The game was a poor one and despite Wednesday being reduced to ten men when Glen Loovens was sent off on 64 minutes; United failed to break down a compact and organised Owls side. Clayton Donaldson and Leon Clarke both had good chances for United, whilst Ross Wallace and Adam Reach brought out saves from Simon Moore but in truth a draw was a fair result.
Manager Chris Wilder did not spring any real surprises reverting to the eleven that played at Derby with the three newcomers Ryan Leonard, Lee Evans ad James Wilson on the bench. Rumours before the game surfaced that Ricky Holmes was about to sign for the Blades also. Leon Clarke captained the side. Wednesday were missing several key men but still featured an experienced side that had multi million-pound signings and international players. They started with a formation intended to match up with United.
The teams came out to a vibrant atmosphere around the old stadium and as both team huddled up, the tension was palatable. United began well moving it around nicely with Fleck, O’Connell and Stevens linking down the left and Donaldson busy early. An early chance saw Lundstram try a delicate effort that floated just over the bar. After this United moved it around well and won a corner but they did create anything of note.
Wednesday won a corner of their own and had a Palmer shot blocked before Stevens sent a cross into the box that evaded everyone. Rhodes headed meekly wide and Joao then chipped over before Donaldson had an effort blocked. It was a relatively even contest now after United had began well. Donaldson was cynically scythed down by Loovens to earn him a yellow card before O’Connell just missed connecting with a free kick.
Fleck drove at the opposition and his driving run was halted by a cynical foul that led to a booking for Venancio. Duffy took the kick but it was disappointing and floated it over the bar. Soon after this the half time whistle came.
Donaldson angled a superb header goalwards and Wildsmith sprang up and tipped over. It was a superb save denying a certain goal. Pudil then volleyed wide at the other end before Wallace forced Moore into a low save. Fleck had a shot blocked by his own man. United won a series of corners but were wasteful and the game was very scrappy but a little more open than the first half.
Wilson was being readied by United but before he could get on; there was a significant moment in the game. Clarke played the ball down the left wing and Loovens tangled with Donaldson and seemed to upend the striker. Referee Coote saw this as another yellow card and that meant the long walk off the field from the Owls skipper as he picked up his second caution and the subsequent red. The free kick was cleared before Wilson came on for Donaldson.
Rhodes came off for Boyd as Wednesday now had more men behind the ball but they were causing problems when they broke out but United continued to have most of the ball.
Lundstram then shot wide before Wilson tested Wildsmith with a low shot. Duffy had been quiet but his low cross was nearly turned into his own net by Venancio. A poor tackle from Wallace should have seen a red card for the midfielder as Fleck held his leg but the awful over the top tackle only earned a yellow card. Clarke had a great chance from a free kick but somehow he headed wide under little pressure.
After this the game became a bit stop start with United wasting several decent chances in the final third to cause problems whilst Wednesday put on Nuhiu for Joao.
The game entered the final few minutes but United had struggled to create too much with the ten men resolute and looking dangerous on the break. From a free kick they won wide; the ball came in and Moore and Stearman both went for it and the keeper fell clutching his back after the ball was sent out off the box. He had to react quickly as Reach hit a great dipping half volley that looked destined for the net; but Moore tipped over superbly. He did well to save this as clearly had injured himself. He then had to save an easier effort pushing away from Walllace’s shot from the angle. United broke out and Baldock nearly got in down the right before Lundstram wildy blazed over when well placed. That seemed to be it and sure enough and referee David Coote brought an end to proceedings soon after.