A stunning strike from Jamie Murphy earned the win for the ten man Blades in a pulsating South Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat.
Just three minutes after Paddy McCarthy had been sent off and Rovers missed a penalty, Murphy smashed in a superb effort from 30 yards out which proved the game’s decisive strike.
After a relatively low key first half which Rovers edged, the game roared to life after the break with both sides going hammer and tongs in the Keepmoat fog.
The Blades started the brighter and dominated possession over the first quarter of an hour.
But Rovers settled into the game well and had the more threatening of the play in the opposing half.
The Blades had the first chance of the game after controlling the opening six minutes with patient possession.
Chris Basham lifted a ball over the top which caused panic in the Rovers defence, allowing Stefan Scougall in but he poked the ball wide.
Rovers’ first attempt saw Harry Forrester drill high and wide from 20 yards after a lay off from James Coppinger.
The hosts began to find their feet in the game and produced the best chance of the opening quarter with a slick passing move.
Nathan Tyson found Curtis Main who laid off to James Coppinger who producing a stinging drive which Mark Howard palmed away well.
United were forced into a early switch with James Wallace withdrawn due to an apparent thigh issue, replaced by Michael Doyle.
Rovers improved greatly as the half wore on and enjoyed the better of the possession but the Blades finished the period the more threatening.
First, Jose Baxter stung Sam Johnstone’s hands with a blistering drive from a free kick.
And then United really should have had a penalty two minutes from the break. Enda Stevens pulled back Jamal Campbell-Ryce as he darted into the box byt referee Keith Hill inexplicably signalled for a free kick on the edge of the area.
The subsequent free kick was a well worked move which saw Campbell-Ryce dummy allowing Doyle to run on and smash a shot which deflected wide.
The opening quarter hour of the second half was a breathless affair, with the game played at an incredible pace.
And then came the match’s key three minutes.
Rovers were awarded a penalty on 62 minutes when James Coppinger was brought down in the area by Paddy McCarthy, who was subsequently sent off.
Harry Forrester stepped up to take the spot kick but put it far too close to Mark Howard, who tipped the ball well clear of danger.
United surged upfield and after a corner kick was cleared, Murphy collected the ball, cut inside from the right and unleashed a brilliant curling strike from 30 yards that flew into the top corner.
Certainly for the first ten minutes after McCarthy’s dismissal, it was difficult to tell which side had a man fewer as the Blades maintained their advances.
Murphy almost grabbed a second and another from distance as he drilled low from 25 yards, sending the ball narrowly wide.
Curtis Main smashed a piledriver from 25 yards which Howard had little trouble in tipping over.
Substitute Kyle Bennett almost drew Rovers level in spectacular fashion. Twenty yards out and in one swift move, Bennett turned and struck a half volley which came back off the post.
Paul Dickov threw on youngster Jack McKay for his debut but he struggled to have a say as United retreated deeper and deeper, happy to shut Rovers out.
Rovers: Johnstone, Wakefield, Wabara, McCombe, Stevens, Coppinger, Keegan (Bennett 79), Wellens, Forrester, Main (McKay 87), Tyson (Robinson 71).
Subs not used: Marosi, De Val, P McKay, Whitehouse.
Blades: Howard, Alcock, McCarthy, McEveley, Harris, Campbell-Ryce (Flynn 64), Basham, Wallace (Doyle 21), Murphy, Scougall, Baxter (McGahey 88).
Subs not used: Turner, Reed, De Girolamo, Adams.
Referee: Keith Hill
Cards: Yellow: Keegan, Stevens, Main, Forrester (all Rovers); Basham (United). Red: McCarthy (United)
Att: 11,037 (4,269)