A youthful Blades U18s line-up slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Wigan Athletic at Shirecliffe on Saturday.
Two goals in the first ten minutes for the Latics were enough to settle the contest, despite a spirited effort from the hosts thereafter.
Wigan started the game strongly and had already go close through Johnstone and Flores before MATHER scored on the rebound after Hamilton's shot on goal had been blocked.
In the 10th minute United found themselves two goals down, JOHNSON brought down a long pass from Johnstone and drove the ball home after spinning and out muscling his marker.
The Blades produced a spirited second half showing, with Smith, McDonagh and Whiteman all having sights of goal, but ultimately their best efforts were in vain.
Speaking afterwards, Coach Jamie Hoyland struggled to hide his understandable disappointment.
He commented: "It was our worst performance since my arrival, to say I was annoyed and frustrated was an understatement.
"It is the rollcoaster of youth team football, it was chalk and cheese from our previous performances since the turn of the year.
"The only positive were the debuts of U16 duo Jake Eastwood and Dominic Lewin."
There was cause for cheer last Saturday though for everyone connected with the Academy, Hoyland added:
"What did make everyone happier at the weekend was seeing Diego (De Girolamo) make his senior debut at Bramall Lane."
Blades: Eastwood, Scarisbrick, Hodder, Whiteman (T. Williams 61), Banton, Pemberton, Khan, Dimaio (Coustrain 24), Smith, McDonagh (Eyre 52), Lewin.
Unused: Paling, Ptak.