Blades 3-1 Rovers - reportUnited's dominance over local rivals Doncaster Rovers continued as Nigel Adkins' side returned to winning ways.
After last season's double over Rovers, goals from captain Chris Basham, Conor Sammon, his first at Bramall Lane, and Billy Sharp, his sixth successive goal in league games, secured three valuable points.
For the visitors, Gary MacKenzie was sent off in the first half as United returned to the top six.
Boss Adkins made six changes to his team ahead of the derby. McEveley (pelvis) and Campbell-Ryce (ankle) missed out through injury. Coutts made his first appearance of the season, whilst there were first league starts for Alcock and Flynn. Basham took the captain's armband.
The personnel on show would have left some supporters wondering about the formation but it was quickly evident that the management team were persisting with 4-4-2, Coutts and Flynn in wide midfield roles and Alcock and Wallace acting as the full-backs.
Early on, Anderson escaped Baxter and saw his shot hit Collins, resulting in a corner, from which an unmarked Taylor-Sinclair headed over at the back post. Despite this, United made a bright start. Flynn had two efforts blocked, whilst Baxter scuffed wide after the visitors could only half-clear a Wallace cross.
United's bright start and neat passing was rewarded on 17 minutes. Alcock got forward down on the right and his near post cross saw BASHAM smash home an unstoppable volley from six yards.
Doncaster hit back, Collins kicked away from a Williams effort before the leveller arrived on 27 minutes. A free-kick on the edge of the box saw STEWART clip over the wall and just inside the near post, despite Howard getting a hand to the ball.
The Blades responded positively, though. Sammon attached himself to Basham's pass and although he held off his marker and drew the goalkeeper, his shot was across the goal-line. The loan striker's first Lane goal, however, was moments away. On 35 minutes, Alcock's pace put Doncaster on the back foot and from a pin-point cross from Coutts, SAMMON sidefooted home at the back post.
Howard helped Evina's effort over the crossbar as Rovers looked to level again, but the visitors were soon hampered following one of their own corners. MacKenzie's attempt to prevent Alcock clearing was deemed dangerous by referee Heywood, who showed the Donny defender a straight red card.
Apart from another free-kick from Stewart, which flew into the Kop, there was little to report before the break as United protected the lead.
Both sides made a change at the break, Freeman replacing Alcock for United, and inside the opening four minutes, Sammon twice beat goalkeeper Stuckmann but could not extend the advantage. After robbing Chaplow, he fired against a post, and then, from the resulting corner, his header was cleared off the line by Coppinger.
Wallace cut in from the left and shot at Stuckmann as United remained the attacking force, whilst Adkins used all his replacements with around 30 minutes left, Reed and Adams introduced.
Basham and Adams picked up bookings but United remained the dominant force. From Reed's ball over the defence, Sharp's run and shot was saved by Stuckmann, whilst an effort from Adams was deflected wide by Forrester and a Collins header from a corner was wide.
A third and decisive goal, however, was handed to the Blades on 79 minutes. Coppinger, standing in at right-back, played a short back-pass which SHARP beat Stuckmann to, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into the empty net at the Kop end.
Sharp stung Stuckmann's palms in the final ten minutes and Reed shot wide as United continued to force Doncaster back. In the closing stages, the visitors failed test the Blades backline, even with a couple of late corners, as United made it three successive wins over the Keepmoat side.
Blades: Howard, Basham, Flynn, Coutts (Adams 61), Sharp, Baxter (Reed 55), Collins, Sammon, Alcock (Freeman 45), K Wallace, Edgar.
Unused: McNulty, Woolford, Long, McGahey.
Donny: Stuckmann, Evina, Butler, Wellens (Gobern 71), Williams, MacKenzie, Keegan (Chaplow 45), Taylor-Sinclair, Anderson, Coppinger, Stewart (Forrester 55).
Unused: N'Guessan, Mandeville, Marosi, McKay.