Blades cut down to size by Watson's clever lob

Sheffield Wed 1 Sheffield Utd 0
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The Independent Football

Sheffield Wednesday leapfrogged arch-rivals Sheffield United to climb to fifth place in the Championship as Steve Watson's fine lob settled an incident-packed derby yesterday.

Watson's expertly taken first-half effort decided the season's first Steel City clash in front of a crowd of 30,441 at Hillsborough, which saw both sides have a man sent off and Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny save a penalty.

Owls veteran Watson side-footed an exquisite volley over Kenny in the 35th minute, seven minutes after United central defender Matt Kilgallon had been shown a straight red card by referee Mike Dean after leaving Owls midfielder Sean McAllister in a heap.

Deon Burton saw his penalty well saved by Kenny 10 minutes after the break, Gary Speed having tripped Tommy Spurr.

Owls winger Jermaine Johnson was then shown a red card for lashing out on the touchline after being replaced by Wednesday talisman Akpo Sodje.

However, it was United who saw red first when referee Dean showed Kilgallon a straight red card for what, at worst, looked a clumsy, if full-blooded, challenge on McAllister in the 28th minute.

The Owls needed just seven minutes to take advantage. Watson showed fine technique when meeting Morgan's headed clearance on the full, 25 yards from goal, to steer a clever lob over the stranded Blades goalkeeper.

The Blades' 10 men made their attacking intentions clear after the break, but it looked ominous when Speed tripped Spurr in the penalty area, with Dean pointing immediately to the spot. But Blades goalkeeper Kenny dived the correct way, low to his right, to keep out Burton's penalty in the 55th minute.

Sodje brought a huge cheer from the Owls faithful when coming on in the 67th minute for Johnson, who trudged off before unleashing his fury by kicking a plastic bottle by the bench. This was spotted by the referee's assistant and the game was then held up for several minutes while Johnson was hauled back from the dressing room to be shown his second yellow card and a subsequent red.

Sheffield Wed (4-4-2): Grant; McMahon, Beevers, Wood, Spurr; McAllister, Watson, O'Connor (Esajas, 78), Johnson (Sodje, 68); Burton (Jeffers, 82), Tudgay. Substitutes not used: Smith, Buxton.

Sheffield Utd (4-4-2): Kenny; Naughton, Kilgallon, Ehiogu, Naysmith; Cotterill (Morgan, 29), Speed, Howard (Stokes, 67), Quinn; Beattie, Sharp (Webber, 58). Substitutes not used: Jihai, Spring.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).