Sheffield Wednesday leapfrogged arch-rivals Sheffield United to climb to fifth place in the Coca-Cola Championship as Steve Watson's fine lob settled an incident-packed derby.
Watson's expertly-taken first-half effort decided the season's first Steel City clash in front of a crowd of 30,441 at Hillsborough, which saw both sides have a man sent off and Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny save a penalty.
Watson side-footed an exquisite volley over Kenny in the 35th minute, seven minutes after United central defender Matt Kilgallon had been shown a straight red card by referee Mike Dean after leaving Owls midfielder Sean McAllister in a heap. Burton was denied by Kenny from the spot 10 minutes after the break and Owls winger Jermaine Johnson was then shown a red card for lashing out on the touchline after being substituted.
In a frantic start to the game Owls defender Mark Beevers almost redirected David Cotterill's cross into his own net and home goalkeeper Lee Grant then did well to save Brian Howard's shot that took a wicked deflection off Marcus Tudgay.
Referee Dean then dealt the Blades a hammer blow, incensing manager Kevin Blackwell by showing Kilgallon a straight red card for what, at worst, looked a clumsy, if full-blooded, challenge on McAllister in the 28th minute.
The Owls needed just seven minutes to take advantage. Watson showed fine technique when meeting Chris Morgan's headed clearance on the full, 25 yards from goal, to steer a clever lob over the stranded Blades goalkeeper.
The Blades' 10 men made their attacking intentions clear after the break, but it looked ominous when Gary Speed tripped Tommy Spurr in the penalty area, with Dean pointing immediately to the spot.
But Blades goalkeeper Kenny dived the correct way, low to his right to keep out Burton's penalty in the 55th minute.
Akpo Sodje brought a huge cheer from the Owls faithful when coming on in the 67th minute for Johnson, who trudged slowly off before unleashing his fury by kicking a plastic bottle by the bench.
This was spotted by the referee's assistant and the game was then held up for several minutes while Johnson was hauled back from the dressing room to be shown his second yellow card of the match and a subsequent red. Anthony Stokes did well to set up Beattie, whose low drive flashed narrowly wide and that is as close as the Blades came.