Danny Webber scored a late equaliser to claim a hard-fought draw for Sheffield United, a result which puts them seven points clear of third-placed Watford.
Stoke took the lead on 15 minutes after keeper Paddy Kenny's punch found Josip Skoko, who headed into an empty net.
Mamady Sidibe and Darel Russell both had chances for the home side as the Blades struggled to impose themselves.
A Skoko effort was pushed onto the post late on but United levelled when Webber beat two players before sliding home.
Stoke manager Johan Boskamp:
"Our performance was very good and only the result is disappointing for us.
"We gave it away and at moments we played very good football, with good ball circulation.
"Apart from their goal, I don't think Sheffield United created one chance against us. I thought we played a good game."
Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock:
"We were a yard off the pace in the first 30 minutes and they wanted to win the battles.
"It is difficult when you come away from home and the home team plays with one man up and it's hard to break down.
"We're delighted. You're not going to get a much more difficult game than Stoke away."
Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Broomes, Hill (Buxton 70), Dickinson, Mbuyi (Brammer 70), Skoko, Russell, Chadwick, Sidibe, Gallagher (Sigurdsson 77).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Kopteff.
Goals: Skoko 16.
Sheff Utd: Kenny, Kozluk, Morgan, Short, Unsworth, Jagielka, Ifill (Kabba 58), Tonge, Armstrong, Shipperley (Akinbiyi 57), Webber.
Subs Not Used: Montgomery, Gillespie, Lucketti.
Goals: Webber 83.
Ref: A Marriner (W Midlands).