Sheffield United kept their play-off hopes alive last night as they completed a winning double against Rotherham United at Millmoor with a fine 2-1 victory with Michael Brown and Steve Kabba hitting the back of the net.
In front of a live SKY television, Michael Brown showed the nation why he has quickly become hot properly for the Premier League clubs as he gave a fine display and was obviously man of the match.
The midfield dynamo ran the show with his commendable vision and showed 100% commitment. He did as well score the first goal of the game before creating the chance for Blades second.
Brown's class was obvious, and it was not difficult to detect him breaking into a swagger more than once as Rotherham's recent home revival - they had won their last two games - was brought to an abrupt end.
That Brown chose a south Yorkshire derby as the occasion to showcase his talent speaks volumes for his temperament, but for those who have seen him in action during Sheffield United's impressive run to the quarter- and semi-finals of the FA and Worthington Cup respectively; it was the same old story.
Brown's presence faded only in the final minutes, by which time Alan Lee had reduced the arrears from the penalty spot and Rotherham were laying siege to the visitors' goal.
The spirit of the Blades players could not be faulted throughout a passionate, often ill-tempered affair, especially given the fact their appalling league record in February.
Rotherham battled gamely, but a lack of creative spark cost them any chances of salvaging a point, and it was the travelling fans that left the ground in high spirits and toasting their side's rise into fourth in the table.
Given the frenetic nature of the opening exchanges, it was remarkable that Steve Kabba was allowed the time and space to advance from inside his own half to the edge of the Rotherham six-yard box in the second minute. Ultimately, however, he made too much progress, doing well to hit the near post from a tight angle.
As so often is the case in such fiercely-contested encounters, it took a penalty to separate the sides, Brown finding the bottom right-hand corner of Mike Pollitt's goal after Kabba had been tripped by Chris Swailes.
It was fitting that Nick Montgomery - one of the few players to display a measure of composure on the ball - provided the through-ball which inconvenienced Swailes, although the influence of Brown and Stuart McCall in the centre of midfield was also instrumental in the visitors' dominance before and after the penalty.
Dean Windass was alert enough to latch on to Rob Kozluk's hopeful through-ball on the half-hour mark, bringing a smart reaction saves out of Pollitt.
It said much for the lack of invention shown by Rotherham that they had to wait until the dying seconds of the first half to seriously threaten Paddy Kenny's goal, Martin McIntosh's header cleared off the line before Chris Sedgwick fired across the six-yard box.
The Blades showed little evidence of heeding that warning as, 15 minutes after the interval, John Mullin out jumped Kenny to meet Sedgwick's cross, only to see his looping header land agonisingly short of the goal-line.
Sedgwick created space to fire into the side netting, but not before Kabba had doubled the visitors' advantage in the 63rd minute.
Brown found Ndlovu on the left side of the penalty area, he brought a fine save out of Pollitt, and the ball rolled invitingly into the path of Kabba, who was never likely to miss an empty net.
Ndlovu again went close to getting his name on the score sheet when he hooked over Pollitt's crossbar, while substitute Richie Barker glanced a header wide from Sedgwick's centre.
The breakthrough Rotherham sought, though hardly deserved, arrived nine minutes from time.
Robert Page was adjudged to have tripped Lee, who appeared to be posing little threat with his back to goal 18 yards from goal, and the striker climbed to his feet to send Kenny the wrong way from the spot.
There was still time for Curtis Woodhouse to shoot wide of Kenny's right-hand upright, but, in the interests of justice, it was somehow right the visitors hung on.