Sheffield United, managed by Dave Bassett had come into this fixture had yet to win since New Years Day when they claimed maximum points at home to Oldham Athletic, but a goalless draw at West Ham and a home defeat to Blackburn Rovers (1-2) had put United above the relegation zone but were far from safe. Wednesday, however - managed by Trevor Francis were eighth in the table and searching for a European place and were in good form having not lost a league match since mid-December. Prior to the match Francis was awarded the Manager of the Month award.
They always say that form guide goes straight out of the window in any Derby match, but on this occasion it wasn't to be. Following a scoreless first half the Owls came out in a flourish and with goals from Mark Bright (58 minutes), Andy Pearce (61) and Gordon Watson (70) stormed into a three goal lead in a quick-fire twelve minute frenzy. United did manage to pull one back, Dane Whitehouse (87) scoring from the spot as full-time drew close.
The Blades had started brightly of the two teams with Mitch Ward forcing the ever reliable Kevin Pressman into a good save in the early exchanges. After the break things were much different as the hosts oozed confidence and duly went in front just before the hour mark when Bright notched home his 15th of the season when in front of the Kop had the simplest of tap ins after Irish International Alan Kelly saved a tremendous shot from Roland Neilsson.
The Wednesday were on top of there game and doubled there lead through Pearce, when Andy Sinton launched in a corner for Sinton to climb highest and head home, shortly before Palmer had seen his tame close range effort saved by Kelly.
It was soon three goals to the good for the Owls and United left scratching there heads when a long punt up field from Pressman over the defence was ran onto by Watson before he hooked over a charging Kelly and found time to nod home to make sure of victory.
In the denying embers of the game the Blades faithful came home with a scant consolation when Dane Whitehouse, a familiar scorer against Wednesday scored from the spot, but United who would face relegation in a few months time were beaten on the day in this 98th Steel City Derby.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (4-2-4): K Pressman R Nilsson, D Walker, A Pearce, S Coleman C Palmer, G Hyde A Sinton (sub: C Bart-Williams, 84min), G Watson, M Bright, R Jones.
SHEFFIELD UNITED (4-4-2): A Kelly C Bradshaw, D Tuttle, J Hoyland (sub: R Nilsen, 85) P Beesley M Ward, C Kamara, G Hodges, D Whitehouse J Flo, A Scott.
Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).