Peterborough United suffered a 3-1 home defeat by Sheffield United at the ABAX Stadium despite a stunning effort from Souleymane Coulibaly, which briefly got Dave Robertson's men a foothold in proceedings.
On a slick surface, aided by the wet conditions throughout the day, Posh made a lively start with Harry Anderson's early shot blocked and then Michael Bostwick dragged an effort wide of the target.
On 12 minutes, Posh were dealt a blow as Ntlhe limped out of the action to be replaced by Shaun Brisley. Alex Davey moving across to left-back.
Moments later Conor Sammon was denied by the legs of Ben Alnwick as Posh tried to re-organise, but on 14 minutes, the Blades were ahead as Conor SAMMON rifled home high into the net after wriggling past the Zakuani.
Maddison fired over from 25-yards as Dave Robertson's men tried to cause problems at the other end.
Ricardo Almeida Santos planted a header wide of the target on 31 minutes after a fine cross to the back post from Collison. McEveley headed a Campbell-Ryce free-kick over at the other end after Davey's foul was punished by referee Mr Miller.
Sammon saw a shot blocked after the visitors waltzed through the Posh defence as the fourth official indicated six minutes of added time.
Almeida Santos was cautioned for a late challenge on 48 minutes. On 51 minutes, exciting youngster Anderson showed good control and dribbling ability to beat two defenders, but his final effort from 20-yards was dragged wide of the far post.
On 53 minutes, Robertson made a change with Souleymane Coulibaly replacing Gormley in attack. A glorious cross from Maddison to the back post was met Anderson moments later, but Howard did well to save.
On 58 minutes, Posh were level and it was a superb strike from substitute Souleymane COULIBALY who took a touch, forced his way into the box and curled a fine effort into the far corner. His trademark back flip was soon to follow after high fiving boss Dave Robertson.
Billy Sharp turned Santos on 65 minutes as the Blades, blunted by the equaliser, tried to get themselves back in front.
Sharp was inches away from making it 2-1 on 68 minutes as he raced onto a Campbell-Ryce pass.
The Blades did get themselves in front on 71 minutes as Conor SAMMON swept home with his left-foot past Alnwick from 10-yards.
Jack Payne replaced Davey as Posh changed formation to 3-5-2 to try and get back in the game. Coulibaly was denied a second goal by Howard after his header from a Collison cross was just too close to the Blades shot-stopper.
Bostwick fired wide of the near post after cutting inside onto his left-foot but the Blades soon made it 3-1 on 84 minutes as Jose BAXTER fired a shot into the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Coulibaly fired over on the turn moments later for a now weary looking Posh. Coulibaly fired over deep into stoppage time after dispossessing the Sheffield United defender Basham.
Posh: Alnwick, Ntlhe (sub Brisley 12min), Zakuani, Bostwick, Maddison, Almeida Santos, Washington, Davey (sub Payne 72min), Gormley (sub Coulibaly 52min), H. Anderson, Collison. Unused subs: Henry, Taylor, Vassell, J. Anderson.
Sheffield United: Howard, Freeman, Basham, Sharp (sub J. Wallace 74min), Baxter, Collins (sub K. Wallace 24min), Scougall (sub Campbell-Ryce 20min), Sammon, McEveley, Adams, Edgar. Unused subs: Long, McNulty, Woolford, Campbell-Ryce, Reed, K. Wallace.
Half-time: Peterborough United 0-1 Sheffield United
Full-time: Peterborough United 1-3 Sheffield United
Attendance: 6,526 (1,578 Sheffield United fans)