DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, hailed a “terrific” display after watching his team book their place in the League One play-off final at Wembley.
Chris Porter scored the only goal of a nerve-wracking semi-final with Stevenage during the closing stages of last night’s decisive leg at Bramall Lane.
And Wilson, revealing Porter’s fellow marksman Richard Cresswell had been forced to withdraw before kick-off due to an eye infection, said: “I thought we deserved it because we produced some terrific stuff. But the hardest part is still to come. For us, this takes us another step closer towards taking us where we want to be.
“But for the fans, going down there is something they absolutely warrant. The support they gave us at 0-0 was magnificent. I never felt they were anxious and, for the lads out there, that was very important.”
Wilson added: “I take nothing away from Stevenage though. I thought they were excellent too and really gave it their all. They’ve got no reason to be anything other than proud.”
Despite finishing 17 points and three places ahead of their opponents, United were pushed all the way by Gary Smith’s side throughout 180 minutes of combative action. Ryan Flynn twice went close during the opening exchanges of the second half before Steve Simonsen made a superb save to deny Scott Laird as Stevenage threatened on the break. It proved to be a defining moment as United, who will face either Huddersfield or MK Dons for the right to compete in the Championship next term, grabbed a late but deserved winner when Porter converted Matthew Lowton’s cross.
Wilson, who confirmed midfielder Kevin McDonald sustained a hamstring complaint, added: “I felt sorry for Cressy because he’s such a committed professional and was desperate to be involved. But it’s nothing too serious and in 24 hours he’ll be okay.”