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Match Reports

Report: Owls 2-4 Blades

24 September 2017

A ding-dong derby tussle went the way of Sheffield United as they emerged 4-2 winners over Wednesday in S6.

The Blades burst into an early two-goal lead through John Fleck and Leon Clarke before being pegged back, firstly by Gary Hooper moments before the break and then Lucas Joao in the second half.

But crucially, the Owls conceded just after hauling themselves back into the game when Mark Duffy smashed a third.

And chasing a share of the spoils, Wednesday pushed forward, leaving Clarke to strike on the counter to make the points safe.

After the teams emerged to a white hot atmosphere at Hillsborough, there was little time for the game to settle into a pattern as the Blades found their rhythm and struck twice inside the early exchanges.

First, on three minutes, United won a free kick right in the ‘D’ and Fleck drilled a low drive that flew past Keiren Westwood and into the bottom corner.

Then, after a bout of Owls pressure, the Blades broke and doubled their advantage.

George Baldock punted a hopeful ball forward and Clarke burst into space to advance and fire hard to punish his former employers.

Wednesday were stunned and in truth it was the visitors who went on to ask more of the first half questions.

United had a string of corners and almost profited when the ball fell kindly to Chris Basham just inside the box but the midfielder shot over the crossbar.

The Owls came back into the contest as the interval approached and got their reward right on the whistle.

Ross Wallace hooked into the danger zone and Hooper was on hand to stab home at the near post.

That goal changed not only the atmosphere but also the swing of the game as Wednesday came out for the second period a changed side.

The Blades’ defence was under siege, with the Owls launching one attack after the other and Hooper came within a whisker of taking a lofted ball into his stride having beaten the offside trap.

United still looked likely, though, as the minutes ticked by and not least just past the hour when Clarke had time and space on the angle inside the penalty area but his effort was high and wide.

Then the derby truly exploded into life with two goals in as many minutes.

Substitute Joao picked up a neat through ball from Reach on 66 minutes and gave Jamal Blackman no chance with a thunderous drive into the roof of the Kop net.

But just as Wednesday’s tails were up, they were promptly clipped when substitute Duffy went on a mazy run down the right channel, cut inside and unleased a blistering hit to restore the lead.

It was now end to end and Westwood came to the Owls’ rescue next, diving athletically to keep out a fierce effort from the tricky David Brooks.

But ultimately the day belonged to United and on 76 minutes they made the points safe.

Clarke managed to wriggle his way into the danger zone and as Westwood advanced, the forward lifted cleverly to put the 141st Steel City to bed.

Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, van Aken, Reach, Lee, Bannan, Jones (Joao 46), Wallace (Butterfield 78), Hooper, Fletcher (Rhodes 68)


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