Sheffield United travelled to Greater Manchester as the Blades looked to extend their lead at the top of League One against 10th placed Rochdale.

Chris Wilder named an unchanged starting XI from last week’s vital win over Bolton Wanderers at Bramall Lane, and the Blades took their fine form straight onto the pitch at Spotland when Mark Duffy opened the scoring on 5 minutes:

After the midfielder’s free-kick, left-wing-back Danny Lafferty doubled his side’s lead within the first 15 minutes of the game with a 30-yard screamer and the Blades looked to be cruising:

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However, Rochdale raised their tempo after falling two goals behind and, following ex-Blade Steven Davies’ goal in the first half, Matty Lund instantly bagged the equaliser from the back post as the teams returned from the tunnels for the second-half. The Dale had taken control of the League One fixture and the 3,500 travelling supporters were worried:

Ten minutes later Wilder’s side were back in front through a Billy Sharp volley, his 24th goal of the season, with Chris Basham providing the assist. Sheffield United fans showed their relief on Twitter at going ahead once again as Rochdale had proven to be tough opponents and were pushing the South Yorkshire club hard:

But Keith Hill’s side had not given up. Another former Blade, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, found the net to secure his club a point with around ten minutes left on the clock. Rochdale had been resilient and their determined performance won the Greater Manchester club a point against the league-leaders, and it could have been more.

Sheffield United can be comforted by the results of Scunthorpe United and Bolton Wanderers, who both failed to win, but with the former losing to Fleetwood Town it means that Uwe Rosler’s side are just five points behind the Blades. Roster’s team host the Trotters on Saturday in what will be a important clash for all four sides battling for automatic promotion.

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