Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Sheffield United: Goalless in Steel City derby
Sheffield United move to within two points of Leeds in second, and four behind Championship leaders Norwich
Last Updated: 05/03/19 6:05am
Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday played out a goalless draw for the third consecutive Steel City derby in the Sky Bet Championship on Monday night.
Chances were at a premium despite the cracking atmosphere at Hillsborough, as Steve Bruce maintained his unbeaten start in charge of the Owls.
Just one change was made by Sheffield Wednesday as Dominic Iorfa came in for the injured Achraf Lazaar, while Jack O'Connell, Chris Basham and Gary Madine all started for Sheffield United.
Sheffield United, meanwhile, could have moved back into the top two with victory. But the draw leaves them two points behind Leeds in second, and four behind leaders Norwich.
The only real opening of the first half came United's way after seven minutes when Ollie Norwood whipped a fine cross to the far post for Gary Madine, but Keiren Westwood got across to make a fine save from his header.
It took until the 65th minute for another proper chance to come about. This time it fell to Wednesday, as Roland Aarons found Sam Hutchinson in the middle. He had a clear sight of goal but sent his effort on the slide straight at Dean Henderson.
Sheff Wed: Westwood (7), Palmer (7), Lees (7), Hector (8), Iorfa (6), Reach (6), Hutchinson (7), Bannan (7), Aarons (6), Forestieri (4), Fletcher (6)
Subs: Boyd (5), Fox (n/a), Nuhiu (n/a)
Sheff Utd: Henderson (7), O'Connell (7), Egan (7), Basham (7), Stevens (7), Freeman (6), Fleck (6), Dowell (5), Norwood (7), Madine (6), Sharp (5)
Subs: Cranie (n/a), McGoldrick (n/a),
Man of the match: Michael Hector
United did more of the pushing in the closing stages but struggled to break down a resilient Wednesday defence, which has improved immeasurably since the arrival of Bruce.
The Owls still harbour slim hopes of finishing in the play-offs, but the draw leaves them six points off sixth spot in the table.
Man of the match - Michael Hector
On their day Sheffield United possess one of the most dangerous attacks in the Championship but Hector barely gave Madine or Billy Sharp a sniff all night. He was the only real standout player at Hillsborough, despite the fact he probably should have given away a penalty for a challenge on Madine in the first half.
Steve Bruce: "It was a typical derby. We all enjoy them but they're lacking a bit of quality because of the sheer intensity of them and fear of getting beat. How many times have we seen that over the years?
"I think what the supporters want is two teams going head to head and both teams went at it. Arguably we had the best chance of the game but we also defended magnificently from set-pieces. We'll take the draw and move on."
Chris Wilder: "I think it was a point gained. I didn't think it was the best performance, it was a very bitty game littered with fouls all over the pitch and it never really got going for both sides.
"It wasn't a game of very high quality at all. We missed a good chance in the first half and they missed a good chance in the second half, so it could have gone either way.
"Steve has galvanised a really good grup of players. He is a fantastic manager and I've got a huge amount of respect for him. If they play like they did tonight against other teams then I'm sure they'll pick up points."
Both sides are back in Sky Bet Championship action on Saturday. Sheffield United host Rotherham at 12.15pm, and Sheffield Wednesday head to Derby for a 3pm kick-off.