Jordan Hallam netted a hat-trick as United's U18s began 2016 with a win, edging a seven-goal thriller against Crewe Alexandra at the SteelPhalt Academy on Saturday.
Hallam netted his treble, the last goal coming with the game level at 3-3 after Kimarni Smith had opening the scoring on his Blades debut at Shirecliffe. In truth the margin of victory could have been far greater, but missed chances and a couple of referring decisions went against United's youngsters.
The Blades started the game positively with Hall having the first shot at goal inside the opening five minutes. And in the next attack moments later, the hosts went in front, as Hallam squared the ball to new signing SMITH who tapped home from close-range.
In the 14th minute United doubled the advantage from the penalty spot as HALLAM won and converted the spot-kick, having danced his way into the area.
That was the scoring done for the opening 45 minutes, but really the Blades should have been out of sight by the break. Gordon fired inches wide after Mallon had intercepted a ball in his own half to set up a counter attack, whilst the skipper then came close for a second time, heading over a Gilmour centre.
The second-half began with Brown being denied for United, before Crewe gave themselves hope in the 57th minute, scoring with a header at the far post.
The home side responded immediately though, scoring a third straight from the restart. Hall played in HALLAM who slotted the ball past the advancing goalkeeper to restore the Blades two-goal cushion.
But Crewe refused to throw in the towel and hit back again moments, scoring with another header. In what was now a very open game, United were then controversially denied a fourth as Cummings headed towards goal from a Gilmour corner, but the officials waved play on despite the ball appearing to be at least a yard over the line, before Hallam was denied what seemed a stonewall penalty.
The game took another twist moments later as the Alex counted swiftly and equalised with an effort that gave Warhurst in the United goal little chance.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the final minutes, but with time running out it was that man HALLAM who completed an impressive hat-trick, scoring off the underside of the crossbar to ensure a deserved victory for Travis Binnion's youngsters.
Blades: Warhurst, Charlesworth (Ford 45), Brown, Gilmour, Cummings, Semple, Mallon (T. Smith 32), Gordon, Hall, Hallam, K. Smith (Burton 74).
Unused: Greaves, Ramsey.