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22:47 15th February 2011

Report: Royals robbed by late spotkick

Sheff Utd 1 (Bogdanovic 86 pen)
Reading 1 (Long 80)

The Royals were robbed of victory by a late penalty decision which saw Sheffield United claw an unlikely point from a game in which they were second best.

Brian McDermott's men peppered the Blades' goalmouth, forcing Steve Simonsen into a save in the very first and the very last minute - Ivar Ingimarsson denied by a reaction save in the opening throes and then Shane Long denied a second with a left-handed save in injury time.

Jobi McAnuff struck the woodwork in the first half, and found the in-form Simonsen in his way at the start of the second. Jay Tabb fired over, Ian Harte saw a free kick whistle inches wide and the left-back was also denied a penalty when his right-footed drive struck a Blades hand inside the box.

Shane Long finally broke the deadlock, racing onto a lovely McAnuff throughball, outwitting his marker and driving low into the corner for a goal which looked likely to win the match.

But Daniel Bogdanovic tumbled when Andy Griffin challenged shoulder to shoulder with the substitute striker, and after referee Trevor Kettle had awarded a penalty, the Blades frontman earned the hosts a point from the spot.

Sheff Utd: Simonsen, Jordan (Lowton HT), Ertl, Doyle, Yeates (Riise 62), Williamson, Cresswell, Vokes (Bogdanovic 62), Collins, Quinn, Parrino
Subs: Nosworthy, Long, Slew, Bent

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Griffin, Harte, Mills (c), Ingimarsson; Gunnarsson (Antonio 66), Tabb (Manset 74), Howard, Kebe, McAnuff; Long
Subs: McCarthy, Khizanishvili, Armstrong, Robson-Kanu, Hunt
Booked: Gunnarsson, Antonio

Referee: T Kettle
Attendance: 19,271

Starting XI team news
The Royals made two changes, bringing in Brynjar Gunnarsson for the suspended Jem Karacan in midfield, and reinstating Jobi McAnuff into the starting line-up in place of Hal Robson-Kanu. Tabb was given a forward-thinking midfield role behind Long in the same 4-2-3-1 shape that the Royals started with at Norwich three days previously.

First half
In the opening minute of the match, the Royals won a free kick on the right which was floated into the box. Ivar Ingimarsson wrestled his way in front of his marker and volleyed with his right foot towards goal from 8 yards out. Simonsen parried and gathered the loose ball before the Icelander could stab the rebound home.

The Royals came out of the blocks quickly and came even closer to an opener five minutes later. Another far post cross from the right was met by the head of McAnuff, who bulleted an effort past Simonsen and against the right post.

At the other end, Adam Federici had to deal with a couple of Mark Yeates efforts from distance but safely gathered both into his body.

Approaching the half hour mark, Ian Harte arrowed a wonderful crossfield ball to find Kebe on the right side. The Malian touched it past Stephen Jordan and would have been in on goal had Jordan not clattered him to the floor. Jordan was booked, but Harte's free kick was well caught by Simonsen.

Brian McDermott's men were full of confidence and kept the pressure on. Long brought a long ball down beautifully and touched it back to Howard, who swept a left-footed effort just wide of the right upright.

Then a breakaway, made entirely by some superb wing play from Long, saw the frontman fizz a low cross into the middle for the breaking Tabb. But Tabb missed his kick completely in front of goal and the offside flag would have ruled out any effort he had mustered anyway.

Second half
Five minutes into the second half, Reading had two fleeting chances to break the deadlock. McAnuff jinked his way into the box from the left and stabbed a shot at goal, but it was half-blocked and dropped into empty space inside the Blades box.

Then Gunnarsson recycled it on the right, beating his man and cutting a low cross into the middle, where Tabb skied a first time effort high over the crossbar.

An hour gone and Ian Harte strode onto a ball on the edge of the box. He took a touch inside onto his right boot and let rip with a thunderbolt that was heading goalwards. It clearly struck a defender's hand, away from the body, but nothing was given by referee Kettle.

The game entered a scrappy spell and Brian McDermott introduced Michail Antonio for Gunnarsson with 20 minutes remaining, before Manset entered the fray for Tabb.

And Reading's determination to get a breakthrough paid off with ten minutes reminaing. Jobi McAnuff raced through the centre of midfield and slid a ball into Long on the edge of the box. He outfoxed his marker and nonchalantly rifled a low right-footed effort past Simonsen and into the back of the net.

But with five minutes remaining, United earned a penalty. In forcing Daniel Bogdanovic wide, Grffin was adjudged to have tripped the Blades substitute. It looked like a soft penalty, and a simple shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, but the referee had no doubt.

Bogdanovic - having scored from the spot at the same end only days earlier, stepped up and converted comfortably, sending Federici the wrong way.

Neither side seemed happy with a point and the final minutes of normal time, as well as four injury-added minutes, were frantic.

And the best chance fell to Shane Long, again fed by McAnuff, but this time denied by a brilliant left handed save from Simonsen, who turned his left-footed effort wide of the woodwork with only moments left.

    Data provided by Press Association