Sheffield Wednesday 2 Sheffield United 4: Clarke returns to stun Owls in Steel City derby

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Sheffield United gave Chris Wilder the perfect 50th birthday present with an impressive 4-2 derby win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Goals from John Fleck and Leon Clarke saw United dominate the first half, before Gary Hooper snatched a late goal in stoppage time before the break.

Sheffield United's double goalscorer Leon Clarke during the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Sheffield United's double goalscorer Leon Clarke during the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

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Lucas Joao equalised, but parity lasted one minute 47 seconds before Mark Duffy edged United back in front and Clarke grabbed a fourth for the Blades.

Gary Hooper score for the Owls just before half time....Pic Steve Ellis

Gary Hooper score for the Owls just before half time....Pic Steve Ellis

It was enough to leave lifelong Blades fan Wilder - who celebrated his borthday on Saturday - to be serenaded by the travelling support.

The hosts made one change for the 141st Steel City derby with Ross Wallace back in as Daniel Pudil dropped to the bench, The switch meant Adam Reach would start at left-back for the Owls.

The Blades named captain Billy Sharp on the bench after suffering from a rib injury.

It meant Leon Clarke - the former Owls striker - started up front, with David Brooks playing just behind.

Derby day

Derby day

But it was United who made the perfect start, going in front after just three minutes.

A poor piece of control from Kieran Lee gifted United possession, Brooks broke up field and earned his side a free-kick 25 yards out.

Up stepped John Fleck to fire home, leaving Keiren Westwoood rooted to the spot.

For Wednesday, Gary Hooper got on the end of a Barry Bannan pass, but - at full stretch - could not divert his effort on target.ough, were looking dangerous and Clarke added a second when he beat the offside trap to make it 2-0.

The Owls had struggled to get any cohesion in their play, continually gifting possesion.

David Jones was caught in possession, the hosts lucky to scape as Clarke fired tamely wide.

Westwood had to be alert to come rushing out to deny Clarke, before Chris Basham blazed over the crossbar.

Wedensday had their best chance just before half-time, but Jack Hunt’s shot was blocked by Jake Wright, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

Yet they grabbed a lifeline in stoppage time as Hooper netted at the near post after a cross from Wallace.

Jones was replaced by striker Lucas Joao for the second half, and the Owls came out on the front foot.

Hooper was picked out by a great pass from Reach, but in the clear, he could not bring the ball down and it ran into the arms of Jamal Blackman.

United were dangerous on the break, though, and Brooks set Clarke free but he blazed over with just Westwood to beat.

Two goals in as many minutes simply heightened the tensions inside the ground.

Substitute Lucas Joao raced through to level, before United sub Mark Duffy netted from a narrow angle to send the travelling Blades fans wild.

And Clarke netted his second of the game after a defensive mix-up between Lees and van Aken gifted him a chance, he was not to decline.

Owls: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Van Aken, Reach, Wallace, Lee, Jones, Bannan, Fletcher, Hooper.

Subs: Wildsmith, Rhodes, Butterfield, Palmer, Nuhiu, Joao, Pudil.

Blades: Blackman, Baldock, Stevens, O’Connell, Carter-Vickers, Wright, Fleck, Basham, Coutts, Brooks, Clarke.

Subs: Moore, Sharp, Lundstram, Duffy, Lafferty, Evans, Carruthers.