Substitute Leon Clarke came off the bench to put the gloss on a memorable afternoon for Sheffield United as they beat top-six rivals Derby County 3-1 at Bramall Lane this afternoon.
Fellow strikers Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick also found the net in an often bad-tempered clash, with referee Geoff Eltringham seeming to lose control of the game on more than one occasion.
Managers Chris Wilder and Frank Lampard became involved in a heated exchange of views at one point, but overall it was a fully deserved three points for United who go fourth in the Championship table.
After a dominant start to the game McGoldrick signalled United’s intent by curling just past the post in the first minute, before Scott Carson foiled Sharp with a superb save from point-blank range.
George Baldock came to United’s rescue when he cleared Harry Wilson’s shot off the line after he had rounded Dean Henderson, but it was Sharp who made the breakthrough, heading home Jack O'Connell's cross from the left to put United ahead at the break.
United were denied what looked a blatant penalty in the second half when Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori misjudged his header and dragged down McGoldrick, but Eltringham was unmoved.
The home fans were incensed, and their frustration was compounded moments later when Liverpool loanee Wilson levelled the scores with a superb free-kick past Henderson.
But United came roaring back, McGoldrick lobbing Scott Carson with a delightful finish to put United ahead and then sub Clarke making the points safe, heading home from John Egan's knock-down via the aid of a slight Derby deflection off the hapless Jayden Bogle.
UNITED: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O'Connell, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Duffy (Clarke, 80), McGoldrick, Sharp. Subs: Moore, Cranie, Stearman, Coutts, Johnson, Washington.
DERBY: Carson, Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Wisdom (Waghorn, 85), Huddlestone (Evans, 70), Mount, Bryson, Jozefzoon (Nugent, 70), Wilson, Marriott. Subs: Roos, Pearce, Bird, Holmes.
REFEREE: G Eltringham (County Durham).
ATTENDANCE: 28,974 (2,229 away fans).