Match Report: Reading 3-4 Manchester United
By Lee Savery
Manchester United came from behind, twice, to defeat Reading in a seven goal thriller at the Madejski.
All the goals came in the first 34 minutes of an astonishing first half, with the scoring starting on eight minutes when Hal Robson-Kanu lashed in a volley after Jonny Evans failed to clear a cross from the left. It was the fourteenth time in twenty-two matches that United have fallen behind.
The usual turnaround, we’ve come to expect, happened quicker than usual. After some nice work from Ashley Young on the left, his pass forward to Anderson was smashed into the net and through Adam Federici. Three minutes later, Jay Tabb brought down Jonny Evans in the penalty box. Wayne Rooney sent Federici the wrong way to give United the lead.
Reading came up with a turnaround of their own with two goals from Nicky Shorey corners. Firstly, from boyhood United fan Adam Le Fondre who had a free header from four yards out which hit off Robin van Persie before nestling in the back of the net. Five minutes later, it would be Sean Morrison who would win a free header that once more Anders Lindegaard could not stop.
The defending for all three goals was appalling. Sir Alex Ferguson would later take Rafael off, for Chris Smalling, as the Brazilian struggled against the lively Jobi McAnuff. A substitution da Silva did not take kindly.
The Red Devils had one last turnaround up their long sleeve of many turnarounds to secure three crucial points. Superb play between Patrice Evra & Ashley Young led to a cross from the left that was swept by Rooney for his second of the evening. Half an hour played and the score was 3-3.
On 34 minutes, the time on the clock would become the scoreline as Wayne Rooney’s defence splitting pass found van Persie who passed the ball into the bottom corner. Five minutes later, van Persie should have had a fifth but the officials did not see his effort at goal had been cleared from behind the line after Chris Smalling had hit the post with a header.
The second half turned into a rather dull affair after the pulsating first half. The closest anyone came to a goal fell to van Persie who closed down the Reading goalkeeper Federici in the penalty box before taking the ball from his feet and, somehow, did not find the net with his attempt at goal.
It was a crucial three points for United which sees them head into the derby three points ahead of Manchester City and ten points ahead of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion. Once again, our defending is a concern as the team looked nervy and, for the three goals, unable to clear crosses at all. Anderson also came off injured late in the first half and will be a loss to the team considering his form shown today and in recent games.
The top two meet at the Etihad next week in what is quickly becoming a two horse race for the Premier League title.
Latest Manchester United 2012-13 statistics.
Man of the Match Poll & Player Ratings: Reading vs. Manchester United here.
Share your thoughts with the Stretford End Arising forum.