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 Atmosphere report

Sheffield United - Sheffield Wednesday (2-2)
Championship, 08 April 2008
Stadium : Bramall Lane
Attendance : 30.000

It was a long anticipated game as the favored Blades (United) were looking for revenge on a 2-0 defeat at the hand of the Owls in the Hillsborough game earlier in the season.

Extra pressure was mounted on the favored Blades as a loss would mean the first victory at Bramall lane since 1967 and a first derby double for the Owls since 1914.

After a warm reminder of Derek Dooley, a man with links to both Sheffield Clubs who was recently deciced the Blades, who's higher league position reflects what even most ardent of Owls would concide is a superior squad with players of the like of ex England striker James Beatie were pegged back against the run of play.

This lived up the Wednesday support who had not made the noise normally associated with the Steel City Derby fans, this may have partly been down to the low ticket allocation of only 2500 and the nerves of the occasion.

The goal was greeted well by the Wednesday team who managed to get back on to an even par with the Blades on the pitch from this point up to the half time whistle. The goal however was not greeted so well by the Blades fans who were sat above the Owls support who had travelled 3 miles into the the City centre of Sheffield.

Bottles, coins and spitting rained down on the fans. At half time the Blades fans were right to feel hard done to, to be a goal down. In the second half the Blades crowd was once again very vocal singing many songs including their theme, the Greecy Chip Butty song, to the tune of John Devers Annies Song.

Once again against the run of play Wednesday scored to silence the crowd. At this point a handful of Wednesday fans who couldn't get tickets to the game jumped up around the ground and the scenes that followed were more reminicent of what was common place in the 1970's hooligan haydays. Hundreds of fans were brawling in the Valad stand and Global Windows Kop, with police in full riot gear struggling to stem the violence.

At one point the police looked so powerless all they seemed to be doing was weilding their baons and pulling out bodies of fans covered in blood, the images of this are documented on the Sheffield Star Newspaper website.

As the game seemed to be moving closer and closer to a first Owls double for 94 years a life line was handed to the Blades who although trailing could only be described as the better team in the game, when a sloppy goal hit the back of the Wednesday net.

Consistent pressure from the Blades backed by vociferous support from their fans then led to a free kick from 30 yards in the 85th min of the game. James Beatie stepped up an curled a well placed free kick into the top right hand corner of the Owls goal at the Kop end where the most loyal of Blades fans were sat sending them into delerium.

When the Blades fans heared 4min injury time a loud expectant raw resinated but the team were unable to fulfil the expectation and if anything the Owls had the better of the injury time as they pressed to regain a lead they had just relinquised so easly.

After the game violent scenes between police and fans of both clubs could be seen outside the ground with 50 of so Wednesday fans seen running away with a group of rival supporter chasing them towards the City centre.

A most enjoyable game marred by a hostile and violent atmosphere.

Report added : 10 April 2008
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