SHEFFIELD United coasted to the top of League One with victory down South at Bournemouth.
Before kick-off it was second versus fourth. Two squads stocked full of talent.
Predictably, it started in cagey fashion with Collins and Maguire both making routine clearances as Ritchie probed for the hosts.
In the third minute, though, only the crossbar prevented a tremendous looping shot from Robson, released by Kitson’s header, from firing United in front.
That was the cue for the match to explode into life with, two minutes later, Long making a fine stop to parry Grabban’s effort around the post before Doyle, standing at the near post, cleared an Arter piledriver, off the line.
Danny Wilson, whose United side kicked-off only a point behind their opponents, had deliberately shied away from making sweeping assumptions about the race for the Championship before this match.
Wilson, a veteran of nearly 950 games in the dug-out, also warned he would not be falling into that particular trap afterwards too.
A third corner, in the 16th minute, saw Higginbotham force Jalal to save but, three minutes later, the Bournemouth goalkeeper was picking the ball out of the back of his net.
Collins, after Grabban had been cautioned, launched a free-kick forward and although MURPHY’S initial drive hit the foot of the post, he seized possession again and powered home from inside the box.
United, barring the odd brief scare, had controlled much of the first-half.
The organisation and discipline Wilson’s charges had display before the break had been impressive.
Kicking towards the open end of this ground after the re-start, they continued to get bodies behind the ball during the early skirmishes while showing good composure in possession.
And Wilson’s men successfully negotiated four minutes of added time to claim a hugely impressive and vitally important victory.