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Sheffield United Put Reading To The Sword With Awesome Performance And Move Back Into Play-Off Places

Sheffield United travelled to the Madejski Stadium looking to pile more misery on under-fire Reading boss Jaap Stam. The Blades were in indifferent form coming into the Championship encounter. United had lost 4 of their most recent 7 games across all competitions and lost their last match 1-0 to Hull City in their last League match.

Reading came into the clash with a great deal of pressure on Royals’ manager Jaap Stam as the Royals had won 1 game, drawn 2 games and lost 4 games in their most recent 7 games. Hardly the record of a team in form compared to the Reading of last year who lost to Huddersfield Town to miss out on promotion to the Premier League.

The Blades got off to a fast start and the decision by Chris Wilder to make Billy Sharp the chosen striker paid off immediately as the captain scored from Leon Clarke’s cross to put the Blades up 1-0 before Mark Duffy cut inside just before half-time and scored a crucial 2nd Blades goal with a thunderbolt strike.

Going in at 2-0 up the Blades were in good shape but within 2 minutes of the restart of the game the score could have been level at 2-2. Reading’s Omar Richards drilled in a rebound to give Reading some hope at 2-1 before the United stopper, Simon Moore, saved the penalty won by Liam Kelly as the Royals’ Leandro Bacuna could not convert the spot-kick to level the score at 2-2.

Within minutes from almost being 2-2 the on-form Billy Sharp was found by John Fleck and scored with a fine strike to put the Blades 3-1 up and send Reading to their 5th game without a win in the Championship and down to 18th position only 4 points above the relegation zone.

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The Blades performed well throughout the game and were more than deserving of the win that saw them jump past Bristol City into 6th position.

When Sheffield United assistant manager Alan Knill spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield he had this to say after the Blades’ impressive win:

“It was a really good performance from the players today. Everything we asked for and everything we expect, we got.

“We were all really disappointed with the performance [in the previous game against Hull]. The standards have been set by the players so when we drop below them it’s only right they know – and tonight was the perfect way to answer them.

“In the first half we should have been 3-0 up after 15 minutes, but it’s good that we’re creating.”

So United are moving on up and hitting form at the right time with their play-off hopes very much alive. The Royals on the other hand have had a nightmare season following their oh-so-close promotion to the Premier League last season and Jaap Stam must be starting to be worried about his job at the Madejski Stadium.