This game will definitely go down as action-packed, but when Mousset fired in early doors, the Gas perhaps didn’t see as much of a spectacle over the next 90 as would later come to fruition, with the Blades in the ascendancy.
Kilgour’s header from a well-delivered corner in the first half leveled things up before the Blades would once again take the lead after the break, through Burke. Max Ehmer supplied a rapid response from a corner before the away side would hit a comeback blow of their own through Bogle. The 2nd half goals all coming inside 4 minutes.
The Gas were determined not to go out with a whimper but saw their attempts to break down United batted away in the late stages.
Two changes came from Paul Tisdale ahead of his side’s 3rd Round game, as Jonah Ayunga replaced the injured Sam Nicholson, and Joe Day started on his debut, coming in for Jordi Van Stappershoef.
Cagey opening stages were punctuated just after the 5-minute mark as Sheffield United stamped their authority on the fixture with the opening goal. A smart cross whipped in from the left flank found the head of Lys Mousset who expertly diverted into the top left corner. It looked to be cannoning off the bar, but a deflection off the diving Joe Day took it back into the Rovers net.
Sheffield United continued to show their class, halting Rovers’ surges forward, while digging out chances of their own. David McGoldrick found space to curl an effort towards Day’s goal from outside the box on the 12th minute but saw it go wide.
John Lundstram’s lung-busting run into the area was brought to an end crucially by Jack Baldwin 5 minutes later as the Gas looked to fight their way back into the game.
On the 20th minute mark, a bolt from the blue was enough to get the Gas back into it. Zain Westbrooke delivered a superb ball into the area from a free-kick on the right flank, but a lot needed to be done to convert the cross into a chance. Kilgour competed well, leaping highest to get his head on the delivery and convert into the top left, past the outstretched Aaron Ramsdale. Another iconic goal to add to Kilgour’s expanding collection.
Shouts came for a penalty on the half-hour mark as Luke Leahy launched a challenge on Jayden Bogle inside the Rovers area, the left-back scooped out the ball cleverly, but the Blades bench voiced their discontent as the ref’ waved the penalty shouts away.
McGoldrick would ghost forward soon over, but rocketed his effort into the back of Baldwin, and saw it deflect well wide.
The resulting corner prompted a big save from Joe Day, who palmed John Lundstram’s strike on the spin, which looked bound for the top right.
On the 35th minute, the Blades thought they’d taken the league. John Egan climbed above Leahy to head goalwards, but Joe Day’s outstretched finger pushed the effort back out. Mousset followed in to stab home, but the ref’ had blown his whistle, judging that there had been a foul on Leahy by Egan.
Ed Upson forced a save up the other end, as Rovers broke quickly first through Hanlan, before he found Oztumer. The agile midfielder turned back in the area and played it to Upson who hit an effort first-time from the edge. His effort was goalbound but saved comfortably by Ramsdale.
Rovers started the 2nd half well but couldn’t carve out a clear-cut chance, whereas United, while on the back foot, found the first chance of the 2nd period, as Bogle controlled a cross before striking from inside the box. Leahy was well aware though, throwing his body in the way to block wide.
Having just come on as the first change of the game Oliver Burke may have got cold feet as he received a pullback around 12-yards out. It looked easier to find the target than miss, but he scuffed his first-time shot well wide.
Leahy seemed a constant barricade between the opposition and the Rovers net as he got another touch on a McGoldrick strike to deflect wide. United would then strike another effort towards the top right corner soon after, with a touch from Joe Day needed to take it over.
On the hour mark, Sheffield United set through Oliver Burke on the breakaway, with Rovers furious a foul wasn’t given on Baldwin in the build-up. Oliver Burke made no mistake in the one on one though, converting past Day to put the Blades back in the lead.
Seconds later, Rovers were back level, a superb corner came into the area from the right side. Jack Baldwin arrived onto it, flicking a header back across goal, with Max Ehmer then arrived to prod home and level things up from close-range.
The goals weren’t over there, with the Blades then responding with one of their own as Jayden Bogle found space at an angle inside the Rovers box. He ghosted his way in on the right side of the 6-yard box before firing low past Day to recapture the lead.
Oliver Burke had the defence unlocked again on the 67th minute, rounding Kilgour before rolling a strike past Day. This time though, the post was on hand to save the day, ricocheting the ball back into the path of Baldwin who worked it clear.
5 minutes later, Ben Osborn would have another opportunity for the Blades as the Premier League side looked to put the game to bed. He arrived at the back post to a venomous cross and transferred all its power into his strike on goal. Aiming to find the near corner, he misfired by fractions, going into the side netting.
Oliver Burke would attempt another strike with just over 12 minutes to play, as he spun away from Alfie Kilgour as he slipped. The Scotsman wound up and curled a powerful effort goalwards, but narrowly cleared the bar.
Alex Rodman, freshly on from the bench, saw his effort dragged wide of Ramsdale’s right stick from the edge of the box with just over 5 minutes to play.
4 minutes were added on, with Luke McCormick coming closest as a Josh Grant cross was chested down in his direction. He struck on goal with the ball bouncing, but Ramsdale collected well.
The Gas now host AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John’s Trophy in midweek.
Rovers: Joe Day (GK), Max Ehmer (c), Alfie Kilgour, Jack Baldwin, Luke Leahy, Zain Westbrooke, Ed Upson (Alex Rodman 80′), Erhun Oztumer (Josh Grant 60′), Luke McCormick, Brandon Hanlan, Jonah Ayunga (Josh Barrett 60′).
Subs: Jordi Van Stappershoef, Mark Little, Josh Grant, Michael Kelly, Cameron Hargreaves, Cian Harries, Alex Rodman, Josh Barrett, Ali Koiki.
Sheffield United: Aaron Ramsdale (GK), John Fleck, Chris Basham, John Lundstram (Kean Bryan 73′), Lys Mousset (Oliver Burke 51′), John Egan (c), Oliver Norwood, David McGoldrick, Jayden Bogle, Ethan Ampadu, Ben Osborn.
Subs: Michael Verrips, Billy Sharp, Max Lowe, Oliver Burke, Phil Jagielka, Rhian Brewster, Kean Bryan, Kyron Gordon.