United's first experience of Johnstone's Paint Trophy action ended in victory after coming from behind on Tuesday night.
All three goals came in a seven-minute second-half spell and Justin Richards gave Burton Albion the lead at the Pirelli Stadium. But 22-year-old Irishman David McAllister and 20-year-old Norwegian Erik Tonne secured the first round victory for the Blades.
Boss Wilson made five changes from the team that faced Yeovil. Long, Mendez-Laing, Slew, McAllister and Philliskirk all started, whilst Simonsen, Jean-Francois, Quinn, Montgomery and Cresswell made way. Doyle took the captain's armband.
The personnel on the team sheet suggested a change in system and that proved to be the case once the action began. United's management team had opted for a 3-4-3 formation. The back three were Lowton, Maguire and Collins, the midfield quartet were Mendez-Laing, Doyle, McAllister and Flynn, leaving Slew, Porter and Philliskirk in attack.
McGrath fired over the first chance for Burton and from the game's first corner, a Collins header flew over the crossbar from Flynn's delivery.
Maghoma, on Burton's right flank, saw a lot of the ball early on and it was from a foul on him by Mendez-Laing, on 14 minutes, that the home outfit went very close to opening the scoring. McGrath's powerful free-kick sneaked under the wall but Long kept his eye on the ball and made an impressive fingertip save, which brought the young goalkeeper congratulations from Collins.
Moments later Maghoma again caused United problems but this time, after going around the outside of Lowton, his effort from the right cannoned off the crossbar.
Burton striker Richards was the first to be shown a yellow card, for a tackle on Maguire, and there was little in terms of goalmouth action around the mid-section of the half, although the home side's Maghoma continued to look a threat. On 36 minutes, he cut inside both Mendez-Laing and Lowton but dragged his shot wide.
Maghoma turned provider on 39 minutes, playing in Phillips, who curled just wide but the Blades also went close - Mendez-Laing delivered a cross for Philliskirk, who headed down and ended in the net himself as he watched his effort bounce over the crossbar!
There was still time for two more Burton efforts before the half-time whistle but Austin headed over a Maghoma free-kick and a run and shot from Phillips needed pushing out by Long.
The Blades made a change for the start of the second half with Parrino introduced for his first appearance of the season. Philliskirk was replaced, which also prompted a switch to 4-4-2, Lowton employed as a left-back.
Referee Gibbs was called upon to book McGrath for a foul on Slew moments after the re-start and United began to force the home side back, both Doyle and Mendez-Laing having shots blocked.
Long stopped and then gathered in a shot from Phillips just before the hour and moments later the teenage goalkeeper needed treatment for a bloodied nose when he bravely punched away a cross from the left.
His next job, however, was to pick the ball out of the net. On 73 minutes, from a straight, long clearance, substitute Yussuf flicked on and RICHARDS took a steadying touch before curling into the top corner, beyond Long's left hand.
Wilson responded by introducing Tonne for Mendez-Laing but it was one of the starters that brought United level with the very next attack. From Maguire's ball forward, McALLISTER coolly brought the ball down on his chest before slotting into the bottom right corner.
A deflected McAllister shot looped up on to the crossbar and Burton were now struggling to contain the Blades, who edged ahead with ten minutes remaining. Slew's pass found TONNE, 25 yards out, and his low shot, from the right, was too hot for goalkeeper Atkins and found the bottom corner.
Late on, United took control of the game and came close to adding a third. McAllister's long ranger was just wide and then Slew fired across goal in injury time.
Maghoma - arguably Burton's best player - went close to levelling the scores once more but his shot, after cutting in from the left, was kicked away by Collins and with it went Paul Peschisolido's chances of progressing in the JPT!
Burton: Atkins, McGrath, Moore, Corbett, Richards, Zola (Yussuf 67), Austin, Phillips, Maghoma, Blanchett, Dyer.
Unused: Poole, Webster, James, Palmer.
Blades: Long, Lowton, Mendez-Laing (Tonne 74), Doyle, Flynn, Slew, Collins, Maguire, McAllister, Porter (Harriott 88), Philliskirk (Parrino 45).
Unused: Simonsen, Conneely.