VIDEO: Sheffield United full value for 2-1 victory over Reading at Bramall Lane

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Sheffield United showed all the qualities that have made them early promotion contenders in their victory over Reading this afternoon.

That's the verdict of James Shield, The Star's Blades writer, after the Blades made it four wins in their last five games thanks to goals from Paul Coutts and skipper Billy Sharp.

Roy Beerens pulled a goal back for Reading late on while Leon Clarke squandered a good chance to put the game to bed.

And James, in our video chat above, said: "Another home game, and another win - and another game in which Sheffield United have gone about their business and showed the qualities which have taken them, and kept them, third in the table.

"Those qualities involve taking control of the game from the off, which they did again here, and playing with a speed and intensity as evidenced by Mark Duffy's display.

"It takes a special player to keep David Brooks out of the starting eleven but Duffy's performances are making it almost impossible for Chris Wilder to recall United's boy wonder."

Celebrations after Paul Coutts' opener

Celebrations after Paul Coutts' opener

Reading's Mo Barrow had an early shot deflected wide after finding some space on the right-hand side of the area.

The hosts then began to put Jaap Stam's men under pressure with their first chance falling to Clarke, whose near post shot was deflected wide after he connected with a low cross from Enda Stevens.

Clarke had a hand in the opening goal when his shot was cleared only as far as Coutts, who fired into the roof of the net from 20 yards out.

United increased their lead in the 37th minute when Duffy broke free on the right-hand side of the area and his ball across the face of goal was tapped in by Sharp from close range.

Beerens tried a low shot from distance and the ball rolled narrowly wide of Jamal Blackman's right-hand post.

Visiting keeper Vito Mannone came to his side's rescue with a fine reaction save to keep out Sharp's close-range header following Duffy's free-kick.

With Reading largely kept at bay, Tiago Ilori tried his luck from distance but his effort went well wide.

Substitute Paul McShane had a much better effort, heading just wide after meeting Chris Gunter's cross.

United substitute David Brooks, who signed an extended contract in the week, threatened to race clear when he received the ball from Clarke, but Ilori made a timely interception, stretching out a leg to clear.

Stam made three changes to his line-up in the second half with John Swift and Pelle Clement also joining the action and the trio helped inspire an improved display.

Beerens scored to set up an interesting finish, sweeping the ball home after being set up by Barrow with five minutes to go.

Clarke had a chance to kill the game off in stoppage time when he received a long ball and advanced into the area, but Mannone came out to narrowly the angle and stood tall, blocking the striker's shot.