The Blades kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 40 mile trip down the M1 to Ilkeston and the New Manor Ground.
On an evening of mixed weather (glorious sunshine, followed by violent storms), the teams finished stalemate with the Maguire brothers grabbing a goal each to share the spoils.
United included trialists Jack Dean, Luke Foster and Darryl Westlake in the squad, with a starting lineup seeing a blend of youth and experience.
It was the Blades who started off brighter, but the first half passed with little of note, the main chances being long range efforts from Harry Maguire on a trade mark wander up-field, Danny Philliskirk who had a shot deflected towards goal and Nick Montgomery who stung the palms of the home side’s keeper with a shot straight at him from well outside the box.
The break signaled time for changes, with the Blades making 5 substitutions and introducing loanee John Cofie and the much speculated about Darryl Westlake.
The change seemed to offer a bit of a spark, with Cofie and Porter starting to cause more trouble in the final third, but it was a center back who opened the scoring with Harry Maguire nodding Tonne’s corner past the despairing Timms. The Blades continued to press, forcing the keeper into saves from distance and forcing a number of corners.
Chances fell to Harriot, Tonne and Whitehouse, but a combination of rebounds and reaction saves kept the Blades only one in front and Ilkeston in the game.
The home side sensed the fixture slipping away and went for an equaliser, late flurries forcing Westlake into a couple of vital interceptions and bringing Howard properly into the game as they looked to stretch the Blades defence.
It was left to another Maguire in Joe to take a share of the spoils with a couple of minutes on the clock, taking possession in a central position and whilst the words “should have shot first time” were leaving my lips, curling a unstoppable effort past the panicking defenders and in off the post, leaving Howard with no chance.
Ilkeston FC: Timms, Wilcox (Bate 65), R. Wilson (Freeman 65), L. Wilson (Chambers 69), Partridge (J. Maguire 65), Cooke (Hill 64), Watts (Peel 69), Richards (Storey 69), Ford (Ricketts 45), Thomas (Robinson 69), McCall (Reid 45).
Sheffield United: Howard, Dean (Westlake 45), H. Maguire, Collins (Foster 62), Williams, Chapell (McAllister 45), Montgomery (Harriott 45), Whitehouse (Ironside 82), Tonne, Cresswell (Porter 45), Philliskirk (Cofie 45),