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Paul Heckingbottom has mixed feelings as Sheffield United draw at Bristol City

Paul Heckingbottom’s Sheffield United drew at Bristol City (David Davies/PA)
Paul Heckingbottom’s Sheffield United drew at Bristol City (David Davies/PA)

Paul Heckingbottom was both pleased and frustrated after seeing Morgan Gibbs-White keep Sheffield United’s Championship play-off hopes on track with a precious equaliser in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Bristol City.

City took a 49th-minute lead when Antoine Semenyo broke down the left onto a long clearance from goalkeeper Dan Bentley and crossed the ball low for Chris Martin to fire home.

But United levelled on the hour when Bentley saved a low shot from Enda Stevens, only for Gibbs-White to acrobatically volley in the rebound from eight yards.

Blades boss Heckingbottom said: “I’m pleased with the performance and the mentality the lads showed after falling behind to a team who are excellent on the counter-attack – but I am frustrated too.

“Only time will tell whether it’s a good point towards our target. I see it as two lost because we missed good chances when on top.

“We were in control in the first half, but their goal totally changed the dynamic of the game.

“From then on we had to take more chances and leave ourselves more open to being hit on the break.

“Even so, we are in the play-off zone with three games left and there was a time when we would have bitten anyone’s hand off for that position.

“We now need to enjoy the situation we have created. Other results will have a say, but we need to focus fully on our own performances.”

United should have been ahead at the break. Bentley saved bravely from a Gibbs-White shot, while Iliman Ndiaye fired wildly over with the goal at his mercy.

But City upped their game after the break and created clear opportunities themselves, which Semenyo, Martin and defender Rob Atkinson failed to take.

Their manager Nigel Pearson said: “It was a fully-committed performance of the sort we need to produce on a more consistent basis.

“We gave the ball away too cheaply in the first half, but you have to give Sheffield United some credit for that.

“After the break we were better in our choice of pass and created some very good chances.

“Both sides went all out to win the game and that made it interesting throughout. I was delighted with the application of my players.

“Chris Martin’s goal took his tally to 10 for the season and he deserves more for his contribution to the team.

“With Andreas Weimann on 19 goals, it has not been a bad season for our strikers. Our big problem has been the number we have conceded.

“But there are positive signs. I didn’t want us to stumble over the line by losing our final games and I’m pleased to say that is not happening.”

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