Reading 4 - 0 Sheffield United

Match info: FA Cup - 4th Rnd at The Madejski Stadium

Date: 26/01/2013 KO: 15:00 Ref: C Foy Att: 14,715

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers


Noel Hunt 6,50
Mikele Leigertwood 40
Garath McCleary 54


Sheff Utd

FT (ht: 2-0)

  • Last Updated: January 26 2013, 19:12 GMT

Brian McDermott was relieved Reading did not join the list of Barclays Premier League casualties after his team strolled to a 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Sheffield United.

Noel Hunt celebrates at the Madejski
Noel Hunt celebrates at the Madejski

With the Royals sitting just inside the Barclays Premier League relegation zone, many had marked this fixture as a potential upset, but the hosts' clinical finishing ensured they romped to victory against the npower League One visitors.

Noel Hunt gave Reading a fifth-minute lead, but United came in to the game in the following half-hour only to see Mikele Leigertwood give the home side a two-goal cushion with a fine 25-yard drive against his former club.

Hunt's second, and a second-half strike from Garath McCleary, put the result beyond doubt in the second half.

With rivals Norwich and QPR both being knocked out by lower-league opposition, McDermott was happy his side got themselves in the hat for the last 16 - even though the scoreline was perhaps was a little harsh on the Blades.

"If you look at the results today, a couple of big teams have gone out and we are thankful we are not one of them," the Reading manager said.

"I don't think we did particularly well in the first half. We just weren't ourselves. I got a bit agitated, which is unusual for me.

"But we were much more clinical and efficient after, so we deserved to go through."

Having looked like certainties for relegation towards the end of 2012, Reading now find themselves welcoming Chelsea to the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday on the back of a four-match winning streak.

The high morale in the camp bodes well for the Berkshire club's chances of avoiding the drop and also boosts their hopes of maintaining their strong history in the FA Cup, where they have reached the quarter-finals in two of the last three years.

"The confidence has always been good here, but winning games always breeds momentum," the 51-year-old said.

Given the poorer quality of opposition, McDermott can also take heart from the fact that the likes of Hunt, Nicky Shorey and Adam Le Fondre got 90 minutes of football to stave off any frustration they may have had at not starting regularly this term.

"I tried to keep them all on the pitch for 90 minutes because a lot of them haven't played full games so they needed the minutes under their belts," the Royals boss added.

"It was nice that Hunty got a couple of goals under his belt and Garath has made one and scored one today so it's fantastic for him."

Had Chris Porter, Nick Blackman, Ryan Flynn and Kevin McDonald all taken their chances, United could have taken their hosts back to Bramall Lane for a replay.

For that reason, Blades boss Danny Wilson was left to reflect on what might have been for his side.

"We are disappointed," he said. "We take nothing away from the striking prowess of Reading. But the goals we conceded were poor - the first one in particular and the one just after half-time.

"I think the scoreline was a bit flattering but they have taken their chances. We had as many chances but just didn't convert them."

Blackman was United's best player by far, causing the Reading back line all sorts of trouble thanks to his pace and power.

Crystal Palace have made a bid to sign the 23-year-old former Blackburn man, but Wilson wants him to stay.

"We have had a bid for him, but he is still our player," Wilson said.

"Whether that will change before Thursday, I don't know.

"I would like him to stay but obviously circumstances will prevail. He is a very good player."

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