Sheffield Wednesday 2-4 Sheffield United: Leon Clarke secures thrilling win
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 25/09/17 8:16am
Leon Clarke scored twice as Sheffield United won a thrilling Steel City derby 4-2 against Sheffield Wednesday in the Sky Bet Championship on Sunday.
John Fleck and Clarke netted inside the opening 15 minutes at Hillsborough as the Blades made a dream start to the first derby meeting in five years.
Gary Hooper replied deep into first-half injury-time and the momentum looked to be with Wednesday when substitute Lucas Joao levelled in the 65th minute.
But the visitors responded brilliantly as substitute Mark Duffy quickly made it 3-2 with a fine individual effort and then former Wednesday striker Clarke scored his second of the game to secure the win.
It is the first time the newly-promoted Blades have scored four goals at Hillsborough and moves them up to fourth in the Championship.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood (4), Hunt (4), Lees (4), Van Aken (4), Reach (4), Wallace (5), Lee (4), Jones (4), Bannan (4), Fletcher (4), Hooper (5)
Subs: Butterfield (4), Joao (6), Rhodes (5)
Sheffield United: Blackman (5), Baldock (7), Stevens (6), Fleck (7), O'Connell (6), Basham (7), Clarke (8), Wright (7), Coutts (7), Carter-Vickers (6), Brooks (8)
Subs: Subs: Lundstram (5), Duffy (7)
Man of the match: David Brooks
Chris Wilder's side made the perfect start with the opening goal in the third minute, Fleck firing in from a free-kick that was rolled back on the edge of the D.
United continued to look the more threatening and they made it 2-0 after Enda Stevens' clearance from inside his own half got through to Clarke, who finished past Kieren Westwood.
Clarke then volleyed wide and Chris Basham shot over as frustration continued to grow around Hillsborough. But the home fans were lifted by a goal just before half-time, with Hooper finishing well at the near post from Ross Wallace's cross.
The goal, and the introduction of Joao at half-time, changed the complexion of the game, with Wednesday starting the second half strongly.
Sheffield Wednesday made one change as Ross Wallace replaced Daniel Pudil. United were boosted by the inclusion of Paul Coutts while Billy Sharp and Ched Evans were fit enough to make the bench.
After Hooper failed to control when through on goal and Clarke fired over from a good position at the other end, it was Joao who levelled things up when he rifled a shot past Jamal Blackman.
But the visitors showed impressive resolve to hit straight back just 38 seconds later as Duffy jinked away from his marker to fire past Westwood. Clarke then sealed the win when he barged between two defenders and clipped a shot into the net.
Chris Wilder: "I'm so proud of the players and the supporters. It was an outstanding effort and fully deserved in my opinion. We have had to wait a long time as a football club and there have been some ups and downs for the club since its existence, but this is a great one. We get rammed down our throat about 'coming out of a pub league' and 'always in our shadow'; well I don't think we were in their shadow today...It was them at the end smashing it forward trying to get a result and I thought we were outstanding in every department."
Carlos Carvalhal: "It's a strange game for us. We never concede four goals, we never make these kind of mistakes. If you start losing the game 2-0 after 15 minutes in a derby it is very hard, but my players have a big heart so they came back. The third goal was a very hard moment, the way we conceded it, and the fourth…I must give congratulations to Sheffield United and say it is my responsibility. I want everybody to leave the players alone."
Man of the match - David Brooks
The 20-year-old was brilliant on only his second Championship start.
He caused Wednesday problems from the start with his pace and willingness to run at defenders. He set up several chances - one after cleverly spinning clear of Jack Hunt on the touchline - and played the ball over the top for Clarke to score his second.
He went close to capping a fine individual display after cutting in from the right side and seeing a shot saved.
Sheffield Wednesday travel to Birmingham on Wednesday before a home match against Leeds next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football. United host Wolves on Wednesday and then travel to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.