Former Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka helped Stoke City consign the Championship leaders to a second consecutive loss.
The home side took an early lead when Ben Wilmot converted from a clipped cross by 40-year-old Jagielka but Rhian Brewster leveled for the away side with a close range volley.
Jagielka then headed home from a corner in added time at the end of the first half for his first goal since April 2019.
The Potters, who had been winless in three, wrapped up the victory in the final minute when Liam Delap tapped in from close range from Tyrese Campbell’s centre.
Paul Heckingbottom’s men remained top of the table after Norwich fell to a surprise 3-2 home reverse by Preston but are now only clear of the Canaries and third-placed QPR on goal difference.
There could easily have been more goals in a very exciting first half, with both teams looking threatening every time they went forward.
Potters midfielder Tariqe Fosu saw a powerful shot come back off the crossbar from distance and Iliman Ndiaye’s quality low effort hit the post for the visitors when the scores were tied at 1-1.
Jagielka, who had two spells with the Blades, became the first 40-year-old to score in the Championship since Kevin Phillips in 2014 when he powered in a header from Lewis Baker’s corner to send the home side ahead at the break.
Alex Neil’s side had the better of the second half but Blades keeper Wes Foderingham produced fine saves from Fosu and Campbell to keep the away side in the game.
However, Manchester City loanee Delap, the son of former Stoke and Republic of Ireland midfielder Rory, wrapped up the win right at the end with his first goal for the club.
Sheffield United will look to get back on track when they host Blackpool next Saturday, while the Potters travel to Neil’s former side Preston on the same day.
Stoke City boss Alex Neil told BBC Radio Stoke:
“I thought it was a great performance from the lads.
“Jagielka has been incredible in the past two games. He showed his experience and quality and why he’s played at the level he has.
“If I could have written down how the game could have gone today it probably wouldn’t have been far off that.
“I spoke about how the players needed to show the passion, desire and willingness to win and the fans would back them but it’s only one game.”
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom told BBC Radio Sheffield:
“We knew we’d be a little bit open because of the players we had out. It was a bit of a basketball match in the first half.
“We didn’t have the biggest team today but it’s still disappointing to concede from set plays.
“We didn’t get the control to get up the pitch because when we got it forward it kept coming back.
“The injuries meant we had to change everything about our set-up. Today we battled and it was good in moments but we came here to win.”
- 20SterlingSubstituted forClarkeat 82′minutes
- 16WilmotBooked at 86mins
- 18SmallboneSubstituted forClucasat 83′minutes
- 8BakerSubstituted forThompsonat 90+6′minutes
- 10CampbellBooked at 90mins
- 11GayleSubstituted forDelapat 72′minutes
- 24Ex-HenryBooked at 62mins
- 34GordonSubstituted forSachdevat 75′minutes
- 33Norrington-DaviesBooked at 90mins
- 22DoyleSubstituted forOsborneat 75′minutes
- 28McAteeSubstituted forArblasterat 66′minutes
- 7BrewsterSubstituted forJebbisonat 75′minutes
- 11KhadrSubstituted forSharpeat 58′minutes
- 2. 3Osborne
- Peter Banks
Match ends, Stoke City 3, Sheffield United 1.
Second Half ends, Stoke City 3, Sheffield United 1.
Substitution, Stoke City. Jordan Thompson replaces Lewis Baker.
Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Harry Clarke (Stoke City).
Ben Osborn (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.
Goal! Stoke City 3, Sheffield United 1. Liam Delap (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range to the center of the goal. Assisted by Tyrese Campbell.
Attempt missed. Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Iliman Ndiaye.
Ben Wilmot (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Josh Laurent (Stoke City).
Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City).
Chris Basham (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Stoke City. Sam Clucas replaces William Smallbone.
Substitution, Stoke City. Harry Clarke replaces Dujon Sterling.
Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sai Sachdev (Sheffield United).
Attempt missed. Iliman Ndiaye (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Rhys Norrington-Davies.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Daniel Jebbison replaces Rhian Brewster.