An extra time goal from ex-Royal Billy Sharp was enough for the Blades to progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, after Wilder’s side overcame Reading by 2-1.
The Championship side managed to force extra-time after George Puscas’s penalty cancelled out David McGoldrick’s early first half header.
Chris Wilder’s Blades are now one more game away from a Wembley semi-final.
Story of the match
The Blades flew out the blocks in the opening minutes of the game and as a result went 1-0 up within the first two minutes after a Ben Osbourne cross from the left found the head of David McGoldrick who headed home, unmarked in the box.
It was some very poor defending from the two Reading centre-backs early on in this big match for the club.
In the first 10 minutes it felt like a training season for the Blades who were just playing keep ball, whilst the Royals were just chasing to no avail.
The home side did manage to test Dean Henderson within the first 15 minutes with the dangerous Yakou Meite having his long-range effort from the right saved well by the Blades goalkeeper.
But it was the Blades who looked more likely to add to the lead before half-time and were close to doing that but John Egan’s flicked header from the corner landed on the roof of the net to the home sides relief.
McGoldrick then nearly had his second goal of the evening but Rafael was equal to his long-range effort.
Remarkably, from nowhere, the Royals were handed a lifeline right on half-time after George Baldock pushed Reading midfielder Andy RInomhota in the box after a cross was delivered from the right, leaving the referee was no choice but to give a penalty.
Puscas stepped up and converted from the spot to set up a fascinating second half. But the first half on the whole was dominated by the visitors who had the lion share of possession.
The second half started opposite to the first half- this time with Reading really in the ascendency. An early attempt from Michael Olise in the opposition box demonstrated just that.
Despite the Championship sides better start to the half, they had nothing really to show for it. That didn’t stop Wilder from making a change early in the second half bringing on Oli McBurnie for the ineffective Lys Mousset.
The pendulum started to swing once again back to the visitors as the second half progressed. In the 69th minute it looked like McGoldrick scored with another header, but luckily for the Royals it landed on the roof of the net instead of the back of the net.
Entering the final 15 minutes, the Royals looked content with just sitting back and holding on for extra time, but this inadvertently invited more United pressure as the 90 minutes drew closer.
Sitting back allowed more space for the Blades and Luke Freeman took advantage of this with his 75th minute long range sizzler which was parried away by Rafael in the Reading goal.
Neither team could force a winner meaning that extra-time was needed to settle this contest at the Madejski Stadium.
Nothing really happened in the first part of extra time right until the end when ex-Royal Billy Sharp popped up at the back post to head in past Rafael to give the Blades a 2-1 lead.
The 34-year-old was nearly at it again but right at the start of the second period of extra time, but this time the sub striker blasted his half volley just over the bar.
Reading desperately pushed hard for an equaliser before time was up but Pele’s two attempts evaded the goal and made it FA Cup heartbreak for the Championship side who were so close to forcing penalties.
Things we learned
Puscas is really starting to find his feet at Reading
It was a tough start to Reading life for Romanian striker Puscas.
But in the last month or so, he is starting to show signs that he is settling into English football.
The goal tonight from the penalty spot has now made him the Royals’s joint top scorer on 11 goals with Meite.
Scoring tonight and on the weekend can only breed more and more confidence for the 23-year-old going forward.
This game tonight was a chance for the French striker to make a statement to Wilder which he failed to do.
His compatriot upfront tonight McGoldrick, had a much more productive evening with his goal and his overall play.
The starting two strikers in the Premier League in recent games for the Blades has been McBurnie and Sharp, and only McGoldrick has made a case to be picked at the weekend for United’s game against Norwich City in the Premier League.
Valiant Reading have everything it takes to compete in the Premier League
With Sheffield United being in a top four race in the Premier League, you would have thought this game would have been a catwalk for them, but the Royals really lived up to the challenge today and competed toe to toe with Premier League opposition.
It was only a lapse of concentration in extra-time which was the difference between the two sides tonight.
The performance should definitely give Bowen's side reason for optimism as they play out the remainder of their Championship season.
Billy Sharp: The Controversial figure again
Every time Billy Sharp plays against Reading- he can never keep out of the headlines.
Either scoring a goal or saying something controversial is what usually happens when he returns to the Madejski Stadium.
Both happened tonight. Brought on as a second half sub by Chris Wilder, Reading fans knew deep down what was coming.
His extra-time goal wasn't the only controversial incident in which the 34-year-old was involved.
The striker also had a bust up at the end of the game with Reading defender Michael Morrison and was caught saying this about the Royals player after the game.