SHEFFIELD United produced an impressive away performance as they scored a goal in each half to beat Rochdale.
The Blades showed some style during the second half as they firmly consolidated fifth place in League One.
Rochdale enjoyed the better of the opening period, but found themselves a goal behind at half-time. Marc McNulty broke the deadlock after 21 minutes at Spotland, latching onto a measured through-ball from Bob Harris before side-footing neatly into the corner of the net.
Earlier, Peter Vincenti had gone close with a header before Harris dragged a shot wide at the other end.
Rochdale remained on the offensive after they fell behind, with Ian Henderson seeing a header saved by Iain Turner, while Jay McEveley had to hack a Michael Rose shot off the line.
Nigel Clough’s men appeared reinvigorated after the restart, and stretched their lead just past the hour mark when John Brayford met a short pass from Michael Doyle before driving in a shot past Josh Lillis.
Rochdale halved the deficit with 15 minutes to go when Jack O’Connell headed home a cross from Henderson.
But the Blades remained resolute during the closing spell to seal the points.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Eastham, O’Connell, Kennedy, Hery, Logan (Noble-Lazarus, 31), Rose, Vincenti (Bennett, 69), Henderson, Brandy (Bell, 55). Unused substitutes: Diba-Musangu, Tanser, Allen, Bunney.
Sheffield United: Turner, Brayford, Kennedy, McEveley, Harris, Basham, Doyle, Flynn (Freeman, 71), Coutts (Reed, 83), Murphy, McNulty (Done, 46). Unused substitutes: Willis, Davies, Adams, Calvert-Lewin.
Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).