Football: Hodges' off night

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Sheffield Wednesday. . .1

Sheffield United. . . . 1

WEDNESDAY salvaged some pride after their Coca-Cola Cup final defeat and United picked up a valuable point in their annual struggle against relegation. But this stirring Sheffield derby was marred at the end by fighting and the dismissal of United's Glyn Hodges for felling John Harkes with his elbow.

Hillsborough's biggest crowd of the season - 38,688 - saw the contrasting styles of the city's clubs cancel each other out. Wednesday dominated with their flowing, attacking play, while United soaked up pressure with a composed defensive performance and snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Hodges crossed from the left and Brian Deane rose unchallenged at the far post to head his 20th goal of the season. The Owls did not deserve to be behind as Chris Waddle had hit the post and Mark Bright's goal-bound shot had been blocked by John Pemberton.

But once in front, United hung on determinedly. Alan Kelly denied Bright and David Hirst as Wednesday swarmed forward and, as so often this season, it was left to Paul Warhurst to show the full-time strikers how to score.

Warhurst had reverted to the centre of defence in place of Viv Anderson, but 12 minutes from time Waddle limped off and Wednesday's manager, Trevor Francis, urged him forward. With his first touch he raced on to Hirst's flick from John Sheridan's free-kick and his angled drive flew in off the far post.

United mounted a last charge, and when Hodges was denied a penalty after Harkes appeared to trip him, he took the law into his own hands and players from both sides exchanged blows.

'It was the sort of unsavoury moment you don't like to see anywhere,' Francis said. United's manager, Dave Bassett, said: 'Emotions run high in derbies. It was not as serious as it looked.'

Sheffield Wednesday: Woods; Nilsson, Worthington, Palmer, Harkes, Warhurst, Jones (Hyde, 9), Waddle (Bart-Williams, 76), Hirst, Bright, Sheridan. Substitute not used: Pressman (gk).

Sheffield United: Kelly; Ward, Beesley, Hartfield, Gayle, Pemberton, Bradshaw, Rogers, Hodges, Deane, Whitehouse. Substitutes not used: Hoyland, Leighton (gk), Scott.

Referee: K Redfearn (Whitley Bay).