Why the Sheffield derby will live long in the memory for Sheffield Wednesday No 1 Cameron Dawson

The 130th competitive Sheffield derby is a clash Cameron Dawson will remember for the rest of his life.

Saturday, 10th November 2018, 10:16 am
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 9:12 am
Wednesday No 1 Cameron Dawson

Dawson, a lifelong Owls fan and a graduate of the club's youth system, delivered a man of the match performance as Sheffield Wednesday claimed a hard-fought draw at Sheffield United on Friday.

"It meant the world to me to play in the fixture, especially when there have been questions asked," Dawson told The Star. "This (the Sheffield derby) is the biggest fixture in football for me because I have grown up in this city.

Wednesday No 1 Cameron Dawson

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"To play in the fixture and have the night that I had on Friday will live with me forever."

Dawson's standout moment came in the 15th minute when he dived to his left to push David McGoldrick's fierce low penalty around the post.

Asked what was going through his mind before the spot kick, Dawson said: "What a time to have another save!

"I was fortunate that the save last week (against Norwich) just buys you a bit of confidence.

Dawson saved David McGoldrick's first half penalty

"I was really backing myself to dig it out and I guessed right.

"To dig that penalty save out in front of our fans and hear them go barmy behind me was great.

"I will have to watch it back because it was all a bit of a blur from there on in."

Wednesday entered the contest on the back of four consecutive defeats. Few observers expected them to pick up a positive result at Bramall Lane.

Dawson is congratulated by his teammate Ash Baker at full-time

But the Owls eased the pressure on manager Jos Luhukay with a gritty, much-improved defensive showing.

"The boys gave absolutely everything," said Wednesday No 1 Dawson. "We have been questioned over the last four games and it was nice to have 11 lads out there fighting every last drop and every last minute for each other.

"Fortunately, we got the clean sheet in the end. It was pure graft for 90 minutes."

Other than the penalty, Dawson was not overly busy. He produced an excellent save early on to keep out John Fleck's 30-yard piledriver and pushed away a Oliver Norwood free kick in added on time but he was superbly protected by Wednesday's three-man backline.

Dawson with Nicky Weaver at the final whistle

On their defensive tactics, Dawson said: "I don't think you go into a game planning to defend but we needed to hang in there and take the game as deep as we could and we needed to make it a tight, uncomfortable game and make them work for everything they were going to get. I thought we did it on Friday.

"We restricted them to not many clear-cut chances.

"They were probably the better team footballing wise and they will be more disappointed with the point than we are.

"It is a good point for us coming away from home and off the back of four defeats when everyone was questioning us and what we do. To show that spirit shows what we have got in the dressing room."

Wednesday went back to basics, having let in 12 goals in defeats to Middlesbrough, Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City and Norwich City. They were compact, well-organised and defended resolutely to withstand wave after wave of pressure against their local rivals.

"When you are shipping in goals like we have been doing, it is time to go back to basics and earn the right to play nice football," conceded Dawson.

"We were never going to win a game at United going three or four nil down. It was not going to happen. It was an ugly point (on Firday) but I thought we deserved it and we will take it and move on."

The 23-year-old's handling and decision-making was immaculate on a wet, greasy playing surface.

After completing his post-match TV interview, Dawson headed over to the away end to salute the Owls' 2,100 plus travelling fans.

The young man left the field to a standing ovation and with the supporters singing 'he's one of our own.'

He said: "I'm a Sheffield boy and a Wednesday fan so to have that sort reception at the end was massive for me.

"You have to take it in and enjoy those moments because they don't come a long very often. I really wanted to enjoy that moment because that was 90 minutes hard graft."

Dawson cut an emotional figure on the touchline when he conducted his local press duties after Friday's pulsating tussle. It meant everything to him to keep a shut out at the 17th attempt.

"I was massively relieved to keep a clean sheet," he said. "Of course, you are going to get questions asked (when you are conceding goals) and that's fine.

"I have been saying it does not bother me and the lads have said it doesn't bother them but I think, deep down, if you go 16 games without keeping a clean sheet it is going to affect people and it is in the back of their minds.

"We were all deflecting and saying we were getting on with it but it was important and massive to keep a clean sheet. Hopefully it gives everyone a lift now that we can go and win games 1-0 or 2-0 and really start from a solid base."