The Cherries were on the wrong side of an eight-goal thriller at Bramall Lane to suffer their first defeat of the League One season.
Goals from Tommy Elphick, Lee Barnard and Marc Pugh weren’t enough for the visitors as Sheffield United’s John Cofie scored the pick of the goals for the hosts in their 5-3 victory.
Groves made two changes to his starting line-up from the side that took on MK Dons last Saturday. He welcomed Shaun MacDonald back to the side in place of the banned Harry Arter and saw Lewis Grabban replace Wes Thomas in the starting eleven.
The opening ten minutes produced a host of chances for both sides. Grabban came close first for the Cherries, glancing a free-header wide, before Neill Collins hit a volley over the crossbar for the Blades.
Grabban came close again minutes later as he collected Pugh’s deflected cross inside the penalty box. Despite managing to turn sharply on the ball, he could only send his shot across the goal and wide of the far post.
It was Bournemouth who broke the deadlock after 20 minutes when Sheffield United failed to clear a corner in front of their home fans. Eunan O’Kane’s initial cross found Barnard at the front post and was returned back to the Irishman. The subsequent delivery managed to find Elphick in the middle, who rose and headed home to score his second goal in as many games.
Sheffield United found their equaliser only three minutes later as the Cherries were unable to get rid of a rebound off the post from a 20-yard Kevin McDonald strike. The ball eventually landed at the feet of Ryan Flynn, who netted from close range.
Flynn doubled his tally just after half an hour as he was found unmarked at the back post. The winger slotted a finessed effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net to put his side in front.
The home side went further ahead just before the break with a superb individual effort from John Cofie. After winning the ball in the middle of the pitch, the striker unleashed an unstoppable 30-yard shot into the top left corner of the goal, leaving goalkeeper Shwan Jalal with no chance.
Cofie threatened to extend his team’s lead even further seconds before half-time as another long-range effort rattled against the crossbar.
Barnard reduced the deficit immediately after the break as O’Kane’s corner picked him out amongst a host of bodies. Barnard was there to rise highest and celebrate in front of the travelling away supporters.
Substitute Richard Cresswell restored the Blades’ two-goal lead on the hour mark when he leapt above Richard Hughes from Flynn’s cross.
As the home side tried to close out the game, Pugh found space in the middle of the field and drove an effort past Mark Howard and into the bottom corner of the net.
However, the goal was a mere consolation as Charlie Daniel’s foul on Nick Blackman during injury time meant the striker would step up from the penalty spot and send his side 5-3 in front to end any hopes of a late Cherries equaliser.
Cherries: Jalal, Francis, Addison, Elphick, Daniels, O’Kane (Fogden, 77), Partington (McQuoid, 56), MacDonald (Hughes h/t), Pugh, Grabban, Barnard.
Unused substitutes: Flahavan, Zubar, Thomas, Tubbs.
Goals: Elphick (21), Barnard (48), Pugh (87).
Booked: Partington, Hughes.
Sheffield United: Howard, McMahon, Maguire, Collins, Hill, McAllister, McDonald, Doyle, Flynn, Cofie (Creswell, 56), Blackman.
Unused substitutes: Westlake, Miller, Harriott, Ironside, Long, Williams.
Goal: Flynn (24 & 31), Cofie (43), Creswell (60), Blackman (90 pen).
Attendance: 18, 790.