Europa Conference League final previewMay 24 | 4 min read
Ryan Lowe rejoices in Preston’s resilience after draw with Sheffield United
Ten-man North End fought back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw.
Ryan Lowe rejoiced in his first glimpse of Preston’s true potential as they battled back to claim a late 2-2 draw with Sheffield United.
The hosts looked down and out after Jayden Bogle and Billy Sharp scored for the Blades before half-time, while Andrew Hughes was sent off.
But Lowe’s 10 men staged a dramatic turnaround late on, grabbing a point thanks to goals from Alan Browne and Emil Riis.
“I’m pleased with the character, resilience and desire of the boys,” said Lowe.
“Being 2-0 down at half-time is a tough scoreline. To have 10 men, I just asked the lads to give it everything they’ve got.
“We changed one or two bodies at half-time and changed a couple of things around and when we got that goal back, we felt we’d get another couple of chances.
“What a fantastic reaction from the group. They’re a good set of lads and that’s the first time I’ve seen something that’s made me think they can be a special group.”
The Blades scored with their second meaningful attack when Bogle smashed a low drive through a forest of bodies after John Egan’s bullet header was saved.
That was United’s first goal for nearly five hours of football and they would add a second before the break after Rhian Brewster raced through on goal before being hauled down by Hughes, who saw red for the challenge.
That left the door open for a Preston fightback and they halved the deficit with 19 minutes remaining as Browne calmly converted from 10 yards.
Ex-Blade Ched Evans set up Riis to dramatically prod home from close range to make it 2-2 in the dying minutes.
The result leaves both teams locked in mid-table on 33 points, though Sheffield United move into the top half on goal difference.
Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom was disappointed with the second half.
He said: “We threw it away. We undid so much good work at both ends of the pitch.
“It could have been three, four or five. We had some good chances from some good play and then there were two killer blows at the end.
‘We had more than enough experience on the pitch to see it out. It’s a sucker punch and a tough one to take.
“I think we made some shocking decisions at key moments. We should have been out of sight and we will look at that. It’s really disappointing.
“But they were strange circumstances. If they had had 11 men, that wouldn’t have happened.
“There are things for me to look at, definitely, and the overriding message is that we’ve undone all that good work.”