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A POINT WAS THE LEAST WE DESERVED

18 February 2017

After picking up a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Sheffield United, Iron manager Graham Alexander stressed he was proud of his players.

Paddy Madden opened the scoring just after half-time before Billy Sharp equalised moments later and Scunthorpe were forced to end the game with 10 men as Harry Toffolo was sent off for a second bookable offence.

The players dug in well to see out the match and registered a valuable point away against League One’s table toppers, which Alexander was delighted with.

After the game, he told The Iron PlayerHD: “Considering everything we faced today, I think a point was the least that we deserved.

“Sheffield United were the better team for the whole of the first-half but we weathered that storm and in the second-half we were miles better.

“To go down to 10 men so early in the second-half and then to keep that point and nearly take all three with a shot that hit the post was a fantastic effort.

“We brought a big squad with us today and some weren’t involved in the side but they were all in the changing room before and after the game showing great support.

“That means a lot to me as the manager, seeing these players that are disappointed not to be playing still supporting the group and that showed in the performance today.

“The quality, effort and belief in that second-half was second to none and we need to build on that now.”

Madden’s goal was his eighth of the season and first since returning to the team following a spell on the sidelines through injury and sparked what turned out to be an impressive second-half display.

The red card awarded to Toffolo is one down note coming away from the Bramall Lane clash but Alexander was insistent that plenty of positives can still be taken.

“We spoke at half-time about a few things and I just think the players went out there with a weight off their shoulders,” he continued.

“It was good play between Levi (Sutton) and Daws (Stephen Dawson) out on the right and a great ball across which Paddy was there to finish off.

“We needed to get through the next five or ten minutes without conceding and we didn’t manage to do that but the red card made it a double whammy.

“The players showed a fantastic camaraderie and commitment to coming out of here with our heads held high and something to add onto our tally.

“It would have been easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves having just conceded the equaliser and then going down to 10 men but you could see the players were disciplined and committed to every action.

“I’m so proud of them today for getting that valuable point and showing people what we’re all about.”

It could have been different as both teams hit the post as the clock ticked down but the point signifies another important achievement in United’s promotion push.

Keen to highlight the need to build on the result, Alexander also praised midfielder Matt Crooks, who was making his first start in Iron colours.

He added: “The game is about inches – they also hit the post towards the end and it has gone back into Luke’s hands so you can say ifs and buts but I’m proud of what we’ve done here today in the second-half.

“We’ve taken a point, built on last Tuesday’s performance and gradually we’re getting back to what we’re about as a team.

“I’m really pleased that the players have still got that desire to do something this season and take advantage of the opportunity that we’ve created for ourselves.

“We’ve got 14 games to really drive it home but today was all about the here and now and being prepared to live or die today and we went out there and we lived.

“He (Crooks) grew into the game and, in the second-half, showed what he can do. He broke forward, carried the ball, got about and put a great shift in for the team.

“It’s another point on the tally and we have to push on and build on this next week.”

See much more from Graham Alexander on The Iron PlayerHD.

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