Paul Peschisolido made four changes to the starting eleven which began the game at Accrington Stanley on Saturday. In came Darren Moore at centre back in place of Tony James, Danny Blanchett made his first start for the Brewers in place of Aaron Webster, Jack Dyer made his first appearance of the season in place of Adam Bolder and Jimmy Phillips started in place of Chris Palmer on the left wing.
Young striker Adi Yussuf returned from a hamstring injury to feature on the bench.
Sheffield United made five changes to the side that won at Yeovil on Saturday as well as switching to a 3-4-3 formation.
John McGrath had the first shot of the evening, lifting his effort over the bar from 25 yards following Maghoma's strong run down the right. United's first opportunity to put the Brewers defence under pressure when Corbett fouled Mendez-Laing on the left edge of the area. Ryan Flynn sent a deep freekick to the far post but the linesman's flag halted play.
Burton then went close through a set piece of their own after Maghoma was brought down 25 yards from goal by Mendez-Laing. Austin stepped up the hammer the ball low through the wall but George Long got down well to tip the ball round the post.
Maghoma then made a chance for himself in the 17th minute, picking up the ball from Zola 30 yards out before dancing his way through three United defenders. From a narrow angle on the right the Congolese midfielder fired a powerful shot which beat Long but came off the top of the cross bar and out of play. Burton were looking promising and were on the front foot again as Phillips lead a swift break away after a United attack. He spread the ball wide to Zola who returned it inside to Dyer but the former Villa man's ball forward couldn't find Phillips who had continued his run.
Burton continued to look good going forwards, especially through Maghoma and Phillips and it was the latter who crossed towards Dyer on 30 minutes, the ball a little too deep though allowing United to clear the danger.
Burton created their best chance so far in the 36th minute with another swift counter resulting in Maghoma shooting wide of goal from 15 yards. Another chance went begging in the 40th minute when the combination of Corbett and Maghoma advanced to the edge of the area, Maghoma picking out Phillips 18 yards from goal who took a touch before poking a shot inches wide of the far post.
Phillips was back in the action a minute later, showing superb skill to thread the ball throught to Richards but the Burton striker was pulled up by the offside flag.
For all of the Brewers chances it was Sheffield who wasted perhaps the best opportunity before the break, Mendez-Laing fired a perfect ball across goal which Philliskirk met with a powerful downward headed, the ball bouncing up and over the bar.
There was still time for Austin to go close, heading Dyer's freekick narrowly wide at the far post. Phillips then strode forward in first half injury time, eating up 30 yards before shooting on goal, Long beating the low shot away.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Sheffield United
Sheffield United made one change at the break, replacing Danny Philliskirk with Eliano Parrino and switching to a 4-4-2 formation.
McGrath picked up a booking early in the second half for tripping Jordan Slew as the Blades looked to break away but overall the Brewers began as they ended before the break, Maghoma and Phillips looking to attack on the counter at every opportunity.
The lively tempo continued as Phillips skipped past his man 25 yards out before shooting low, Long spilled his effort but dived on the loose ball ahead of Richards who was following in.
Adi Yussuf was brought on in the 67th minute for Calvin Zola.
The game continued apace with Yussuf striding forwards powerfully and seeing his shot deflected behind for a corner. That was taken by Dyer but Richards header at the mear post was over the bar.
Burton finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when Yussuf flicked on Atkin's goalkick into the path of RICHARDS. The Brewers striker checked his stride before picking out the top corner with a fine right footed effort from 20 yards.
The lead was short lived as three minutes later David McALLISTER got on ahead of the Brewers defence to pick up Harry McGuire's long ball and finish low past Atkins. And the swift turnaround was complete in the 79th minute when Erik TONNE picked up the ball 30 yards out, there seemed little danger but the substitutes shot flew under the outstretched arms of Atkins to nestle into the bottom corner.
Burton had one late opportunity through a Dyer freekick but the match ended with no equaliser for the Brewers.
Full time: Burton Albion 1 - 2 Sheffield United
Scorers: Brewers - Richards (73) Blades - McAllister (76) Tonne (24)
Referee: Mr P. Gibbs
Booked - Burton: Richards (22) McGrath (49)
Brewers: ATKINS, CORBETT, MOORE, AUSTIN, BLANCHETT, MAGHOMA, DYER, MCGRATH, PHILLIPS, RICHARDS, ZOLA. Subs: POOLE, WEBSTER, JAMES, PALMER, YUSSUF.
Blades: LONG, LOWTON, MEDEZ-LAING, DOYLE, FLYNN, SLEW, COLLINS, McGUIRE, McALLISTER, PORTER, PHILLISKIRK. Subs: SIMONSEN, MARRIOT, CONELLY, TONNE, PARRINO