As Jamie Murphy slid on his knees to celebrate a stunning strike, it was relief for the Blades and more misery for Rovers.
It took a three-minute burst to clear the fog momentarily and fire Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby into life.
A penalty, a sending off, a spot-kick miss and a sublime strike - the Keepmoat didn’t know what had hit them as the 61st to 64th minutes of the game had everything you could hope for in a mouth-watering derby day fixture.
Up until then, it had been a rather cagey affair as two drastically reshuffled teams ended a difficult week for Nigel Clough’s United and prolonged a stop-start campaign for Paul Dickov’s Doncaster contingent.
Those questioning the future of the Rovers manager have also resurfaced after the 1-0 defeat compelled Dickov’s side to their seventh defeat of the season with just one win at home.
Rovers were going into the tie on the back of a draw and a win from their last two games with Dickov boasting an enviable derby record of P11 W6 D3 L2 and proving victorious in their last five Yorkshire encounters (not including Middlesbrough).
But they were facing a stubborn Sheffield side who, despite only scoring three in their last five games, have shown they can grind out results when it matters.
Clough’s men started like an outfit intent on putting to bed their misery in front of goal.
With eight changes to the starting XI which faced Walsall in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy midweek defeat, the Blades included a spot on the bench for non-league signing Che Adams and lined up against a Doncaster side with four switches from their Bradford City triumph a fortnight ago.
Doncaster’s defence - missing the stability of Andy Butler and Luke McCullough in particular - would have offered United hope to turn their barren goalscoring fortunes around as Liam Wakefield, Reece Wabara, Jamie McCombe and Enda Stevens took their places.
In particular, loanee Stevens was in for an interesting afternoon in his left-back spot.
The visiting men could have been celebrating as early as the seventh minute when Stefan Scougall was inches away from connecting with a lofted ball whilst bearing down on goal.
It took a wayward effort in the 11th minute from Harry Forrester for Rovers to offer any glimmer of hope in terms of a chance.
But they did boast the best effort of the half when good interchanging play involving Forrester and Curtis Main saw James Coppinger rattle an 18th minute effort down the throat of Mark Howard who parried away to safety.
But in terms of chances, that was your lot until the 43th minute when controversy reigned.
It came after Jamal Campbell-Ryce had cut inside from his right channel, a flank he and Craig Alcock had been enjoying plenty of possession from.
The winger then came up against Stevens who clumsily pulled him down in the area.
Despite the loud protestations from the visitors and their thousands-strong travelling crowd, referee Keith Hill adjudged the offence to have happened just inches outside of the 18-yard box.
From the resulting free-kick, substitute Michael Doyle saw his rasping effort flash across goal with a deflection diverting the shot away from Sam Johnstone who looked beaten.
The first 45 proved more of a damp squib than a classic but supporters certainly got their money’s worth after the hour mark... well, the away fans at least.
But first, Rovers needed a game-changer and it came from a reliable source in Coppinger.
All of 33 years, Doncaster’s long-serving midfielder showed power and pace to jink his way into the box.
He was just about to let fly when Paddy McCarthy’s desperate lunge saw the Rovers man come clattering to a halt, a penalty awarded and a red card for the offender.
Nathan Tyson has a successful spot-kicks record for Doncaster this season, having netted against Watford and Burton.
However, Forrester was the man who stepped up.
He curled his 62nd minute penalty to Howard’s right who pushed the chance away, signalling a reprieve for the ten men of Sheffield.
All too familiar this season, a big moment in a game saw Rovers falter in their focus, their heads had dropped and in turn, United moved up a gear to pounce.
This pendulum swing saw the time for Murphy to shine.
And 25-year-old didn’t disappoint.
In fact, he punished their South Yorkshire rivals in every sense of the word when they failed to clear their lines in the 64th minute.
Murphy had time to collect the ball and push forward without challenge before unleashing a strike of the highest order from distance.
It was a thunderbolt Johnstone could do little about and a glorious strike worthy of winning any game - and it did.
Doncaster were shell-shocked.
The roar of the away support bounced off every angle of the Keepmoat Stadium and Rovers were unable to recover.
It was another hammer blow on home soil.
Kyle Bennett did offer something out of nothing with a fantastic strike which crashed off the post in the 81st minute and there was a heart-warming moment for promising talent Jack McKay who came on for his first team Rovers debut with three minutes to spare. But that Murphy goal reigned supreme, finishing off a difficult week for United and offering another troubling result for Doncaster.