Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said he almost hooked matchwinner Chris Basham in the first half of the 1-0 win at Leeds.
Second welcomed third to a bouncing Elland Road for an all-Yorkshire clash that could go a long way to deciding promotion to the Premier League.
Leeds were the better side on Saturday lunchtime but failed to capitalise on their chances, allowing Basham to fire the Blades to a 1-0 win that saw them usurp the hosts in the table and afterwards Wilder said he “was going to do what their manager does” and almost subbed the eventual hero.
“Great victory, not a great performance,” Sheffield United boss Wilder said.
“I’ve said all along I am not going to be embarrassed about winning against the run of play a little bit
“Because I think in 18 months at this football club, we’ve smashed some sides and not got what we’ve deserved.
“Half a dozen times last year, I’ve sat in my office thinking ‘how have we not won it?’ having drawn let alone lost it.
“It was a tough afternoon, a tough test for us and delighted against the run of play that we’ve come away with a result.”
The celebrations at full-time belied Wilder’s post-match comments downplaying the importance of this match in the automatic promotion race.
The Sheffield United manager repeated after that this was not a “season-defining” win but he was proud of the character epitomised by match-winner Basham.
“He’s done well to be the match-winner because he was coming off after 25 minutes because he was absolutely useless,” Wilder said.
“I was going to do what their manager does and drag him off, but we kept him in it and I think he epitomised what a Sheffield United player is.
“He dug himself out of a hole and other players dug him out of a hole because he didn’t have the greatest of halves of football.
“To come up with the winner was great for him. They’re a good side, a really good side.”
It was a case of what could have been for Leeds after dominating the first half and seeing Tyler Roberts hit the post with the scores still level.
Kiko Casilla was sent off late to rub salt into the hosts’ wounds, with head coach Marcelo Bielsa frustrated in a post-match press conference played out to the backdrop of a fire alarm.
“I don’t want to underestimate the victory of the opponent,” the Leeds boss said.
“If we analyse the game, we can’t be unsatisfied but we’re disappointed with the result.
“If the opinion is that we deserved to draw, I have a different opinion on it.
“What happened today has happened many times in the past games.
“To explain it again after such an important loss at home with our fans, our first half hour was very good.
“We conceded the last 10 minutes of the first half but we had less quality in the second half but we dominated and we had the feeling that we were dangerous.”