Ched Evans's brace saw Sheffield United hammer Rochdale to go back into the League One automatic promotion spots.
Dale opened the scoring through Jason Kennedy but two minutes later Kevin McDonald thundered home an equaliser.
Evans's 33rd and 34th goals of the season, either side of a Lee Williamson strike, saw Danny Wilson's side 4-1 up at the break.
Michael Doyle added another with a 30-yard strike, before Dale loanee Tope Obadeyi tapped in a consolation.
The result leaves Dale on the verge of relegation. Anything other than a win on Saturday against Exeter will see them return to League Two - and even a win might not be enough if results elsewhere go against them.
Evans struck the post with the first attack of the game but Kennedy headed Dale in front from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro's cross. However, McDonald volleyed in a leveller and Evans made it 2-1 from 20 yards.
Williamson tapped into an empty net after Dave Lucas failed to hold Evans's shot and the Wales international grabbed his second with a clinical finish.
Skipper Doyle turned it into a rout before Obadeyi's neat effort.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Rochdale manager John Coleman told BBC Radio Manchester:
"They went through in injury time and poked a ball straight at our goalkeeper. That was their sixth shot on target. The other five, they scored.
"Over the 90 minutes, we gave as good as we got, but we can't concede goals the way we did.
"We're not down yet, but if we go down, it will be my team that goes down.
"It could be really easy to hide behind it and say 'it's not my team' but I'm not going to hide behind anything."
Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"That was a tougher game than the scoreline suggests, but I thought in front of goal we were absolutely clinical today.
"We're not really too concerned with other teams. We have to do the business ourselves and we've come here tonight knowing what we needed to do and we've done it.
"We said that this league will be very tight and, with two Sheffield clubs in the same position, there was always going to be that rivalry and it's more intense than it normally would be. We're pushing each other to the limits."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee ends the match.90:00 +0:18
Drilled left-footed shot by Temitope Obadeyi. Steve Simonsen makes a save. Corner taken by Jason Kennedy played to the near post, Kevin McDonald makes a clearance.89:30
The offside flag is raised against Michael Symes. Neill Collins takes the free kick.88:58
Foul by Joe Widdowson on Stephen Quinn, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Matthew Lowton.87:54
Andrew Tutte takes a shot. Save by Steve Simonsen.87:44
The ball is delivered by Joe Widdowson.87:19
Michael O'Halloran takes a shot. Steve Simonsen makes a save.86:34
The ball is swung over by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro. The offside flag is raised against Michael Symes. Steve Simonsen takes the free kick.86:23
The ball is swung over by Temitope Obadeyi, Stephen Quinn makes a clearance.81:15
Corner taken by Jason Kennedy from the left by-line, Chris Porter makes a clearance.79:15
Long range effort from Michael Doyle misses to the left of the target.75:37
Chris Porter is caught offside. Dean Holden restarts play with the free kick.73:51
The ball is crossed by Temitope Obadeyi.72:42
Shot from 12 yards by Chris Porter. Blocked by Dean Holden.72:01
Matthew Lowton takes a shot.71:37
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro has a drilled shot. Blocked by Neill Collins.70:41
A cross is delivered by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, save by Steve Simonsen.69:24
Chris Porter is caught offside. Kevin Amankwaah takes the indirect free kick.68:28 Substitution
Substitution Ched Evans goes off and Michael O'Halloran comes on.67:37
Assist on the goal came from Gary Jones.
Goal! - Temitope Obadeyi - Rochdale 2 - 5 Sheff Utd Temitope Obadeyi finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Rochdale 2-5 Sheff Utd.67:34
The ball is crossed by Gary Jones,62:57 Substitution
Substitution Chris Porter comes on in place of Richard Cresswell.61:12
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses wide left of the target.60:40
Effort on goal by Temitope Obadeyi from inside the box misses to the right of the target.60:02
Kevin Amankwaah takes the free kick.60:02 Booking
Booking The referee shows Kevin McDonald a yellow card.59:58
Foul by Kevin McDonald on Jason Kennedy, free kick awarded.58:30
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kevin McDonald on Andrew Tutte. Dean Holden takes the direct free kick.56:39 Goal scored
Goal! - Michael Doyle - Rochdale 1 - 5 Sheff Utd Michael Doyle finds the net with a goal from outside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Rochdale 1-5 Sheff Utd.54:10
Ched Evans produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.52:54
Ched Evans produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.51:15
Stephen Quinn has an effort at goal. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro gets a block in.49:16
Andrew Tutte takes a shot. Save by Steve Simonsen. Corner taken short by Jason Kennedy, Neill Collins manages to make a clearance.47:30
Jason Kennedy is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Steve Simonsen restarts play with the free kick.46:15
Jason Kennedy sends in a cross, save made by Steve Simonsen.45:16
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Symes by Neill Collins. Jason Kennedy restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The referee gets the second half underway.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Ryan Flynn joins the action as a substitute, replacing Lee Williamson.45:00 +3:20 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +2:09
Assist on the goal came from Matthew Lowton.45:00 +2:09 Goal scored
Goal! - Ched Evans - Rochdale 1 - 4 Sheff Utd Ched Evans scores a goal from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Rochdale 1-4 Sheff Utd.41:53
Close range effort by Lee Williamson misses to the left of the goal.40:47
Lee Williamson takes the outswinging corner, Kevin Amankwaah manages to make a clearance.39:48
Joe Widdowson challenges Matthew Lowton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Harry Maguire.32:05
The official flags Ched Evans offside. David Lucas takes the indirect free kick.29:07
Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Williamson on Joe Widdowson. David Lucas restarts play with the free kick.28:11
Foul by Joe Widdowson on Matthew Lowton, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Lee Williamson, Kevin Amankwaah makes a clearance.24:03
Assist on the goal came from Ched Evans.24:03 Goal scored
Goal! - Lee Williamson - Rochdale 1 - 3 Sheff Utd Goal scored by Lee Williamson from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Rochdale 1-3 Sheff Utd.23:13
Effort on goal by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro from 25 yards. Matthew Hill gets a block in.21:08
The assist for the goal came from Michael Doyle.21:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Ched Evans - Rochdale 1 - 2 Sheff Utd Ched Evans gets on the score sheet with a goal from just outside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Rochdale 1-2 Sheff Utd.16:35
Effort from deep inside the area by Temitope Obadeyi misses to the left of the goal.10:46
Stephen Quinn produces a cross, David Lucas makes a save.7:00
Shot from outside the box by Michael Symes goes wide right of the target.4:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Kevin McDonald - Rochdale 1 - 1 Sheff Utd A goal is scored by Kevin McDonald from close in to the top right corner of the goal. Rochdale 1-1 Sheff Utd.2:16
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro provided the assist for the goal.2:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Jason Kennedy - Rochdale 1 - 0 Sheff Utd Jason Kennedy grabs a headed goal from close range. Rochdale 1-0 Sheff Utd.1:01
Ched Evans has an effort at goal from the edge of the area striking the post.0:28
Lee Williamson takes a inswinging corner.0:00
The game begins.
Live data and text provided by our data suppliers