, however, there were a couple of decent moves and these brought the two goals in front of a bumper 8,448 crowd.

The first of those came on 44 minutes, as Paul Green’s deft pass released Josh Law down the right and his cross was converted by Latics striker Tope Obadeyi.

"Battling was the word, there wasn't much football played," said Blades boss Chris Wilder.

"They booted it better than us first half and we possibly booted it better than them in the second half.

"It was always going to be a tough game. We understood the conditions. I said no excuses.

"We are known as a passing team and we didn't adjust very well in the first half.

"There's no need for anyone to be down about today. I don't see it as two points dropped. It's an accumalation of points over this season and I believe this will be an important point."

Up until the Latics’ opener, chances had been few and far between in conditions that made anything but a lump of the ball forward a risky strategy.

Kieron Freeman did fire wide with the Blades’ best opening on eight minutes, while Law should have done a lot better than head over when unmarked at the other end from a Lee Erwin cross.

Otherwise, there was little to excite the crowd in bright sunshine before Obadeyi struck a minute before the interval.

United responded within five minutes of the restart. A cross that hung in the Lancashire air was met by James Hanson and his knock-down found O’Shea, who rifled in an unstoppable shot from 20 yards.

Jack O’Connell then went close for the Blades from a corner before Erwin fired into the side-netting at the other end.

The Leeds United loanee had earlier been unfortunate to see a deft header bounce wide of Simon Moore’s post but, come the final whistle, it was the Blades rueing two late spurned opportunities.

First, Billy Sharp fired over after good work from Paul Coutts and then George Edmundson bravely blocked a Caolan Lavery effort following a scramble.

Sharp was then denied by goalkeeper Conor Ripley in stoppage time to ensure a poor match ended with honours even as the Blades advantage at the top of League One was cut to four points by Bolton Wanderers’ win at Shrewsbury Town