Blades are look­ing Sharp in play-offs

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By ADRIAN STILES

READ­ING failed to man­age a sin­gle shot on tar­get in their first game fol­low­ing Paul Cle­ment’s sack­ing, as Billy Sharp put them to the sword.

The striker pro­vided the de­ci­sive mo­ment against his for­mer club by break­ing the dead­lock in the 83rd minute, mov­ing Sheff Utd up to third.

And the Blades were cel­e­brat­ing again three min­utes later as Sam Bal­dock headed into his own net.

But care­taker boss Scott Mar­shall amaz­ingly claimed there were pos­i­tives.

He said: “It was good to be around the group and look in their eyes. They looked quite pos­i­tive so there are en­cour­ag­ing signs.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed things did not work out for Paul. Per­son­ally it’s a chal­lenge, we just need to bat­tle on, we want to gen­er­ate some to­geth­er­ness.”

Cle­ment was removed on Thurs­day only hours af­ter Nigel Howe had re­turned to his role as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Luis Cas­tro is favourite for the job as the Roy­als hunt for a man who can bring back the good times.

But, de­spite a bright start, there was no signs of any pos­i­tiv­ity last night.

United soon found their stride and had two goals dis­al­lowed for off­side.

First, Conor Washington headed in from a cor­ner and then David McGoldrick fired home but the lines­man can­celled both out.

McGoldrick then had his head in his hands as his tame shot couldn’t beat Anssi Jaakkola.

At the other end Read­ing were of­fer­ing lit­tle in the fi­nal third – al­though Josh Sims shot wide when well placed.

But the Roy­als never looked like scor­ing and were pun­ished by for­mer player Sharp who bun­dled home from Chris Basham’s cross be­fore Bal­dock’s howler.

Blades boss Chris Wilder said: “There were a few harsh words at half-time. The first half was not the level of per­for­mance I wanted but we were bet­ter sec­ond half.

“We’re blessed with Bill thanks to his goalscor­ing record and the way he takes things by not spit­ting his dummy out if he doesn’t start. He just gets on with it.”

ON TAR­GET: Billy Sharp

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