The performance was convincing, the eventual result cruel.
And when goalkeeper Simon Moore eventually reemerged from the home team dressing room to face the media after Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to Cardiff City, the pain of Anthony Pilkington’s injury-time equaliser had not yet subsided.
“The boys are gutted,” said Moore, after Pilkington cancelled out Leon Clarke’s first-half opener and denied United a deserved three points that would have taken them back into the play-off positions.
“I think that’s probably one of the best performances we’ve put in all season but we’ve said it many times so far... we’ve been the better side in the majority of games this season but if you want to go up, you’ve got to be able to see out games like that.
“But, we’re still in with a shot. We always look at ourselves first and foremost, but when you look at other results that went our way on Monday [Bristol City losing and Middlesbrough only drawing], we’re still in with a very good chance.
“At the minute, it hurts and it’s hard to be positive. But there are positives to take out of the game, moving into the final bit of the season.”
With just six games of the Championship season to go, United trail sixth-placed Boro by a single point and still have Tony Pulis’ men, Millwall, Preston and City to play.
But after conceding another late, decisive goal - previous defeats at home to Aston Villa and Lee Johnson’s Robins came from injury-time strikes - Moore admitted: “We’ve been undone before by a bit of quality; against Villa, Robert Snodgrass has scored with a great strike and Cardiff have scored with another good finish from a player who’s played in the Premier League.
“So that’s sometimes the difference, those little one per cents and we’ve been on the receiving end of a few.
“But we’ll dissect it and take things on board.
“We’re all hurting in the dressing room but there are positives to take, and we’ll keep working hard and give ourselves the best possible chance of getting to where we want to be come the end of the season.”
Blades chief Chris Wilder appeared to distance himself from reports linking him with the vacant West Brom job after the Cardiff game, which saw his side dominate almost the entire game but take only a point.
The Premier League strugglers recently sacked manager Alan Pardew and Wilder emerged on the shortlist with many bookmakers. But the 50-year-old told BBC Radio Sheffield: “I don’t want to talk about that tonight, the way I feel about that.
“This is my football club, as everybody knows, I’ll keep doing well and keep improving us here.”