VIDEO: Young Sheffield United edge Steel City derby as Sheffield Wednesday fail to wrap up title

Cameron Dawson is beaten by Regan Slater.
Cameron Dawson is beaten by Regan Slater.

It was a typically hard-fought Steel City derby.

There were bookings, strong challenges and no quarter given by either side. It was not a classic by any means.

But the Blades edged a tight affair to claim the local bragging rights following strikes either side of half-time by Tyler Smith and Regan Slater.

Although Connor O’Grady pulled one back for the Owls in added on time at a packed out Middlewood Road, United were marginally better in all departments and deserved to pick up maximum points.

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Defeat prevented the Owls from clinching the Professional Development League North 2 title but a win at Leeds United a week on Friday will guarantee Neil Thompson’s side end a superb year in first position.

In front of a big crowd, United made a dream start, opening the scoring in the third minute. David Brooks, a lively figure throughout, floated in a teasing delivery towards the back post which Sam Graham headed back across the face of goal and Smith nodded home. Wednesday’s marking was non existent.

The Owls fielded a strong side, consisting of Cameron Dawson, Liam Palmer, Lewis McGugan, Urby Emanuelson and England Under-18 international George Hirst, but there was little to choose between the two sides in a scrappy first half.

McGugan’s fierce 25 yard free kick forced Jake Eastwood into action after Stephen Mallon scythed down Jack Stobbs as the hosts pushed for a leveller.

After a good run down the left flank, Mallon whipped in a dangerous cross which narrowly evaded Smith and Horatio Hirst.

Jordan Thorniley battles with United forward David Brooks

Jordan Thorniley battles with United forward David Brooks

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Wednesday struggled to break down United’s well-organised backline, with Jordan Thorniley’s left foot curler from outside of the penalty area failing to trouble Eastwood after the interval.

George Hirst, who was shackled well by Graham and George Cantrill, should have done better in the 59th minute but he nodded over from close range.

It proved a costly miss as the Blades doubled their lead moments later. Slater’s unstoppable right foot drive gave Dawson no chance following good play by Smith.

George Hirst holds off United's Sam Graham.

George Hirst holds off United's Sam Graham.

To their credit, the Owls kept plugging away and O’Grady reduced the deficit late on.

But it was those of a red and white persuasion who were left celebrating come the final whistle.

*Wednesday: Dawson; Baker, O’Grady, Thorniley, Penney; Stobbs, Palmer, Kirby, Emanuelson (Preston 59); McGugan (Clarke 66); Hirst. Substitutes: Murphy, Wallis, Williams.

*United: Eastwood; Bennett, Graham, Cantrill, Kelly; Smith (Hallam 76), Reed, Slater, Mallon (Gilmour 54); Brooks (Charlesworth 86), Hirst. Substitutes: Warhurst, Doherty.

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