Reading 1-2 Sheffield United (AET): Billy Sharp scores extra-time winner as Blades overcome Championship strugglers to reach FA Cup last eight
- David McGoldrick headed Sheffield United ahead after just two minutes
- However, Reading equalised on the stroke of half-time through George Puscas
- Puscas scored from the spot after George Baldock pushed Andy Rinomhota
- The game went to extra-time, and Billy Sharp headed the Blades back in front
- The Premier League side eventually held on to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals
Not even Pele or Puscas could stop this Sheffield United train from rolling on.
Dreams of Europe and now the last eight of the FA Cup. When will Chris Wilder’s powers wane?
Here, Reading pushed their visitors beyond 90 minutes. But at the end of a long, tense tie, United stood tall thanks to one of their shortest stars.
Sheffield United veteran Billy Sharp heads powerfully into the net for the Blades victory
The 34-year-old celebrates his goal on the stroke of half-time in extra-time at the Madjeski
READING (4-5-1): Rafael 6; Yiadom 5.5, Miazga 6, Morrison 5.5, Obita 6; Meite 6.5 (McCleary 105), Rinomhota 6.5 (Baldock 105), Swift 6.5, Ejaria 6.5 (Gomes 98), Olise 6 (Masika 98); Puscas 6.5
Subs not used: Walker, Moore, Blackett
Goals: Puscas 43 pen
Manager: Mark Bowen 6.5
SHEFFIELD UNITED (3-5-2): Henderson 6; Basham 6, Egan 6.5, O’Connell 6; Baldock 5.5, Lundstram 6.5, Berge 6.5 (Robinson 99), Freeman 7 (Retsos 106), Osborn 6.5; Mousset 5.5 (McBurnie 61, 6), McGoldrick 6.5 (Sharp 79, 7)
Subs not used: Verrips, Jagielka, Zivkovic
Goals: McGoldrick 2, Sharp 115
Manager: Chris Wilder 6.5
Attendance: 15, 129
Referee: Kevin Friend 5
Billy Sharp netted an extra-time winner after George Puscas’ penalty cancelled out David McGoldrick’s first club goal in nearly a year.
Even after Sharp’s intervention, a long-range effort from Judilson Gomes – known as Pele – came within a whisker of forcing penalties. But instead United are in the quarters for the first time since 2014.
‘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,’ Wilder said.
‘The biggest thing is getting through… we got the job done and found a way to win. It was a difficult night for us.’
David McGoldrick heads home past Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral after just 85 seconds
The Sheffield United forward’s goal was his first of the season in any competition
Relief at the end of an evening that had begun so smoothly.
Within 85 seconds, McGoldrick buried a free header from seven yards and soon the visitors’ unrelenting possession began to suck the life out of the game. Both McGoldrick and John Egan missed chances to extend their lead, too.
But then three minutes before half-time, a lifeline for Reading.
From a harmless ball into the box, Andy Rinomhota went down under a challenge from George Baldock.
It looked a soft call from Kevin Friend but Puscas didn’t care. He beat Dean Henderson and the goal seemed to shellshock United, who struggled to re-establish their authority.
Reading equalised in the 43rd minute through George Puscas’ penalty into the corner
The Romanian (R) celebrates his goal which levelled the scores heading into the interval
Instead it was Reading who, despite being 16th in the second tier, were on the front foot.
Unfortunately they created little to show for it and eventually paid the price. Before the end of normal time McGoldrick headed over and Luke Freeman went close from distance.
United had to wait until the 105th minute before a chance eventually stuck, with substitute Sharp making no mistake after Freeman’s cross reached him at the back post.
Nothing, not even their famous names or their Friend in black, could help Reading come back this time.
‘It was a long hard fought battle and it’s hard to take,’ Reading boss Mark Bowen reflected. ‘We have to take this on in our league form.’
Sheffield United’s Ben Osborn attempts to take the ball off Reading defender Andy Yiadom
Sharp celebrates his third goal of the season with his team-mates on Tuesday night
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder celebrates after his team progressed to the last eight
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