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Clarke brace brings Steel City derby joy for United
September 24, 2017 / 2:44 PM / 3 months ago

Clarke brace brings Steel City derby joy for United

(Reuters) - Leon Clarke scored twice against his former club as Sheffield United upset local rivals Sheffield Wednesday with a 4-2 victory in an enthralling ‘Steel City derby’ at Hillsborough on Sunday in the English Championship (second tier).

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield United - HIllsborough, Sheffield, Britain - September 24, 2017 Sheffield United's Leon Clarke celebrates scoring his sides fourth goal Action Images/Jason Cairnduff

The first Sheffield derby in five years, played in front of a crowd of just under 33,000, was a crackling affair from the outset.

United, promoted last season from League One, stunned the home crowd by going 2-0 up within a quarter of an hour thanks to John Fleck’s sweetly-struck low drive from an indirect freekick in the third minute and then Clarke’s cool finish after he was left one-on-one with Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood.

Wednesday, who lost out in the promotion playoffs in the past two seasons, pulled back a goal on the stroke of half-time when striker Gary Hooper hooked in the ball at the near post and after the break they piled on the pressure.

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield United - HIllsborough, Sheffield, Britain - September 24, 2017 Sheffield United's Leon Clarke scores his sides fourth goal Action Images/Jason Cairnduff

That effort paid off when Portuguese substitute Lucas Joao equalised with a well-taken left-foot strike in the 65th minute but United responded superbly.

Within a minute of the restart, winger Mark Duffy made a fool of Wednesday’s Dutch defender Joost van Aken and then fired home from a tight angle to make it 3-2.

Slideshow (6 Images)

Clarke then made sure of the win, latching on to a clever pass from the outstanding David Brooks, holding off two defenders and then slotting home.

United’s Sheffield-born manager Chris Wilder was delighted with his team’s display after they scored four goals at Wednesday for the first time in the 124-year history of the fixture.

“We have had to wait a long time as a football club and we have had some ups and downs. We stepped out and played some outstanding football. I thought we were outstanding in every department,” said the former United defender.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Clare Fallon

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