Sheffield derby: Sheffield United dominate but Cameron Dawson stands tall to become Sheffield Wednesday hero on the night critics were silencedÂ

A week is a long time in football, just ask Cameron Dawson.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 9th November 2018, 11:54 pm
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 9:11 am
Sheffield Wednesday hero Cameron Dawson

A large section of Wednesday's fan-base chanted for frozen out goalkeeper Keiren Westwood to be recalled in the second half of Saturday's 4-0 home drubbing to Norwich City.

But in an animated, passionate pre-match press conference ahead of the Sheffield derby, manager Jos Luhukay leapt to the defence of Dawson. He reiterated his belief in his young shot-stopper. He insisted the boyhood Owl had his 100 per cent trust and confidence.

Fast forward to a trip to arch rivals Sheffield United and Dawson repaid Luhukay's faith and them some as Wednesday recorded their first Championship clean sheet of the season.

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His outstanding 15th minute penalty save to deny David McGoldrick will grab the headlines but Dawson looked assured throughout. He was critical to Wednesday stopping the rot and halting a four-match losing strak.

Dawson barely put a foot wrong and rightly scooped the man of the match award. No wonder goalkeeping coach Nicky Weaver gave him a big bare hug at full time. It felt like a night where Dawson came of age.

'He's one of our own' bellowed Wednesday's 2,100 plus travelling fans. It was one of Wednesday's own who saved the day.

No one was calling for another goalkeeper this time. From zero to hero in seven days. How quickly fortunes can change in football.

It has to be said Dawson was expertly marshalled by Tom Lees, Michael Hector and Jordan Thorniley. Under-fire Luhukay switched to a three-man defence - the same formation he played in the goalless draw in his first match in charge at Bramall Lane last January - and it worked a treat as United missed the opportunity to go top.

Prior to kick-off, Steel City's football clubs joined forces to mark the Armistice centenary and Remembrance weekend.

Lees and lifelong Blade Billy Sharp, the captains of both sides, laid wreaths at both ends of the pitch. Members of the Army, Royal Navy, Marines and Air Force also laid wreaths in the centre circle.

Both sides wore poppies on their jerseys to pay respects to members of the armed forces, past and present.

Both sides stood for the sound of The Last Post, which was played by bugler Glyn Beyington.

Both sides and sets of supporters then did their clubs proud in an impeccably observed minute's silence.

An image of falling poppies was also displayed on the big screen with the words '˜Sheffield Remembers.'

It was a moving Remembrance tribute. A beautiful way to pay respect our war heroes. A touch of class.

And after a rousing rendition of 'Greasy Chip Butty', United and their marauding centre-halves began the 130th competitive instalment of one of English football's fiercest rivalries on the front foot. Their slick, sharp, enterprising football gave Wednesday's brittle defence plenty to ponder.

Dawson made his first telling contribution in the fifth minute, pulling off a stunning stop at full stretch to his left to turn behind John Fleck's 30 yard piledriver as United made all the early running at a rain-lashed Bramall Lane.

Dawson, playing in his first ever Steel City derby, rose to the occasion.

'Super, super Cammy Dawson' chanted Wednesday's sold-out away end after his magnificent left-handed penalty save to thwart former Owls loanee David McGoldrick. Two matches in seven days. Two Dawson penalty saves.

'It was a massive point in the game,' admitted Dawson. 'Luckily I guessed right and made the save.'

As expected, United enjoyed the lion-share of possession. They controlled the tempo and rhythm for long periods in a contest packed full of endeavour but low on genuine quality. They created the majority of the chances in a cagey, nervy affair.

But Wednesday put men behind the ball and defended resolutely. Led by the inspirational Hector, the Owls parked the bus and frustrated United. Players rolled up their sleeves, battled hard and threw their bodies on the line.

No one could fault their effort and togetherness. This was a spirited, gritty performance. Many Wednesdayites will be wondering where this fight and character was in the second half against Norwich last week where they caved in and simply accepted their fate.

In a battle of wills, the tackles flew in and tempers momentarily flared. Barry Bannan, Ash Baker and Michael Hector went in the book in the second half.

United ran out of ideas. Wednesday defended as if their lives depended on it.

It was fitting Dawson had the final touch, palming away Oliver Norwood's long range free kick. This was a Remembrance experience Dawson will not forget in a hurry.