'Inspired' Rochdale goalkeeper the difference, says Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins after 2-0 defeat

Nigel Adkins on the touchline against Rochdale
Nigel Adkins on the touchline against Rochdale

Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins says an 'inspired' performance from Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis denied his side victory at Spotland as the Blades to a 2-0 defeat.

United dominated the game for an hour and they were denied on a number of occasions, particularly in the first half, by Lillis, who played under Adkins at Scunthorpe.

MATCH REPORT: Rochdale 2 Sheffield United 0

But in the 67th minute Peter Vincenti put the home side in front before the lead was doubled by Grant Holt and from there, there was no way back for Adkins'

Blades boss Adkins felt his side held the upper hand for the majority of the game, but paid tribute to the home goalkeeper, who kept the scoreline level before Vincenti broke the deadlock.

"I thought we played really well in the first half, I think our traveling supporters would agree with that one," he told BBC Radio Sheffield. "Josh Lillis in goal was inspired, it's fair to say. I thought we were dominant, we were on the front foot, it was a lively pitch, no excuses there. I thought we got ourselves on the front foot, played forward, created chances, had energy about ourselves but it's about scoring goals and unfortunately the goalkeeper was very, very inspired.

"Even in the second half I thought we started brightly enough - we had chances in the second half. That's probably their first chance they've had and they've gone and scored. There's a bit of a melee in the penalty area, our players lost the goalscorer, he's got a free shot on goal and goes and scores it and makes it more challenging for us.

"We've come here to win a game, for a good hour we were on the front foot, trying to impose ourselves to make that happen (but) it's about results, so I can't explain it any more than that."

Adkins added: "You've seen us play well there, I don't think anyone could deny that. We have created chances and been assertive in our play but as I keep saying, it's about sticking it in one end and keeping it out in the other."