Doncaster 0-1 Blades - report
A sending off, a penalty save and a magnificent winning goal from the Blades - what more do you want from a local derby?
It was Jamie Murphy who scored the all-important goal, cutting in from the left and giving Rovers goalkeeper Sam Johnstone no chance.
This came moments after Paddy McCarthy was sent off for a foul on James Coppinger and a subsequent penalty save from Mark Howard.
Official teamsheets, handed to the referee an hour before kick-off, saw a couple of surprises, notably McEveley skippered the Blades. He was one of eight changes from the midweek JPT encounter and partnered returning loanee McCarthy in the heart of the defence. Doyle dropped to the bench and was joined by new capture Adams. United included four teenagers amongst the substitutes.
The early exchanges were played out at a tempo with only half chances to report inside the opening 15 minutes. A Blades corner on two minutes saw Basham and McCarthy win important headers and Scougall almost attached himself to Baxter's nod down from Basham's diagonal delivery. For the home side, Forrester's first time effort was well wide and a quick free-kick saw Howard force Tyson wide.
The game's first serious chance was when Forrester and Main linked up to present Coppinger with a shooting opportunity but Howard parried away and United were forced into a change when Wallace limped off, Doyle took over his midfield responsibilities.
Doncaster picked up three bookings and the home fans' displeasure assisted in Basham collecting a yellow card on 40 minutes, just before United made a strong end to the half.
A 30-yard free-kick from Baxter was on target but punched away by Johnstone and a minute later it appeared that Campbell-Ryce was inside the box when he was pulled back by the already-cautioned Stevens but referee Hill decided to award free-kick right on the edge of the box, from which the Blades produced a rehearsed move with Doyle's powerful shot being deflected just wide.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw United applying pressure but despite crosses from either flank, chances were again limited. There was another penalty shout, on 52 minutes, but Campbell-Ryce's shot hit the hand of Stevens.
However, the drama was upped just after the hour. A sending off, a penalty save and a goal... all inside around five minutes!
It began with a Doncaster breakaway and a couple of fortunate ricochets before McCarthy was given little option but to foul Coppinger, who was about to shoot. A penalty was given and McCarthy shown a red card, all before Howard dived to his right to push away Forrester's spot-kick.
Basham moved into the back four alongside McEveley and boss Clough was moments away from replace Campbell-Ryce with Flynn when the deadlock was broken. Alcock's crossfield ball saw Baxter lay off for MURPHY to cut in from the left and let fly with a 20-yard effort which beat Johnstone and flew into the net - just in front of the Blades fans.
As United continued to adapt to playing with ten men, Main's 20 yard effort was pushed over the crossbar by Howard and Wakefield and McCombe both won headers in the Blades box from set-pieces. The visitors were not being overawed, though, Baxter fired over from inside his own half when Johnstone was out of position and Murphy attempted to repeat his goal but shot just wide of the near post.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes, Rovers substitute Bennett fired against Howard's left post and Forrester's shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Late on McGahey replaced Baxter, attempting to sure up the victory, and three minutes of added time saw United as solid as the previous 90 to record a very welcome South Yorkshire derby victory.
Rovers: Johnstone, McCombe, Forrester, Main (J. McKay 87) Tyson (Robinson 71), Wakefield, Stevens, Keegan (Bennett 78), Wellens, Wabara, Coppinger.
Unused: Marosi, De Val, P. McKay, Whitehouse.
Blades: Howard, Alcock, Harris, Wallace (Doyle 20), Basham, Murphy, Scougall, Baxter (McGahey 88), McEveley, Campbell-Ryce (Flynn 64), McCarthy.
Unused: Reed, De Girolamo, Turner, Adams.