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Blackwell delighted by Blades spirit
Published : 13 Sep 2009 11:30:43
The Blades agonisingly missed out on a place in the Premier League when they were beaten by Burnley at Wembley but their 1-0 victory at Pride Park has maintained their unbeaten run in the league. Although it was not clear who had scored United's winner - the goal was credited to Blades defender Matt Kilgallon - Blackwell felt his team had deserved the victory. He said: "I cannot praise the lads enough. We had the end of last season to deal with and I am really pleased with the way they have acquitted themselves. "It's normally traumatic to lose in the play-off final and many teams struggle the following season but we have put down a good marker and set off at a good pace and I think it's all credit to the players." United might have wrapped this one up earlier if Darius Henderson's first-half effort had not been harshly wiped out by an offside flag. Blackwell said: "He was clearly onside, the TV cameras show it. It was a bad decision so I am glad that the goal, even though it was a bit scruffy, evened it out. "I don't know who scored it but you take your goals when they come and I thought that we were well worth the victory. "I think if that disallowed goal had counted we were so on top that we might have nicked something else. I thought it was a thoroughly professional performance today." Derby manager Nigel Clough was less impressed with his side after they once again played a part in a defeat that signalled the end of their unbeaten run at Pride Park this season. "I thought we were heading for 0-0 with 10 minutes to go and it was an absolutely ludicrous free-kick to give away near the corner flag," he said. "The ball ends up ricocheting in off (Rams striker Rob) Hulse but if you don't give free-kicks away the threat doesn't exist. "I am very disappointed in the manner in which we conceded the goal because we probably did enough to get a point. "We are losing our voices week in and week out, before games and during games saying don't give free-kicks away, especially in those areas. We are contributing too much to our own downfall." The game was short on moments of real quality but United felt they had broken through in the 19th minute when Jamie Ward burst clear to have a shot saved by Stephen Bywater and when Henderson knocked in the rebound, his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. Derby might have scored seven minutes later when Stephen Pearson volleyed over from 10 yards and the home side also struck the crossbar at the start of the second half. But the decisive moment came when Shaun Barker conceded a free-kick and when Keith Treacy floated the ball in and it drifted in as Kilgallon and Hulse challenged for it in the air.