United come from behind to share the Yorkshire derby spoils…
UNITED 1 (Bellusci 79), SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1 (Maguire 52).
United: Silvestri, Byram, Bellusci, Pearce, Berardi, Biachi, Mowatt, Austin, Sloth (Murphy 45), Antenucci (Morison 80), Doukara (Sharp 68). Subs. S Taylor, Cooper, Warnock, Adryan.
Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Loovens, Lees, Mattock, Maguire (Helan 69), Semedo (Coke 82), Lee, Maghoma, May, Nuhiu (Madine 45). Subs. Kirkland, Buxton, Drenthe, Dielna.
Referee: J Adcock
Booked: Berardi, Bellusci, Byram (United), Nuhiu, Maguire, Semedo, Lee (Wednesday)
United head coach Darko Milanic made two changes from Wednesday night's 0-0 draw with Reading as Gaetano Berardi and Rodolph Austin came into the side in place of Liam Cooper and Lewis Cook.
Milanic was looking for a first win since taking charge last month and his side mounted an early attack as some neat footwork from Mirco Antenucci won a free-kick inside two minutes, which Alex Mowatt curled wide.
Wednesday threatened as Atdhe Nuhiu headed a right-wing cross over Marco Silvestri’s bar but the best chances of the opening stages came for United.
Mowatt, racing onto a defence-splitting through ball from Tomasso Bianchi, was smothered by the onrushing Kieren Westwood as he looked to poke it beyond him, before Souleymane Doukara fired wide from an acute angle after being slotted through by Mowatt.
It was a good spell for the hosts and Westwood’s reflexes were tested again on 17 minutes, this time from range, as the Irish goalkeeper back-pedalled to tip Austin’s ferocious strike over the bar with a fine one-handed save.
Berardi then saw his effort from inside the area cannon off Antenucci and behind for a goalkick, while Doukara was flagged for offside as he headed Bianchi’s cross high and wide.
United did have the ball in the net three minutes before the break as Antenucci slotted beyond Westwood, only to be denied once again by the linseman's flag.
Stevie May headed inches wide moments later but the game remained deadlocked at half-time after a closely-contested opening 45 minutes.
Luke Murphy was introduced in place of Casper Sloth for the second half and United began brightly after the restart, with Antenucci seeing his lobbed effort cleared off the line by Liam Palmer.
Chris Maguire then fired into the side-netting at the other end almost immediately, before Antenucci was denied by the feet of Westwood after racing through on goal.
Despite United’s chances, it was the visitors who found themselves in front on 52 minutes as Maguire fired beyond Silvestri and into the bottom corner.
United went in search of a quick response, though, and Westwood was in inspired form to thwart Antenucci with another good stop from a powerful half-volley before the Italian striker lashed an effort wide after darting into the area.
Wednesday then came close to doubling their advantage as May fired wide after wriggling free in the box, before Sharp was brought on with 22 minutes left on the clock as United went in search of a equaliser.
That duly came on 79 minutes as Giuseppe Bellusci netted his second goal of the season with a controlled finish at the back post, guiding Mowatt’s free-kick into Westwood’s bottom left hand corner to the delight of the Elland Road crowd.
United went in search of a second with the ball almost falling kindly for Sharp inside the area as Westwood came off his line to collect, before Austin drilled a strike into the South Stand after bursting into the area.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added on with the home fans urging United forward to grab a winner, although Silvestri had to be alert to clutch Gary Madine’s effort on the turn at the other end in the final piece of notable goalmouth action.