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FA Cup

  • 26 January 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 14715

Live Commentary

  • Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "The Royals gave a professional performance against the League One outfit, with three goals in 14 minutes either side of half-time securing the win. Garath McCleary was superb, driving forward with pace, verve and invention, and deservedly claimed a goal. The Blades were presented with chances to score themselves though, but Chris Porter was especially wasteful in front of goal while Stephen Kelly was forced to make a brilliant goal line clearance. United never really looked like recording an upset at the Madejski today, and Reading’s Premier League class – especially in the final third – prevailed."
  • The result concludes a depressing afternoon for Sheffield United, who have been thoroughly outclassed by their Premier League opponents who were able to rest several of their key players. Apart from one chance fashioned by Nick Blackman for his fellow forward Chris Porter the Blades were unable to cut through the Royals' defence, while their makeshift defence was breached on four occasions as manager Danny Wilson is left to hope today's return of Neill Collins can improve his team at the back. For Reading however the now-demonstrated strength in depth of the squad will be a great boost ahead of the difficult task of survival. Wingers Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary have had to compete for playing-time but the former set up the opening goal, while the latter in particular had an excellent game as he set up both the third and fourth goals before netting a deserved fourth of his own. Noel Hunt's two goals also come at a convenient time, having started alongside his rival Le Fondre who has netted five goals in his last three assists. McDermott will take heart knowing his team look poised to continue their run of four consecutive wins.
  • 90' + 2'
    The referee blows the full-time whistle after both the home fans and the away fans have been seen exiting the stadium, the result having been assured for much of the second half.
  • 88'
    Sheffield United win free kicks for challenges on youthful substitute midfielder Elliott Whitehouse as well as Blackman who was briefly a source of threat going forward for his team, but are unable to make use of the oppportunities.
  • 84'
    SubstitutionMikele Leigertwood Danny Guthrie
  • 84'
    The pace of the game has been generally slow for some time now, with Reading running out comfortably winners. Danny Guthrie comes on as a substitute in midfield for goalscorer Leigertwood while Jem Karacan, who has struggled with form and fitness for much of this year's campaign, will be grateful to receive the captain's armband as he looks set to complete the 90 minutes.
  • 80'
    Nick Blackman crosses the ball, bringing a headed effort from inside the area by winger Ryan Flynn which misses to the left of the goal.
  • 76'
    SubstitutionDarryl Westlake Neill Collins
  • 76'
    Sheffield United's few positives from today sees centre-back Neill Collins return following on the sidelines with a facial injury.
  • 73'
    The positives for Reading have undoubtedly been the performances of their wingers. The Royals have found most of their success today by utilising the pace and skills of Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary, both regularly benched while Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe start. The wide men have looked good today and can't have done their chances of a regular starting place any harm at all, while demonstrating Brian McDermott's strength in depth on the flanks.
  • 70'
    Reading threaten to net a fifth as Sheffield United struggle to clear their lines. Left-back Darryl Westlake gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Garath McCleary and when Noel Hunt fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, Kitson blocks for a corner on the right by-line. McCleary rolls the ball to Shorey who whips in a cross that Kitson clears to Leigertwood, whose strike from outside the box goes over the bar.
  • 69'
    SubstitutionKevin McDonald Eliott Whitehouse
  • 68'
    McCleary takes a shot from just outside the penalty box but misses to the left of the goal.
  • 67'
    Sheffield United's Jamie Murphy takes the chance to get an effort at goal but Sean Morrison blocks.
  • 64'
    Noel Hunt takes a shot at goal but keeper George Long saves.
  • 60'
    SubstitutionChris Porter Ryan Flynn
  • 60'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Sheffield United almost get a consolation goal. Nick Blackman's corner is headed towards goal forcing a good save from Adam Federici. Kitson recovers the ball and squares it to Danny Higginbotham, and the centre-back's shot would have gone in but for a brilliant goal-line clearance from Stephen Kelly."
  • 58'
    An unfair challenge on Kevin McDonald by Mikele Leigertwood results in a free kick. Michael Doyle takes the delivery but Chris Porter is flagged offside.
  • 54'
    Goal Garath McCleary
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "This is becoming a bit embarassing for Sheffield United. Adam Le Fondre is given far too much space through the middle and is able to release Garath McCleary inside the penalty box. The winger bursts forward, chops back inside onto his left foot and then passes the ball into the far corner, despite the presence of goalkeeper George Long and two further defenders on the line. McCleary has deserved that, he's been excellent."
  • 52'
    Former Reading striker David Kitson tries a 30-yard piledriver, but it sails well over the bar. At this point you can't blame the former Reading man for looking for the spectacular - there seems little but pride to play for.
  • 50'
    Goal Noel Hunt
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Game over at the Madejski Stadium. Garath McCleary, a constant threat today, storms down the right, breezing past the hapless Darryl Westlake, and pulls the ball back to the penalty spot. Noel Hunt finds a yard of space inside the box and, on the swivel, passes the ball past George Long. Great play from McCleary."
  • 48'
    The ball is crossed by Sheffield United's Jamie Murphy, but Sean Morrison clears.
  • 46'
    Hunt takes an early shot which is saved by keeper Long.
  • 46'
    The referee gets the second half underway at the Madejski Stadium.
  • Sheffield United's poor run of form looks set to continue despite a bright spell mid-way through the first half, the high point of which was when the impressive Nick Blackman dribbled past Nicky Shorey on the right flank to set up Chris Porter who was unable to convert. Blackman, 23, has scored 14 goals this season after joining the Blades on leaving Blackburn in the summer, and was this week linked with a move to Championship outfit Crystal Palace as they look to bring in new players following the departure of Wilfried Zaha.
  • Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "It has been pretty routine for the Premier League side so far, as the scoreline suggests. Noel Hunt headed the home side into the lead early on, before Mikele Leigertwood doubled the lead just before the break. In between, the League One side had several chance of their own and might have equalised but for the wastefulness of Chris Porter. The Blades have won on their last three visits to the Madejski Stadium, but they'll struggle to come back from two goals down today."
  • 45'
    The referee blows the whistle for half-time at the Madejski Stadium.
  • 43'
    Reading are still on the attack here and want a third. The half is coming to an end so their fans will be hoping that they can keep up this momentum in the second period.
  • 40'
    Goal Mikele Leigertwood
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading have been under a bit of pressure in the last ten minutes, but showed their class to double their lead. Garath McCleary jinked and tricked past Darryl Westlake before sending a cross into the box. Adam Le Fondre controls the ball, turns and fires a shot at goal which is palmed away by George Long. Mikele Leigertwood recovers the ball and feeds McCleary again, who returns the pass, allowing the Reading captain to take a touch and fire a ferocious effort towards goal from 20-yards. George Long got his fingertips to the ball but there was just too much venom in the shot and it flies into the top corner."
  • 37'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Sheffield United go close again, and Reading are beginning to look a little nervous. Chris Porter beats Sean Morrison in the air again, then chests the ball to the advancing Dave Kitson. The striker feeds Jamie Murphy and the midfielder fires a shot at goal which is well saved by Adam Federici."
  • 34'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "And then Sheffield United break. A deep cross is floated towards the backpost where Chris Porter meets it, but his flicked headed drifts just wide of the far post."
  • 33'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Noel Hunt is under pressure by the corner flag but, after some keepie-uppies, flicks the ball over the head of Darryl Westlake. The full-back pulls down the striker as he runs away and Reading are awarded a dangerous free kick, but Garath McCleary can't pick out a blue and white shirt."
  • 28'
    Dave Kitson is fouled by Mikele Leigertwood and the ref awards a free kick taken by Tony McMahon. The Reading wall holds firm to divert the right-back's effort and and Adam Federici rightly praises his team-mates.
  • 26'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Sheffield United are posing a threat on set-pieces, while Nick Blackman is proving a real handful. The 23-year-old floats in a cross which is only cleared as far as Kevin McDonald, whose ambitious volley sails over the bar."
  • 22'
    Reading's Jem Karacan and Sheffield United's David Kitson clash in the air, with both men going down injured.
  • 21'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Noel Hunt sends in a deep cross towards the backpost which Hal Robson-Kanu manages to chest down. The winger is about to unleash a volley on goal, but Tony McMahon makes a brilliant recovery challenge."
  • 19'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "How have Sheffield United not equalised!? Nick Blackman, lining up on the right wing, dribbles past Nicky Shorey with ease, weaving his way into the box. He then drills a perfect pass across the face of goal which Chris Porter somehow fails to make any contact with when two yards out from goal."
  • 17'
    Nick Blackman sends in a cross, but Reading's Adrian Mariappa manages to make a clearance. The outswinging corner taken left-footed by Nick Blackman is played to the near post and cleared by Noel Hunt.
  • 15'
    Reading are dominating this game and are looking comfortable in defence so far. The visitors will need to be effective on the counter if they want to get something from this. Each side has made mistakes in possession that have disrupted the flow of the game so far.
  • 13'
    Nicky Shorey is working well with Hal Robson-Kanu down the left flank, and you have to feel that there could be more goals provided by these two should they continue to play like this.
  • 12'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Delightful play from Hal Robson-Kanu again, who embarks on a lung-busting run from inside his own half to the penalty box. The Welsh winger accelerates past several red and white shirts and hits the byline, but his cross sails straight into the arms of George Long."
  • 11'
    Blades' centre-back Harry Maguire challenges Noel Hunt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nicky Shorey takes the delivery but striker Hunt is caught offside.
  • 10'
    The Blades' Tony McMahon tries to curl a direct free kick over the wall, but he gets it wrong and it clears the bar.
  • 8'
    Reading's Hal Robson-Kanu challenges Tony McMahon unfairly in the Blades' box and gives away a free kick taken by goalkeeper George Long.
  • 6'
    Goal Noel Hunt
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "That was very easy for Reading. The home side went close minutes earlier as Garath McCleary's corner was headed into the ground by Sean Morrison. But Hal Robson-Kanu broke free down the left and floated a cross towards the backpost where Noel Hunt was on hand to rise above Darryl Westlake and nod the ball into the far corner. Young Blades keeper George Long had no chance."
  • 5'
    Reading nearly make the breakthrough as Garath McCleary swings in a ball from the left, only for Sean Morrison to miss it by inches. Adam Le Fondre was unable to reach the loose ball.
  • 3'
    Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "It’s the third minute and both sets of fans are joining in a round of applause for former player Chris Armstrong. The defender – who wore the number three for both clubs – played 48 times for the Royals and over 100 times for the Blades before being forced to retire in 2011 at the age of 28 after battling multiple sclerosis."
  • 2'
    The assistant referee signals for offside against Sheffield United's Dave Kitson. Free kick taken by Sean Morrison.
  • 1'
    The referee gets the game underway at the Madejski Stadium.
  • Ewan Roberts at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading make six changes to the side that beat Newcastle last week, with two-goal hero Adam Le Fondre picked to lead the line. Jem Karacan has overcome a knock to start in midfield, while Pavel Pogrebnyak has been rested – despite Brian McDermott insisting he would play a full strength side. Dave Kitson, who spent five years at Reading (experiencing promotion and relegation with the Royals), starts up front for Sheffield United. Nick Blackman, subject to a bid from Crystal Palace, partners Kitson. The 23-year-old striker leads the Blades’ scoring charts with 14 goals this year."
  • Sheffield United: Long; McMahon, Higginbotham, Maguire, Westlake; Murphy, Doyle, McDonald, Porter; Blackman, Kitson. Subs: Coyne, Collins, Ironside, Flynn, Whitehouse, Cresswell, De Girolamo.
  • Reading: Federici; Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Shorey; McCleary, Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu; Hunt, Le Fondre. Subs: Taylor, Cummings, Pearce, Guthrie, Kebe, McAnuff, Church.
  • Hi and welcome to's LIVE commentary of today's FA Cup 4th Round game between Reading and Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium. I'm @arthurvirgo and you can get involved on Twitter @GoalUK