Sheffield United 1 Millwall 1: Wilder praises Lions after stalemate

Sheffield United 1 Millwall 1.
Sheffield United 1 Millwall 1.
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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder was full of praise for Millwall, who extended their remarkable unbeaten league run to 17 games.

He said: "You've not gone on that run without having something about you and we knew that.

"They were playing with a lot of confidence which the run brings and they're a tough team to beat. They get a lot of people behind the ball.

"Going the other way, the front two are a real good pair and they've got some good players. They've recruited well and they're playing with a freedom and a confidence so we always knew it was going to be a real difficult game.

"But we believed that if we played the way that we can, that we can win this game and obviously sticking our noses in front in a tight game after 70-odd minutes, was the position we wanted to be in."

Millwall boss Neil Harris felt his side had picked up an "excellent point" in their quest for a top-six finish after battling back for a 1-1 draw at Sheffield United.

Leon Clarke put United ahead with just 16 minutes remaining at Bramall Lane but Millwall were level inside two minutes thanks to Steve Morison.

The result means the Lions, who started the day in fifth, remain three points ahead of the Blades in the race for a berth in the Championship play-offs.

Harris said: "It was a point gained for us, definitely.

"First and foremost, credit to both sides. A fantastic atmosphere here, I used to love playing at Bramall Lane and that today was a great, great atmosphere at this level.

"And two sides with so much at stake, still managed to produce some really good moments of football. But it's a good point for us because it keeps the distance between us and Sheffield United.

"Also to be one goal down here and then to come back so quick, that means it's an excellent point."

Morison started Tuesday's 2-0 win at Bolton on the bench but the 34-year-old returned to the starting line-up on Saturday and netted his fifth goal of the season when he beat Jamal Blackman with a cool low finish

Harris was pleased to see his decision to rest the former Norwich and Leeds in midweek pay dividends.

He said: "I just felt with the importance of today against Sheffield United's really disciplined shape and their freedom of play that Steve's leadership would be key and a fresh Steve Morison was key.

"I'm pleased I made the decision to rest him during the week because Tom (Elliot) scored the first goal then and 'Morro' scored today."

Sixth-placed Millwall stretched their unbeaten run to 17 matches thanks to recalled captain and former Leeds striker Steve Morison quickly cancelling out Leon Clarke's 18th goal of the season for the Blades, who remain outside of the play-offs, in the 74th minute.

Chris Wilder made two changes to the side which had defeated Middlesbrough in midweek.

Central defender Richard Stearman replaced Jake Wright after recovering from hamstring trouble and goalkeeper Jamal Blackman returned from suspension for Simon Moore.

Millwall chief Neil Harris made one change, Morison replacing Tom Elliott.

A curling 25-yarder from midweek scoring hero Lee Evans which went narrowly wide of the far post was as close as either side went in the opening stages.

An unmarked Shaun Hutchinson headed staight at Blackman from Millwall's second corner midway through the half and John Fleck weaved past three players at the other end before firing at Jordan Archer.

Stearman also tested Archer from outside the area but overall, however, it was a lacklustre opening half considering there was so much at stake.

Wilder made a change at the break, bringing on Mark Duffy for John Lundstram in midfield.

The Blades had an escape when Lee Gregory intercepted Duffy's back pass but hit into the side-neting from wide out.

The Blades responded and although Leon Clarke missed John Fleck's cross, George Baldock arrived at the far post to hit the ball into the ground only to see Archer punch the ball out for a corner.

Billy Sharp replaced David Brooks after 59 minutes as the Blades strove for a breakthrough.

Blackman, however, came to the rescue for the Blades, going full length to keep out Jake Cooper's header from a corner.

Daniel Lafferty became the third Blades change when he replaced Stearman.

The Blades finally struck when the ball was returned to Evans after his initial corner had been cleared. He whipped the ball back in and Jack O'Connell stretched to knock it back across goal where Clarke stooped to head home in front of the Kop in the 74th minute.

However, the Blades switched off and a long ball from Jake Cooper found an unmarked Morison, who calmly slotted the equaliser past Blackman just two minutes after the opener.

Evans went close to restoring the lead but Archer tipped over his long-range effort.

Chris Basham's penalty area push on Jed Wallace went unpunished as Millwall won a corner which the Blades defender would have turned into his own net had it not been for a reflex save from Blackman.

Archer was just as agile at the other end in keeping out Sharp's instep volley from inside the six-yard area.

Duffy then held his head at seeing his shot from the edge of the area deflected for a corner as the match ended in stalemate.