Rochdale fell to a 3-2 defeat at Bramall Lane on Saturday, despite twice coming from behind against Sheffield United.
Che Adams opened the scoring just before the half hour mark, before Peter Vincenti levelled the scoring from the penalty spot on 37 minutes.
Dale’s equaliser was short-lived, however, as Adams netted his second of the afternoon three minutes later.
Rochdale came from behind for the second time on 72 minutes through Lewis Alessandra, but the Blades again responded within moments as Neill Collins headed home from a corner.
Manager Keith Hill made three changes to the side that triumphed over Chesterfield in the midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round tie. Olly Lancashire, Tom Kennedy and Joe Rafferty returned to the starting eleven.
Matty Done, the former Dale player, sent an effort straight into the hands of Josh Lillis in the first minute, but despite the early threat, it was Rochdale who started the match the brighter of the two teams.
Dale’s pace and energy caused problems for the Blades and Rochdale's first opportunity came in the 10th minute as Donal McDermott dragged an effort wide of the upright.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing draw a save from Mark Howard as he struck an effort from 20-yards, before Neill Collins sent a free header over the bar from a corner sixty seconds later.
Shortly before the half hour mark, arguably against the run of play, Adams opened the scoring as he latched onto a through ball from Jose Baxter. With only the ‘keeper to beat, he finished beyond Lillis with an excellent strike.
Rochdale responded superbly, though, and had chances to level the scoring, before Vincenti netted from the spot.
Mendez-Laing firstly had an effort charged down on the edge of the area, while his delivery to the back-post moments later was met by Vincenti. The Jerseyman headed narrowly wide as a late offside flag went up.
There were appeals for a penalty as Mendez-Laing was brought to ground inside the area, but as the referee waved played on, Dale kept probing and McDermott dragged a shot narrowly wide of the upright.
After receiving an earlier booking, Andy Cannon was replaced by Jamie Allen in the 36th minute as Hill made his first change of the game.
And it was almost immediately after the substitution that Dale were awarded a spot-kick as Done upended Mendez-Laing.
Vincenti rifled his penalty into the roof of the net to draw Rochdale level.
The home side responded a few minutes later, though, as Adams netted his second of the afternoon shortly before the interval. A diagonal cross from Billy Sharp was met by the forward, who controlled the pass superbly, before firing beyond Lillis.
HT: SHEFFIELD UNITED 2-1 ROCHDALE
Four minutes after the re-start Lillis pulled off a fantastic reaction save from to deny Baxter from close range. The forward had ghosted in at the back post to meet a Blades free-kick.
Shortly afterwards, the brave Lillis came out of his area to close down Done, who was through one on one with ‘keeper. He did enough to divert the ball, allowing McNulty to the smash a clearance behind.
In the 52nd minute, Hill made his second change of the game as Reuben Noble-Lazarus replaced McDermott.
Dale continued on top and Mendez-Laing, who powered through into the area, was firstly stopped from getting a shot away by an excellent timely challenge, before Noble-Lazarus was kept out at the post by Howard.
Lund sent a header into the hands of the ‘keeper from a corner, before Vincenti headed narrowly wide of the target.
Dale’s third and final substitution soon followed as Tanser was introduced into the action - he replaced Kennedy.
And Dale finally got the reward that their play warranted as they got back on level terms in the 72nd minute.
A Lund free-kick, which was blocked by the wall, was sent back into the area. It was picked up by Alessandra, who saw the ball over the line as a scramble ensued.
But Dale were dealt a blow for the second time during the game when the home-side regained the lead after sixty seconds. Neill Collins headed home at the near post from a corner ball.
Soon after, Adams had the chance to net his hat-trick but he sliced his effort high over the bar.
Two minutes later and Lund tracked back to put in a great tackle to disposes Done, who was ready to unleash a shot from inside the area.
In stoppage time, Lillis pulled off an excellent save to deny Adams.
FT: SHEFFIELD UNITED 3-2 ROCHDALE