Howard strike boosts impressive Blades

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Brian Howard's scruffy goal gave Sheffield United a priceless 1-0 win at Reading which lifts the Blades into the automatic promotion places in the Coca-Cola Championship for the first time this season.

Howard smuggled in a 60th-minute shot after Kilgallon had headed against the crossbar as Kevin Blackwell's side deservedly condemned the Royals to another home defeat.

Reading defender Michael Duberry wasted the first half's best chance with a finish befitting a centre-half with just six league goals to his name in nearly 300 appearances.

Royals striker Dave Kitson almost opened the scoring as his 58th-minute header clipped the top of the crossbar while Blades centre-back Kilgallon did the same at the other end before Howard pounced on to the rebound and squeezed a skidding shot through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner.

United have now won five games in a row to emerge from the pack and pile the pressure on Birmingham ahead of their visit to bottom side Charlton tomorrow.

In contrast, Reading look a shadow of the side that were routinely trouncing all-comers at home in the early months of the season and are limping toward a play-off place after looking set for promotion for much of the season.

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Brian Howard
Michael Duberry
Sheffield United
Dave Kitson
Charlton Athletic
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