Reading FC fell to their fifth defeat in seven as Sheffield United ran out 1-0 winners at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

On a bitterly cold Tuesday night in Berkshire, Reading struggled desperately to assert themselves as a quiet first half ended goalless.

The visitors came out stronger after the break and while neither side created much in the way of clear-cut chances, Jaden Bogle found himself free at the back-post to notch the game’s only goal in the 57th minute.

Velijko Paunovic made one change from the side that drew with Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Tom Holmes the sole casualty - replaced by Tom Dele-Bashiru - as Reading switched from five at the back to flat back four.

Fresh off of their 0-0 draw with promotion-chasing Coventry City, Sheffield United started in the ascendancy, twice coming close from early corners, Reading just about scrambling each clear - albeit neither particularly convincingly.

Morgan Gibbs-White was inches away from rewarding the Yorkshire side for their bright start, curling a free-kick from distance over the wall and past Luke Southwood in the Reading net. Thankfully for the hosts, the crossbar came to their rescue on this occasion.

After barely surviving a tricky opening quarter of an hour, Reading came back down the other end through John Swift. The midfielder scythed through the heart of Sheffield United before laying off to the on-rushing Andy Yiadom, but the eventual cross was cleared before it could reach George Puscas.

On the half-hour mark, the hosts went close again, this time Danny Drinkwater causing mayhem with a deliciously curled cross. The ball dropped tantalizingly just in front of Wes Foderingham in the Sheffield United goal, but Baba Rahman couldn’t quite get his head on it.

Moments later a shout of “BOOOORRRRIIING” emerged from the SCL crowd as the game meandered towards half-time with neither side offering any concrete threat.

A well-worked move moments after the restart found Bogle free on the right side of the box, but Southwood darted off his line at the perfect moment to make the crucial save.

Reading failed to heed the warning and just a few minutes later, Bogle broke the deadlock for Sheffield United. Baba Rahman was caught ball-watching as a cross was floated to the back-post, allowing Bogle to ghost in and volley into the roof of the net. 

The frustrated home support almost immediately started calling for the introduction of new signing Andy Carroll and Paunovic obliged on the hour-mark. Not long after though, the game came to a halt for nearly ten minutes as John Fleck was stretchered off the pitch amid great concern from both sets of players.

Puscas, who still hasn’t found the net this season, had half a chance to drag Reading level once play resumed but couldn’t make meaningful contact on Drinkwater’s chipped cross. 

In truth, Reading failed to create much of note in the second half with Foderingham’s only save coming when Carroll tried his luck with a rasping drive from 35 yards out. 

13 minutes of second half stoppage time gave Reading the opportunity to search for an equaliser, but Sheffield United held on with minimal fuss to condemn Paunovic’s side to a thoroughly disappointing defeat at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Reading FC: Southwood, Rahman (Halilovic 90+4’), Dann, Moore, Yiadom, Drinkwater, Laurent, Ejaria (Holmes 90+9’), Dele-Bashiru (Carroll 60), Swift, Puscas