GARY Madine staked his claim for place in Sheffield Wednesday’s starting eleven by scoring twice during last night’s under-21 derby at Hillsborough.
But Lee Bullen’s youngsters had to withstand a spirited second-half fight-back from the Blades, who saw Danny Philliskirk hit the target just past the hour, before Rodri ensured an absorbing derby ended in the hosts’ favour.
Caolan Lavery wasted a late opportunity to extend the winning margin from the spot after referee Alan Hull harshly adjudged George Willis had felled substitute Harry Grant before Philliskirk provided a timely reminder of his own talents by completing the evening’s second brace.
Madine wasted little time imposing himself. Only nine minutes had passed when Danny Mayor pierced the visitors’ rearguard with a delightful pass which enabled the former Carlisle marksman to caress home.
Mayor’s direct running continued to pose a threat but it was United’s David McAllister who enjoyed the next sight of goal when he shot wide from long-range midway through the opening period.
With Shaun Miller growing in stature United began to pose some questions of their own until Madine halted their revival in its tracks with clinical 36th minute finish.
This time Lavery was the provider, cutting a square ball back across the box for his colleague to power home.
Arron Jameson foiled Miller before Philliskirk reduced the deficit following a skirmish in the area.
However, just as United appeared destined to claim an equaliser, Rodri restored Wednesday’s two goal advantage in the 76th minute.
Philliskirk converted in added time.
n WEDNESDAY: Jameson, White (Stobbs 88), Smith, Corry, McKenzie, Nyoni, Fletcher (Grant 64), Lavery, Madine, Rodri (Fenwick 78), Mayor. Not used: Kyle, Dawson.
n UNITED: Willis, Westlake, McFadzean, Harriott, Salt, Kennedy, Chapell (Tonne 76), McAllister, Porter (Ironside 64), Miller (De Girolamo 76), Philliskirk. Not used: Lynch, Pemberton.
n Attendance: 1,230