FAN REPORT: Late derby drama devastates Blades, by Sam Fletcher

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SHEFFIELD United was robbed of three points by Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday, having led 2-0 in the derby match on Sunday afternoon.

With both sides battling it out for promotion places in League One, the intense encounter had more than reputation at stake.

This season’s record attendance at the Lane was to be expected with the Owls filling all of their allocated seats but what was to be revealed in the first half would come as more of a shock.

The Sheffield sides haven’t met at Bramall Lane for over two years and it was clear that the fans were appreciating every moment - the players entered centre stage to a deafening roar from the crowd.

The game was barely 5 minutes old when the decibel levels rose again – Lee Williamson was brought to ground inside Wednesday’s area - only to see young referee Michael Oliver wave play on.

The disappointment of being denied an early penalty was short lived though, as Ched Evans’ effort rebounded into the path of Stephen Quinn, who finished superbly.

An unpredictable start but an inevitable scorer.

Quinn continued to frustrate the silenced away supporters as his twists and turns resulted in dangerous set piece opportunities for the Blades.

20 minutes into the match, Williamson, another prominent force in the first half, had the composure to guide a perfect cross on to the head of Ched Evans – the Welshman needed no invitation to bury his fourth of the season.

Although United were clinical in taking their chances, the majority came at the other end, with O’Grady and O’Connor coming the closest.

O’Grady couldn’t find a gaping net midway through the opening period whilst O’Connor’s free header had the pedestrian Steve Simonsen beaten, only to find the away supporters with his effort.

Despite the occasional rash tackle and nervy pass, the half was played with a considerable degree of quality and ingenuity from both sides.

Unlike the first half, the second period was lethargic with fouls and set pieces breaking up any fluency in the play.

Nevertheless, the match benefited from the introduction of Jermaine Johnson, for the Owls, and Blades loan-signing Matt Philips, as Wilson and Megson opted for pace.

With Sheffield Wednesday creating an increasing number of opportunities as the game approached its climax, there was a growing fear that Wilson’s players would soon concede.

And, sure enough, the 5,000 travelling fans were soon given a beacon of hope when O’Grady headed in to make up for his earlier miss.

With United’s defence in shock, Megson ordered his men forward, sensing an opportunity to snatch something from the game.

If home supporters weren’t angered by the concession of the first goal then they surely would have been soon after, given the way in which Gary Madine equalised.

Spectators were left feeling infuriated with the officials – Steve Simonsen was clearly impeded as Madine rose above him.

The in-form striker’s header eventually found its way into the United net after several diversions, including the thigh of MacDonald, sealing devastation for the Blades.

Despite Wednesday’s comeback having a bitter taste for United supporters, it made for an outstanding conclusion to Sunday’s game and a great advert for the city of Sheffield.