The FA Cup - Fifth Round
ReadingReading1Sheff UtdSheffield United2

Reading 1-2 Sheffield United: Billy Sharp's extra-time goal fires Blades into FA Cup quarter-finals

By Adam WilliamsBBC Sport at Madejski Stadium

Sheffield United needed extra time to see off a stubborn Reading and reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Substitute Billy Sharp headed the winner from a Luke Freeman cross in added time at the end of the first period of extra time.

David McGoldrick had given the visitors the lead with a header from a Ben Osborn cross inside 90 seconds.

But Reading levelled with a George Puscas penalty on the stroke of half-time after Andy Rinomhota was fouled by George Baldock, and came close to causing an upset.

Blades made to sweat

Chris Wilder's side won what is the first FA Cup fifth-round tie to go straight to extra time, to book their place in the last eight for the first time since 2014.

But the Blades, flying high in eighth in the Premier League, were made to work hard for the victory, even after Sharp had headed in from close range.

Reading midfielder Pele twice came within inches of taking the game to penalties, forcing a save from Dean Henderson and then firing narrowly wide of the post in the final minute.

Earlier, striker McGoldrick had ended a goal drought for the Blades stretching back to 22 April to seemingly set them up for a routine victory.

But Reading, currently in indifferent form in the bottom half of the Championship, showed resilience and patience.

Yakou Meite forced a smart reaction save out of Henderson with a left-foot drive from distance, while they limited their Premier League opponents to just a couple more chances before they were handed an opportunity to level from the penalty spot.

Romania striker Puscas made no mistake from 12 yards for his 12th goal in all competitions since completing a move from Inter Milan in August.

The second half failed to produce another goal but it was certainly not short of energy or endeavour from either side.

Reading seemed to grew in confidence the longer they withstood long periods of Sheffield United pressure and possession, and nearly snatched a winner on the break when Henderson had to punch a John Swift cross away from the head of the advancing Meite.

However, the extra 30 minutes proved too much and the fresh legs off the bench proved pivotal for Sheffield United.

Man of the match - John Egan (Sheffield United)

John Egan, Sheffield United
The Blades captain kept things calm at the back late on when other sides may have wilted

Sharp takes his chance - the stats

  • Sheffield United have reached the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time since 2013-14 - but the last time they did so as a top flight side was 1992-93.
  • Reading have lost their last five meetings with Sheffield United in all competitions; only against Arsenal (14), Manchester United (6) and Middlesbrough (6) are they on longer current losing streaks.
  • Sheffield United's Sharp has been directly involved in four goals in his last five appearances in all competitions (2 goals, 2 assists), he only scored once in his first 15 games this season (1 goal, 0 assists).
  • Reading forward George Puscas has scored in four of his last five appearances in all competitions (four goals), as many goals as in his previous 24 for the club.
  • David McGoldrick's second-minute strike was his first goal of the season for Sheffield United, in his 21st game with what was his 37th shot.

'A long, hard-fought battle' - what the managers said

Reading manager Mark Bowen: "It's hard to take when you put that much effort in. We soaked up pressure and we had periods where we took the game to them. It was a game of few chances and we have been done by two crosses into our box.

"It was a long, hard-fought battle and it's hard to take. My players know what we're about and what we can do together.

"We have to take this on in our league form, we have 10 games to go and we will pick up points."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: "It was always going to be tough. We didn't under-prepare, we knew what we would face.

"It was a fantastic start. The Reading punters got right behind their team and they lifted their game. It was never going to be easy.

"As a Championship side we knocked out so many Premier League sides in this cup and the League Cup, so we knew it was never going to be easy. We got the job done and found a way to win."



Formation 4-5-1

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 17Yiadom
  • 5Miazga
  • 4Morrison
  • 11Obita
  • 19MeiteSubstituted forMcClearyat 105'minutes
  • 8RinomhotaBooked at 51minsSubstituted forBaldockat 105'minutes
  • 10Swift
  • 14EjariaSubstituted forTuncará Gomesat 98'minutes
  • 21OliseSubstituted forMasikaat 98'minutes
  • 47Puscas


  • 1Walker
  • 6Moore
  • 9Baldock
  • 12McCleary
  • 24Blackett
  • 25Masika
  • 29Tuncará Gomes

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Henderson
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 5O'Connell
  • 2Baldock
  • 7Lundstram
  • 32BergeSubstituted forRobinsonat 99'minutes
  • 8FreemanSubstituted forRetsosat 105'minutesBooked at 120mins
  • 23Osborn
  • 22MoussetSubstituted forMcBurnieat 61'minutes
  • 17McGoldrickSubstituted forSharpat 79'minutes


  • 9McBurnie
  • 10Sharp
  • 15Jagielka
  • 19Robinson
  • 21Verrips
  • 29Retsos
  • 30Zivkovic
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamSheff Utd
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 1, Sheffield United 2.

  2. Post update

    Second Half Extra Time ends, Reading 1, Sheffield United 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pelé (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Michael Morrison following a set piece situation.

  4. Booking

    Panagiotis Retsos (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Panagiotis Retsos (Sheffield United).

  6. Post update

    John Swift (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. George Puscas (Reading) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Garath McCleary with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Reading. Conceded by Dean Henderson.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Pelé (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Garath McCleary.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jordan Obita (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Swift.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) left footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the left.

  12. Post update

    Foul by John Egan (Sheffield United).

  13. Post update

    Sam Baldock (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).

  15. Post update

    John Swift (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Obita (Reading).

  18. Post update

    Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jack Robinson.

  19. Post update

    John Lundstram (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Ayub Timbe Masika (Reading).


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