Blades 3-2 Doncaster - report
The Blades secured a second South Yorkshire derby win in the space of four days and in the process completed the double over Doncaster Rovers.
In an entertaining fixture, the Blades were forced to come from behind before Steven Davies netted the winner with around 20 minutes to go.
Jose Baxter drew United level from the penalty spot with his 13th goal of the season, whilst Matt Done made it seven in a Blades shirt by nipping in front of Andy Butler.
Injuries forced Murphy and Kennedy to miss the much-awaited clash and their slots in the starting XI were taken up by Baxter and Done, which meant a reshuffle, including Basham returning to central defence.
The game's first chance, on two minutes, came from the visitors and it needed an impressive save to keep the scoreline blank. Main met Bennett's cross but Howard, at full-stretch, flicked away with his left hand. Done was lively early on, whilst United's first opportunity was a Baxter free-kick on the edge of the box but he could not evade the wall.
Further shots, by Baxter and Harris, both from distance, failed to find the target before the visitors grabbed the lead. On 17 minutes, Coppinger lost his marker in midfield, found BENNETT, who cut inside onto his right foot and curled past Howard's left hand.
In response, a Baxter volley was on target but struck a Doncaster defender, possibly on the hand, whilst the Blades were forced into another shuffle on 28 minutes when Harris limped off, to be replaced by McEveley.
However, within a minute, Freeman, now operating at left-back, contributed to the build-up as the Blades levelled. His pass into space saw Done nip in ahead of McCombe and drew the foul from defender in the penalty area, despite going away from goal. The spot-kick was awarded and BAXTER obliged from 12 yards.
The remainder of the half saw the visitors edge the possession and territorial advantage but the only threats on Howard's goal were two long distances shots from Bennett, within the space of three minutes, but the Blades goalkeeper got behind both.
The visitors began the second period like they finished the first, on top, and will wonder how they did not score. Former Blade Butler saw a header from a corner flicked away by Baxter and then the defender took his eye off the ball from Bennett's cross.
Coppinger then came to the fore, he shot onto the roof of the net following a breakaway and then spun Tyson's left-wing delivery onto the crossbar - a minute before United took the lead against the run of play. From a Davies cross, DONE was too quick for Butler and deflected the ball into the Kop net, with the aid of the back post.
Doncaster, however, levelled with their next chance, seven minutes later. BENNETT appeared to be surrounded by red and white shirts but with little backlift, he fired into the top corner from 25 yards.
Doyle took over from Baxter in midfield and with the next serious attack, the Blades regained the lead. On 71 minutes, from Brayford's throw, DAVIES worked hard to keep possession and when the space opened up, he curled beyond Bywater's right hand.
A minute later Howard was forced to save after Tyson got clear down the right channel and Alcock replaced the tiring Flynn. Doncaster, searching for an equaliser, were now applying the pressure and on 82 minutes Brayford was forced to head over his own crossbar after his stray clearance gave Wellens a shooting chance.
Doncaster were appealing for a penalty when a shot from Stevens hit Brayford and Bennett wasted a hat-trick chance when he blazed over the crossbar. In the final five minutes Basham blocked from Furman as the Blades were being forced back.
Four minutes of added time was announced and again it was a case of repelling Doncaster pressure. Butler's free header from Bennett's cross saw Main fail to force home from close range and Wabara's long ranger was saved and held by Howard...it proved to be the last chance as United held on to complete the double over Rovers.
Blades: Howard, Harris (McEveley 28), Brayford, Basham, Flynn (Alcock 76), Baxter (Doyle 63), Done, Coutts, Freeman, S. Davies, Holt.
Unused: McNulty, Reed, Turner, Adams.
Doncaster: Bywater, Furman, McCombe, Main, Tyson (Clarke-Harris 76), Butler, Stevens, Wellens, Wabara, Bennett, Coppinger (Forrester 81).
Unused: Evina, Jones, Razak, Marosi, Mandeville.