BY JAKE SANDERS
Neil Harris thought his side deserved a point and hailed their character after they bounced back from missing a penalty to score an injury-time leveller at Sheffield United.
Jake Cooper headed home in the fifth minute of added-time to keep the Lions two points above the Championship relegation zone and extend their unbeaten run to three matches.
It was no less than they deserved, according to Harris.
He said: “I’m delighted with a point. I think we deserved it. Firstly, huge credit to Chrissy Wilder and this football club for where they are at the moment. He has not been getting carried away, but managers and players alike in the game respect what he has done here.
“It’s the first time I’ve played a back five as a manager and I did it to try and combat Sheffield United and how good they are.
“We wanted to stay in the game as long as possible to try and combat their strengths of getting around the outside and putting balls into the box. And it just goes to show even us going to a back five, whatever you do it’s difficult to stop them.
“I was disappointed with the goal we conceded, but I’m delighted with the character and belief we showed to get back into the game. Even at 11 versus 11 we were in the ascendancy. I thought the penalty would be telling. It was a great save on the line [from John Egan], a cracking save that stops it going to 1-1.
“We were in the ascendancy and if we had got it back to 1-1, I fancied us to go on and win the game.
“If we had scored the penalty I expected us to go on and win the game 10 versus 11, the way we had been playing. I can’t fault the players, they were outstanding coming to Bramall Lane at this stage of the season and getting a point. It was a great effort.”
Gary Madine had put Sheffield United in sight of what would have been a crucial victory for them, but Harris’ side were handed – quite literally – a golden opportunity to level three minutes from time after Egan handled Tom Elliott’s header on the line.
The Blades captain was given his marching orders before Ben Marshall struck the bar from the resulting spot-kick.
Harris said: “What we might lack in certain qualities as a club and what we can afford, we won’t be let down on desire and character and spirit in the group.
“We have to play off that hugely. The boys didn’t stop, that’s the great thing. We keep going to the end, we always think there’s going to be another chance.”