Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson says he selected 17-year-old keeper George Long for Tuesday's 2-1 win over MK Dons to give the home fans a lift.
Steve Simonsen was dropped to the bench after recent criticism of his form.
Wilson told BBC Radio Sheffield: "What we wanted was to give everyone a lift.
"I felt that the fans would really take to George and they did. It wasn't an easy decision but one that I was confident in."
Wilson added: "With Simmo there's obviously got to be a lack of confidence."
A product of the Sheffield United academy, Long was part of the Sheffield United team that played in the FA Youth Cup final against Manchester United last season in front of 30,000 fans at Bramall Lane.
United striker Richard Cresswell said: "He's one of the best young kids I've seen. He's brave as a lion, he's got a big heart."