Fan adds insult to injury for troubled Taylor

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The Independent Online
Mark Burton sees oafish behaviour spoil an exciting 3-3 draw in the crucial First Division game at Bramall Lane

Graham Taylor took matters into his own hands when spat at by a fan after the final whistle had blown on a hugely entertaining game, the result of which put the day's most important issue beyond the Wolves manager's control.

The fate of the foolish fan, who was immediately identified by Sheffield United youth players and has been banned from the ground, now rests with Taylor, as the Sheffield police will bring a public order charge against the culprit only if the former England manager wants them to. With spittle running down his face, he had attempted to make a citizen's arrest, according to one spectator who was close to the incident, but the fan slipped from Taylor's grasp.

Minutes earlier, his side's target of automatic promotion to the Premiership had done likewise. Wolves players surrounded the referee venting their frustration after the whistle because when they had earlier asked him how much time was left, he told them three minutes.

But Neale Barry added on four minutes of injury time, and it was in the second of those that Jostein Flo scored United's equaliser. Now Wolves need the leaders, Middlesbrough, to drop points if they are to overhaul them.

The Norwegian's goal, headed in from Kingsley Black's cross, brought to a thunderous climax a match that had started with a bang, David Tuttle chopping down Robbie Dennison after 15 seconds with a tackle that deserved at least the yellow card it earned.

But it did the Blades no good. Failure to win for the seventh successive game meant even the play-offs were beyond them, but they are not within even a rousing Bramall Lane shout of Premiership class.

Nor for much of a match, for which both sides were without important players, were Wolves. There was nearly an hour gone before they equalised an early Dane Whitehouse penalty that had been carelessly conceded by Mark Venus for barging over Carl Veart.

Steve Bull, inaccurate and ineffective for much of the match, managed to bobble the ball across for Don Goodman to squeeze in their first, and then the Tipton Thunderbolt suddenly showed a glimpse of his renowned goalscoring ability to turn in Mark Rankine's cross and put Wolves ahead.

The lead lasted only seven minutes before Mark Foran powerfully headed an equaliser from a corner, but when David Kelly plunged to nod home another dangerous cross by Venus with seven minutes of normal time remaining, Wolves thought they had done enough.

Flo decided otherwise, metaphorically spitting in Taylor's eye, but that was an offence against neither public order nor a sense of order in the First Division.

Goals: Whitehouse pen (15) 1-0; Goodman (58) 1-1; Bull (65) 1-2; Foran (73) 2-2; D Kelly (83) 2-3; Flo (89) 3-3.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): A Kelly; Tuttle, Nilsen, Foran, Beesley; Veart (Flo, 73), Rogers, Hodges, Whitehouse (Black, 51); Scott, Blake. Substitute not used: Tracey (gk).

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Stowell; Blades (Thompson, 79), Richards, Shirtliff, Venus; Goodman, Cowans, Rankine, Dennison; Bull, D Kelly. Substitutes not used: Wright, Jones (gk).

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).

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