United 2-2 Wednesday
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
16/10/11 - 12 noon
WEDNESDAY netted twice in the last eight minutes to secure a deserved share of the spoils in an entertaining first Sheffield derby of the season at Bramall Lane on Sunday.
First-half strikes from Stephen Quinn and Ched Evans had put the Blades ahead in a first-half that Wednesday will have felt they deserved much more from.
But Chris O'Grady netted his first Wednesday goal in the 82nd minute to give the visitors hope before Gary Madine netted minutes later to rescue a point for Gary Megson's men and give the Owls, if anyone, the bragging rights from the first Steel City clash of the campaign.
The Owls were backed by a sell-out 4,300 at Bramall Lane but almost 11,000 packed into the Hillsborough South Stand and Grandstand to witness the match on large television screens.
Megson brought Reda Johnson back into the Owls' back-four after he missed the last game through international duty, while O'Grady started in attacking alongside Madine, the league's top scorer.
Typically, the game started in frantic fashion and both sides looked penetrating early on, although it was the hosts who broke the deadlock 11 minutes in through Quinn.
Evans smashed the woodwork with his initial effort and the ball bounced straight into the stride of Quinn, who powered his effort into the back of the net in front of the home Kop.
It gave the hosts a huge boost but Wednesday could have, and perhaps should have, provided an immediate reply. Steve Simonson denied Madine and he scrambled to make a superb save when O'Grady looked favourite to hit the rebound in for the leveller.
And it acted to spur the Blades on yet again, with the hosts going down the other end and doubling their lead somewhat against the run of play. Bywater could do little as Evans directed his header beyond him and into the back of the net after 20 minutes.
It was a nightmare start for the Owls, but to their credit, their heads didn't drop. James O'Connor put a header over the bar as Megson's men looked to grab a lifeline before the break. Ben Marshall also saw a shot tipped onto the crossbar while Danny Batth headed wide from a Marshall corner.
It was the Blades who were seemingly in control at the interval, but Wednesday knew there was still a way back into the contest.
Half-Time: United 2-0 Wednesday
Wednesday knew they needed more of an attacking threat on the resumption and Jermaine Johnson was brought on to replace O'Connor at the start of the second half.
But, with the hosts enjoying a two goal cushion, Danny Wilson's men seemed happy to sit back on their lead with chances being at a premium in the opening stages of the second half - something which suited the Blades.
Tricky winger Marshall was the Owls' main source of chances, first hitting a free-kick over before producing a fine ball for Madine, who headed just over after the hour mark.
United still had chances of their own, although Bywater wasn't tested too much, with Rob Jones being the man to divert the danger away when new signing Matt Phillips produced a dangerous-looking cross.
They say 2-0 is sometimes a 'dangerous' lead (not my thinking!), and on this occasion at least it proved true as O'Grady reduced the deficit with eight minutes to go to make it a nervy ending for the home, and away, fans.
It gave the Owls hope and that hope soon turned to full on joy as Madine levelled with his eleventh goal of the season just minutes later.
He rose high to win the ball from Simonsen, with some home fans calling for a foul on their goalkeeper, and steer the ball into the back of the net to spark scenes of mass celebration in the away end and back at S6.
United: Simonsen, Lowton, Montgomery, Evans (Porter 84), Williamson (Phillips 68), Collins, Cresswell, Maguire, McDonald, Quinn, Williams. Substitutes: Jean-Francois, Long, Clarke.
Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Jones, R Johnson, Marshall, Semedo, O'Connor (J Johnson 46), Lines, Madine, O'Grady. Substitutes: O'Donnell, Bennett, Prutton, Palmer.