On Sunday 16th October I went to Bramall Lane to watch the Steel City derby between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.
Even though I am a Chesterfield supporter, the Steel City derby is always an exciting match to watch and when I was given the opportunity to go to Bramall Lane for the 113th league game between the sides, I jumped at the chance. I had only been to one previous match between the two sides back in February 2008 when Wednesday won 2-1 at Bramall Lane.
The game was a 12 o’clock kick off and we arrived at Bramall Lane with just over an hour to go. As we walked around the ground, there was already a feeling of excitement and anticipation ahead of this massive game. I had pictures outside the stadium and with the statues of Blades legends Derek Dooley and Joe Shaw. I also managed to walk all the way around the ground to ensure I got some pictures of supporters arriving before heading through the turnstiles and taking our seats in the Malta Family Stand.
The ground was packed with 28,136 passionate supporters and the atmosphere was amazing. The Owls supporters had sold out their allocation which helped create a great derby day feeling in the ground and as the two sets of players made their way on to the pitch, Bramall Lane erupted with the fans cheering on the teams.
After a heartfelt rendition of the ‘Greasy Chip Butty’ song from the Blades supporters, the match got underway. The game understandably had a nervy start with neither side taking control in the early minutes. United had a half-hearted penalty shout waved away early on and after a couple of attacks from the Owls, the Blades took the lead courtesy of Stephen Quinn in the 11th minute. Ched Evans’ low driven shot smashed the post and rebounded out to Quinn, who hammered the ball in to the back of the net sending the Blades fans crazy.
Wednesday should have equalised soon after falling behind when Chris O’Grady was gifted a chance of a goal, due to Simonsen spilling Madine’s effort, but O’Grady hit the post from just yards out to keep the Owls behind.
On the 20th minute it was 2-0 when Ched Evans got his head on the end of a free kick to flick the ball in to the near corner. It was dream start for the home fans and with United 2-0 ahead after just 20 minutes it looked like there could be a repeat of the Boxing Day massacre where Wednesday won 4-0, except of course with different victors.
Wednesday threatened to pull a goal back in the first half through Ben Marshall but his effort was tipped on to the crossbar and the Blades looked fairly comfortable as the half came to an end. United even threatened to score a third in first half stoppage time, but the pressure came to nothing and it was 2-0 at the break.
In the second half the game seemed to slow down as Wednesday went looking to pull a goal back but never looked too threatening. Marshall fired a free kick just over the crossbar and Madine’s far post header also flew over the bar, but as the 80 minute mark approached the game looked to be all but over as United held on to their 2-0 lead comfortably.
On the 82nd minute Chris O’Grady pulled a goal back for the Owls and suddenly the game was all to play for. Wednesday went on the attack looking to steal an equaliser and with the support of their noisy travelling supporters, they found it courtesy of ‘Goal-Machine’ Gary Madine who has now scored 11 goals in 11 games this season. The players ran over to the dugout to celebrate their late comeback, while Owls fans went absolutely insane on the away end. I have never heard a noise like it from any supporters!
As the last few minutes approached, both sides were pressing for a winning goal, but it was Sheffield Wednesday that were looking the more likely to steal a late winner. However, it wasn’t to be for either side and the game ended 2-2. United had thrown away a comfortable 2-0 lead and the away supporters were celebrating as if they had come away from Bramall Lane with all 3 points.
After the game we walked around to the players entrance and I got pictures with Sheffield Wednesday players Gary Madine, Ryan Lowe, Julian Bennett, James O’Connor, Liam Palmer, Lewis Buxton, David Prutton, Rob Jones, Chris O’Grady, Reda Johnson, Stephen Bywater and manager Gary Megson as they got on to the coach. I also got pictures with Sheffield United’s Matt Phillips, Nick Montgomery and Chris Morgan before heading home at the end of a brilliant day.
The Steel City derby is a brilliant match full of rivalry and the atmosphere is amazing. I really enjoyed my day and it was an excellent match for the neutral, full of drama and excitement right up to the final whistle.