Sheffield Wednesday came from two goals behind to ensure a draw in a pulsating Steel City derby.
United were 2-0 up at half time with goals from Stephen Quinn and Ched Evans. The scoreline remained the same until the final ten minutes of the game, when Wednesday pulled off a stunning comeback.
Chris O’Grady grabbed Wednesday’s first goal and a scrappy effort from Gary Madine ensured the Steel City derby ended in dramatic circumstances.
The Owls equaliser left Blades manager Danny Wilson furious with referee Michael Oliver. Wilson was convinced goal keeper Steve Simonsen was fouled in the build up to the goal. He also questioned the decision to give the game to Oliver.
“I can’t understand why a 25 or 26 year old boy is given a Sheffield Steel City derby when there are much more experienced Premier League referees out there.”
As expected, the match was played in front of a packed Bramall Lane and the early kick off didn’t dampen the atmosphere surrounding the game.
Wednesday started the better side, although United had a penalty appeal turned down after only five minutes. Lee Williamson received the ball in the box for the Blades and appeared to be shoved by Reda Johnson.
The Kop was furious, although the referee was unmoved and signalled for play to continue.
Five minutes later and all thoughts of a penalty were forgotten when Stephen Quinn gave the home side the lead. It was a real poacher’s goal by Quinn, who moved his tally to three for the season.
The initial shot came from Ched Evans and it was deflected onto the post by Owls captain Rob Jones. Quinn was there to snap up the rebound and slam the ball into the roof of the net.
The home fans were delighted by their teams start and they were soon celebrating again when Ched Evans increased their lead.
The Blades won a free kick on the right hand side and Lee Williamson whipped in an inviting cross.
Poor Wednesday defending meant that Ched Evans found himself free to head home and give United a comfortable lead. The scoreline did not reflect Wednesday’s dominance in possession, but did highlight the shabby defending on display.
Gary Megson was left shell shocked and knew his team had a tough job to overcome a two goal deficit in what he described as Wednesday’s “toughest away fixture of the season.”
The fixture remained fiery and Lewis Buxton was one of several players to receive a booking. The discipline of both teams was generally good though, and Micheal Oliver had no major incidents to deal with.
The away side knew they needed to up the tempo in the second half and Gary Megson started by substituting James O’Connor for pacey winger Jermaine Johnson.
Much like the first period, Wednesday had the majority of the possession in the second half and their passing was accurate and insightful.
For all the possession of the away side, they could only muster one clear cut opportunity when Gary Madine headed over after Ben Marshall sent in a cross from the left.
Wednesday fans must have felt resigned to defeat, until a sensational last ten minutes proved that in football, nothing is a certainty.
Striker Chris O’Grady found himself in the ideal position when the ball broke nicely for him to launch home a close range header. Owls spirits were now lifted and three minutes later they were back in the game.
Ben Marshall sent a ball into the Blades box and Steve Simonsen found himself stranded in a melee of players. Owls star striker Gary Madine managed to latch onto a header which hit the post and rolled in, despite the desperate attempts to clear by Harry Maguire.
The travelling fans celebrated like they had grabbed a winner, whilst the rest of Bramall Lane was left stunned.
The final four minutes were frantic, but only Rob Jones had any chance of note, as his header fell into the arms of Steve Simonsen.
The game ended all square, with an ending that will be remembered for a long time in the city.