Rovers were edged out in an FA Cup classic, as their Wembley dream was denied, at least for now, as they fell to defeat at Sheffield United.

Twice they led, through a Ben Brereton penalty and Sam Szmodics strike, either side of a Sam Gallagher own goal.

They took the lead into the final 10 minutes, only for Oli McBurnie to equalise. Then when extra time loomed, Tommy Doyle scored a thunderbolt from distance to break Rovers hearts.

The players rightly took the acclaim of the 6,000 travelling supporters, who too played their part, in a pulsating game of football.

Rovers will look at Ryan Hedges’ shot that clipped the inside of the post at 2-1, but should reflect with pride on an FA Cup run that took them so close to Wembley.

They must now channel the disappointment as they go in search of another trip to the national stadium, this time in the play-offs, with nine games of the regular season remaining when they emerge from the international break.

There was one enforced change as Ryan Hedges, Rovers’ midweek matchwinner, got the nod over Tyrhys Dolan to replace the cup-tied Sorba Thomas on the right wing.

The away end, nearly 6,000 strong was a picture, as the players emerged to an incredible atmosphere.

The opening stages were always going to be huge for Rovers to establish a foothold in the game.

The tone was set from the off that it would be a high-octane played at a frantic pace, with a competitive edge befitting of such an occasion.

Key to Rovers’ win at Ewood Park in this fixture only two weeks earlier was their superiority in midfield.

There was no surprise therefore that the Blades changed things up, a new-look trio in the middle of the park including Manchester City loan duo James McAtee and Tommy Doyle.

Both were first to try their luck at goal, with McAtee running clear on goal in the eighth minute, with Aynsley Pears staying big to keep out his effort.

Doyle’s strike, moments later, was from further out, and closer to Pears, who held this time.

Rovers needed a level of composure to go along with their hard work, and put together their best passage of play that would eventually lead them opening the scoring.

Harry Pickering, Lewis Travis and Tyler Morton were all involved, with Sam Gallagher’s shot blocked by the arm of defender Jack Robinson.

Rovers were waiting to take a corner, but after a VAR check of around two minutes, referee Tim Robinson gave a penalty.

Ben Brereton stepped up, and although Wes Foderingham went the right way, the placement of the penalty was good enough to find the corner.

Robinson was booked for his role in the penalty, and fortunate to stay on the pitch when not given a second yellow card for a foul on Hedges soon after.

The crowd were largely in the dark over the penalty incident, with the home fans furious as a result.

But they got a stroke of fortune to level in the 28th minute. Gallagher headed clear a Doyle corner, but was then the unfortunate man as his outstretched leg deflected Max Lowe’s ambitious effort into his own net.

Rovers responded from that setback well, and had two good opportunities just after the half hour from set plays.

Tyler Morton’s free kick found Dom Hyam unmarked, with Foderingham acrobatically tipping over, while Gallagher glanced over from the resulting corner.

It was a game between two evenly-matched teams standing their ground and giving their all.

The second half started as the first finish, with the hosts trying to force the issue, but the better chances going the way of Rovers.

Within three minutes of the restart Brereton had a golden chance to double his tally. Foderingham did well to get down to Pickering’s low down, but then remarkably to get to his feet quickly to keep out Brereton’s rebound.

The fact that neither side had control was simply adding to the spectacle, as were the mistakes that were creeping in.

Captain Lewis Travis would have had his heart in his mouth on the hour when selling Pears shot with a back-pass that allowed McAtee to break clean through on goal. But the keeper came to his rescue, saving with his legs to keep the scores level.

How pivotal that would prove as within two minutes Rovers had their lead back. Morton won the ball, before Gallagher slipped in Sam Szmodics to run clear and find the corner with an excellent finish across Foderingham.

There was never a chance of VAR chalking this one off as Szmodics timed his run to perfection and provided the perfect finish.

Rovers were trying to turn the screw as the Blades were rocked by the goal.

They couldn’t have come much closer to a second, with 20 minutes remaining, as Hedges’ shot from the edge of the box hit the inside of the post and rolled along the line, but away to safety.

It was becoming Rovers’ best period of the game as Gallagher came within a whisker of turning in a Brereton cross.

Rovers then made their first changes, which included a switch to a back five. But no sooner had they done so, than with eight minutes left, the Blades levelled.

Oli McBurnie bundled his way through a couple of challenges before his low left foot shot across Pears found the corner.

The momentum had completely swung in the hosts’ favour, and in the dying seconds of normal time, they won it courtesy of a Tommy Doyle screamer from 30 yards.

It was contentious in that Morton had been down holding his face following a challenge with Ndiaye, but play was allowed to go on, with Doyle punishing Rovers with a cracking strike to end their Wembley dream.

Sheffield United: Foderingham, Baldock (Bogle, 88), Berge, McBurnie, Egan, Lowe, Ahmedhodzic, Robinson (Sharp, 70), Doyle, McAtee (Basham, 90), Ndiaye

Subs: Davies, Fleck, Norwood, Coulibaly, Arblaster, Jebbison

Rovers: Aynsley Pears, Joe Rankin-Costello (Callum Brittain, 80), Hayden Carter, Dom Hyam, Harry Pickering,  Lewis Travis, Tyler Morton (Tyrhys Dolan, 90), Ryan Hedges (Scott Wharton, 80), Sam Szmodics (Jake Garrett, 90), Ben Brereton, Sam Gallagher

Subs: Thomas Kaminski, Ash Phillips, Tayo Edun, Adam Wharton, Harry Leonard