United's women's team fell to a 2-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic as goals either side of the break were enough to down the Blades.
A scruffy goal from Amber Stobbs just before the break was complemented by a stunner from Charley Clifford on a frustrating afternoon which saw Sam Tierney sent off.
United made a bright enough start to the match with Sophie Jones hitting an effort over whilst Ellie Fletcher headed wide from a Beth Merrick free-kick, the latter one of two changes to United's starting line-up with Hollie Barker also coming in for her first league start.
Kit Graham was the main threat for the hosts and she tested Alex Brooks on several occasions before Stobbs put Charlton ahead.
United weren't happy as Stobbs just about managed to prod the ball over the line at the second attempt but the Blades protested that the ball hadn't fully crossed the line.
Either way, Ward's side started the second half brightly as Jones once again tested Katie Startup and Merrick's lobbed effort dropped well over as United searched for an equaliser.
With the game hanging in the balance, Tierney picked up a second yellow card with 20 minutes to go and it left United with a massive task on their hands.
That task became almost impossible when Charley Clifford's screamer found the top corner and left United needing two goals in 15 minutes with a player less than their opponents.
The introduction of Jodie Michalska for her first Blades appearance after two years out was a bright light on a tough day, the striker forcing several good saves out of Katie Startup in the last few minutes as United looked for a way back into the game.
But despite some late pressure, it was Charlton who held on for a 2-0 victory and United will have a chance to respond at Crystal Palace next weekend.
Blades: Brooks, H. Barker, Fletcher, Cox, Gilliatt, Pennock (Ford 90), Tierney, S. Barker, Merrick (Michalska 64), Jones, Rayner (Dixon 76).
Unused: Joyce, Cresswell.