The pressure on Reading manager Jaap Stam increased as the Royals fell to a 3-1 defeat at home to Sheffield United.

With opposition to the Dutchman already high, last night’s defeat to the Blades could prove to be the final straw as the Royals suffered their fifth defeat in ten games – a spell in which they have won only once, a 3-1 victory over Burton Albion.

The visitors were ahead after just eleven minutes as Billy Sharp reacted quickest after his initial shot rebounded off Vito Mannone.

Mark Duffy doubled the Blades’ lead just before half-time, smashing a shot into the top corner as Mannone was left helpless.

Omar Richards pulled a goal back for the hosts early in the second half, providing hope of a potential comeback.

The Royals were awarded a penalty when Liam Kelly was felled in the area, however Leandra Barcuna saw his spot-kick saved by Blades’ substitute ‘keeper Simon Moore. Having come close to levelling the scores, Reading instead found themselves further behind as Sharp reeled onto John Fleck’s long ball to strike home.

The result means worries continue at the Madejski Stadium as the Sky Bet Championship side have now gone five League games without a win. The Royals now sit just four points above the relegation zone in 18th.

Chris Wilder could be left disappointed, however, as his side could have won by a larger margin had Clarke, Sharp and Clayton Donaldson not squandered their good chances. However their victory meant that they leapfrogged Bristol City into sixth-place.

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