Leicester City produced their best football of the season, establishing what should have been a comfortable three-goal cushion before they let their guard slip and allowed Sheffield United to come within a whisker of walking away with a share of the spoils.
Without a goal or win at home before the game, Leicester fully deserved their commanding lead, but in the final 15 minutes their confidence all but crumbled in the face of United's late rally.
City were forced into a late change when Kevin Harper, the on-loan Portsmouth midfield sustained a calf injury during the warm-up and Jason Wilcox was promoted from the bench.
Leicester broke through after just eight minutes when Kevin Pressman was allowed to advance 10 yards outside his area before launching a long clearance which was flicked on by Dion Dublin for James Scowcroft to run on to a score with a 12-yard angled shot across the face of the keeper.
United when close to an equaliser on 19 minutes when a deep cross by Ashley Ward was met by Nick Montgomery, who shot into the sidenetting.
But it was City who doubled their advantage on 29 minutes when Nikos Dabizas headed a Jordan Stewart corner against the bar and the rebound ricocheted off the Greek defender and crept over the line.
The confidence Leicester have been lacking in previous home performances now began to ooze through the side with Dublin and Stewart both prepared to try their luck from long distance, but both efforts lacked the accuracy to trouble Paddy Kenny.
Andy Gray thought he had pulled goal back from United on the stroke of half-time but the referee ruled out his goal for a foul on Pressman.
Blades had it all to do after the interval and Neil Warnock signalled his intent when Alan Wright was sacrificed for attacking midfielder Jonathan Forte, but it was the home side who almost snatched a third when a mistake by Phil Jagielka let in David Connolly for a one on one with Kenny.
The City striker lost out when he shot straight at the keeper's legs, but Leicester weren't to be denied, racing into a three-goal lead on 51 minutes.
Another blunder by Jagielka let in Wilcox who was left with the simplest of tasks of sweeping the ball home from close range.
Jack Lester, a 64th minute sub for Gray, almost made an immediate impact when his shot drifted inches wide.
United eventually pulled a goal back on 75 minutes when a long throw by Leigh Bromby found Chris Morgan unmarked inside the box and the centre-back had time and space to guide a header beyond Pressman.
And seven minutes the Yorkshiremen found themselves right back in the game when Forte seized on uncertainty inside the penalty area to fire home an angled drive from eight yards.
There was now real drama in the closing minutes as United poured forward in search of a result which 15 minutes earlier they could only have dreamt off, but Leicester held firm for the win their overall performance deserved.