Teenager Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the game as the Blades opened their senior pre-season programme with a victory at Ilkeston FC on Saturday.
Against the non-leaguers, Nigel Adkins, in his first game on the touchline for the Blades, gave 23 players a run, with the majority playing 45 minutes.
Calvert-Lewin netted with five minutes to go to secure the victory in the Derbyshire sunshine.
United's intent was evident from just 90 seconds in when Higdon's header from a Harris corner needed clearing off the line. There were quite a few early chances for the Blades, including a second for Higdon when he headed just wide at the back post.
McNulty got in on the action, but was twice denied by home goalkeeper Rachoni. For Ilkeston, Gordon looped an effort into the arms of Howard, but United's dominance continued.
Just after the half hour Higdon's diving header from another Harris cross was cleared off the line at the near post, whilst James Wallace headed at the home goalkeeper and Basham's shot was deflected wide.
First half team: Howard, Freeman, Collins, McEveley (c), Harris, Campbell-Ryce, Basham J. Wallace, Murphy, McNulty, Higdon. Sub: Reed.
Ilkeston old boys Kieran Wallace and Adams were part of the second half Blades team and the latter had a great chance on 55 minutes but he was denied by goalkeeper Rachoni's legs.
Adams looked lively from the left, whilst there were plenty of deliveries into the box from Cuvelier, Dimaio and McFadzean.
Long was largely redundant at one end, whilst as the last ten minutes approached Adams went close to opening the scoring again. De Girolamo also had a chance before the breakthrough finally came on 85 minutes.
Kieran Wallace brought the ball out of defence and a loose ball saw Adams and De Girolamo both involved before CALVERT-LEWIN stretched to beat Rachoni, directing the ball into the bottom corner.
United continued to attack in the closing minutes but there was no further threats to the home goal before the final whistle.
Second half team: Long, Dimaio, McGahey (c), K. Wallace, McFadzean, Scougall, Baxter, Cuvelier (Reed 80), Adams, Calvert-Lewin, DeGirolamo.