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Gaffer's second-leg verdict

12 May 2015

Nigel Clough tried to keep his thoughts in perspective, as United's 63 game season came to a close following a remarkable night in the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final second-leg against Swindon Town at the County Ground.


The Blades, looking to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first-leg, shared ten goals with the Robins on a bizarre night in Wiltshire, despite United's never-say-die mentality the attempted fightback fell agonisingly short, despite rallying from 3-0 and 5-3 down.


Looking back, Clough remarked: "Over the course of the two games I don't think we deserved to lose the tie, we were very unfortunate to be defeated in the first-leg at Bramall Lane and ultimately that has cost us.


"We conceded soft goals early on, but it was a weird first 20 minutes, we had three chances and so did Swindon, the difference is they scored three times.


"The first goal is a screamer, but the other two are poor ones to give away especially in such a game, but Flynny heads over and Bob Harris shoots wide, if they go in it could have easily been 3-3.


"We had to setup in an attacking manner which potentially leaves the defence exposed a bit more and they didn't manage to cope as a unit.


"The penalty was a big blow for us, we were just getting at them and looking to get within one goal, then they scored from effectively a long punt up the field, but we felt Craig Alcock was fouled by the lad Smith, again decisions went against us."


The Gaffer continued: "At the other end we had plenty of possession and we said a goal at any time could change the game and it did. Everyone was understandably fearing the worst at 3-0, but we got two goals back quickly and suddenly it was all to play for again.


"We were in it right until the end, we can't ask for any more from the players, they showed great character.


"We showed a tremendous amount of resolve, desire and determination though, not just to score five goals but to create the number of chances over the two legs, we could have won four matches we created that many, but ultimately you have to be ruthless and we haven't been.


"The lads and everyone in the dressing room are devastated because we have failed to achieve our aim of winning promotion, but if you are to fail you do so fighting and we did that until the final whistle which offers encouragement."


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