Sheffield United gained sweet revenge on Sheffield Wednesday with a 3-2 win in the 124th Steel City derby at Bramall Lane, but were made to sweat in a thrilling Coca-Cola Championship encounter.
Wednesday became the first Owls side to register a league derby double over the Blades in 95 years last season, but were put to the sword in the first half as the rampant Blades swarmed into a 3-0 lead through strikes from Jamie Ward, Darius Henderson and Lewis Buxton's own goal.
But Marcus Tudgay threw Wednesday a lifeline when he rifled the ball home at the start of the second half and substitute Etienne Esajas ensured a tense finale by arrowing a 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner in the 65th minute.
Victory lifts the Blades up to fourth place in the table and leaves Brian Laws' Owls reflecting on a one-point return from their last three league matches in the space of six days.
Centre-half Andrew Davies was booked for a foul on Tudgay in the fourth minute and then forced Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant to tip his header from Keith Treacy's corner over the crossbar before Ward fired the Blades into a seventh-minute lead.
Home skipper Chris Morgan headed Treacy's corner down into the six-yard box and the little striker turned in a flash to shoot past Grant from five yards.
Blackwell's side doubled their lead in the 15th minute. The Owls defence only half-cleared from a free-kick and when Ched Evans arrowed the ball back into the penalty area, Henderson flicked out his left foot to divert the ball past the wrong-footed Grant.
The visitors were then dealt a hammer blow three minutes from the interval. David Cotterill swept a deep cross into the area from the right and the hapless Buxton, with the big frame of Henderson on his shoulder, headed the ball into the top corner of his own net.
Esajas replaced Owls winger Johnson at half-time and soon after the restart the visitors pulled a goal back when Tudgay lashed a right-footed shot from just inside the area into the bottom corner.
Esajas then hauled the visitors to within one goal of an unlikely fightback after Richard Wood was penalised for his challenge on Cotterill 25 yards from goal, with the Dutchman crashing his free-kick into the bottom corner. But the Owls could not find a leveller.
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