SHEFFIELD United claimed a late equaliser to deny ROCHDALE their first-ever win at Bramall Lane in League One.
The hosts are favourites for the title yet were outplayed in the first half and midfielder Andy Cannon gave Dale a deserved lead on 43 minutes with his third goal in three games.
Blades captain Billy Sharp and former Bury striker Leon Clarke barely had a sniff all game, with Niall Canavan and Harrison McGahey in commanding form at the back for Dale.
But Sharp slipped their attentions in the 81st minute to turn in Chris Hussey’s inswinging free-kick and prevent a third straight loss under new boss Chris Wilder.
That also prevented Dale celebrating their first league win after losing last week’s opener at home to Peterborough but manager Keith Hill will be encouraged by the fact that, for most of the contest, they had the better of a side with far greater resources.
Dale passed it about as much as possible and while it was a quiet first half, the hosts began to get frustrated with Mark Duffy firing wide from their only chance before the break.
Home keeper George Long had earlier rushed out to block Ian Henderson’s shot while Cannon and Donal McDermott both dragged shots wide for Dale.
But just before the break, Long spilled a deflected low shot by Henderson and Cannon pounced to turn in the rebound. Before this season the 20-year-old youth product had played 49 games without scoring but not only did he break his duck last week, he’s now scored three in three!
The Blades made a positive response after the break, with former Dale forward Matt Done and Duffy going close. Clarke then headed inches wide from a Duffy cross as the Blades began to build some pressure.
And after Dale gave away a free-kick on United’s right wing, ex-Bury left-back Hussey came across to whip the ball in and Sharp lost his marker to turn the ball in at the near post. The Blades breathed a collective sigh of relief and were definitely the happier side as both earned their first point of the season.
Rochdale: Lillis 6, Rafferty 7, McGahey 7, Canavan 7, McNulty 7, Cannon 8 (Camps 78, 6), Allen 7, McDermott 8, Mendez-Laing 7 (Odelusi 68, 6), Henderson 7, Andrew 7. Subs: Bunney, Morley, Tanser, Thompson, Logan.
Attendance: 19,399 (511 away).