Sheffield United Under 23s fell to a frustrating defeat at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday despite taking an early lead through Leo Gaxha.
Two goals either side of half-time from Fraser Preston though were enough for the hosts, despite the Blades having plenty of chances come and go as they looked for a way back into the game.
Wednesday came out of the blocks slightly quicker than the Blades and Tommy Williams had to be alert to block an early effort at the back post.
From the resulting corner, Jake Eastwood did well on his return to the side to get down and save a flicked effort.
United though started to control things as the half wore on. Zak Brunt saw an effort blocked before Regan Slater, another making a return to the team, fired wide and Callum Gribbin saw a free-kick held.
With the pressure building, the Blades took the lead moments later. Good work from Brunt and Harry Boyes ended in Gaxha being played through and the striker calmly slotted home into the far corner to make it 1-0.
Chances thereafter were few and far between and just as it looked like United would go into the break ahead, Fraser Preston struck with the last kick of the half with a low effort from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.
The Blades came out quickly after the break though and nearly retook the lead when Jake Young saw an effort just clip the far post on its way wide, but they were sucker-punched moments later as a ball over the top found Preston who took a touch and fired home his second.
Half chances came and went for the Blades as both Tom Williams and Young saw efforts from outside the box go over the bar, while Harrison Neal and Antwoine Hackford were introduced as the Blades pushed for a leveller.
With 20 minutes to go, Gaxha had United's best chance when he saw a close range effort pushed away after getting onto the end of Hackford's low ball across goal.
Gaxha came close again but was once again denied by Render in the Wednesday goal, this time the goalkeeper tipped wide an effort from inside the box as the Blades continued to be frustrated.
It was one of those nights for the Blades as the clock ticked down. Chances continued to come as Nickseon saw an effort cleared in front of goal before good work from Gaxha set up Brunt, but the midfielder's effort from the edge of the box was well over.
Momentum was halted by a late clash of heads and it meant the Blades couldn't muster the chances in stoppage time to find a late equaliser.
Blades: Eastwood, T. Williams, Boyes, Ferguson, Belehouan, Gomis (Brooks 90), Brunt, Slater (Neal 64), Young (Hackford 66), Gaxha, Gribbin.
Unused subs: Amissah, Grant.