BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE

Old Trafford, England

Attendance: 75605

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Manchester United

  • Wayne Rooney 21'

1 - 0

FT

Watch Live on: ESPN(UK)
  • 90'

    ...but the final whistle goes before he can get too far. United were off their game, Reading well-organised and stubborn, but Rooney's deflected goal means the home side have a colossal 15-point advantage at the top of the table.

  • 90'

    Morrison crosses and United have to scramble to get that one away. Giggs can lead the break...

  • 90'

    Le Fondre for Reading, then Blackman. Giggs gets in and United can break with Rooney... but Kagawa loses possession.

  • 90'

    Kagawa crosses from the right after some neat play and Van Persie tries a spectacular overhead. It's over the top, though.

  • 90'

    Another throw to United, deep inside Reading territory. They're winding down the clock neatly enough - so far.

  • 90'

    The United man is back on his feet. Giggs isn't - he's tripped by Leigertwood. Chance for the home side to cross from the right.

  • 90'

    United keep possession before playing it long. Welbeck gets a thump in a challenge with Mariappa, and there'll be a few added seconds to the added minutes.

  • 90'

    Van Persie crosses and Morrison heads clear with Rooney waiting. Five minutes of added time at Old Trafford.

  • 90'

    Smalling wins a throw for United inside Reading territory as the clock ticks down towards added time.

  • 89'

    A minute of normal time remaining, but there's likely to be a fair bit of time added on for those injuries and substitutions.

  • 88'

    He gets his head to the ball, but United can just watch that one behind for a goal-kick.

  • 88'

    Sean Morrison is on and Kelly off - Morrison is good in the air, and has a corner to attack here...

  • 87'

    Kelly does well as Reading try to build a late attack. Carrick gets a block in to stop McAnuff from finding space.

  • 86'

    Karacan completely miscontrols the ball, getting it tangled between his own feet, and it goes out of play.

  • 85'

    Anderson is off and Shinji Kagawa on as United make another change.

  • 85'

    Giggs on the right finds Welbeck inside the area. he lays the ball back and Rooney blasts a first-time effort narrowly over.

  • 84'

    Another good cross soon comes in, and Pearce gets up well to head it away.

  • 84'

    Giggs makes his way into space and his deflected cross, off Mariappa, is scramble around the post by Taylor.

  • 83'

    Smalling gets down the right for United - he's made some good runs - and wins a corner. A second goal would, of course, put this beyond any doubt.

  • 82'

    Karacan tries a through ball, but it goes all the way through to De Gea.

  • 81'

    Then substitute Blackman crosses and Rooney is back there to get the header clear.

  • 80'

    Reading aren't giving it up, though, and have the ball on the left. Shorey tries to clip the ball towards the penalty area.

  • 79'

    A little over ten minutes remaining here. This, as it stands, may be United's most workaday three points of the season.

  • 78'

    Van Persie goes down the left. The cross is blocked, but United move forward again - only for their passing to go awry. Again.

  • 77'

    United on the ball, inside their own half. Again, it's all rather shapeless. Reading's clearance, though, goes straight back to the home side.

  • 76'

    Anderson does well to cross from the right, but Taylor is there to pluck it out of the air.

  • 75'

    Giggs is fouled on halfway and Smalling then tries to cross. He finds someone in row K of the Stretford End.

  • 74'

    Ashley Young is off and Carrick on. Can the latter's measured passing help to get United moving?

  • 73'

    Play is back under way. Ferdinand looks long, but Pearce is there to head clear for the visitors.

  • 72'

    Young is on his feet but McCleary is not - yet - and grimaces as he receives some treatment from the Reading physio.

  • 71'

    Young and McCleary clash painfully and both are on the floor. Nothing wrong with the challenge, though, just an awkward collision.

  • 70'

    And with United still nowhere near fluent and only one goal in it, who's to say the Royals can't snatch an equaliser? Twenty minutes remaining here.

  • 69'

    Changes: Noel Hunt off and Nick Blackman on and Hal Robson-Kanu off and Adam Le Fondre on. Attacking move by Reading, that.

  • 68'

    Hunt gets on the end of it, but Buttner makes a good sliding challenge to deny him a crossing chance down the right.

  • 68'

    He's soon back on his feet, though. It will be a drop ball to restart play.

  • 68'

    It's cleared to Karacan, who shoots and sees it blocked. In the meantime, Rooney has taken a knock in the melee and is down...

  • 67'

    Anderson concedes a dangerous free-kick with a foul on McAnuff. A very decent crossing position from the right, this, and Shorey is the man in command of the operation...

  • 66'

    Young tries to get there for United, but Karacan - happily showing no ill-effects from that earlier injury - whacks it miles clear.

  • 65'

    Welbeck drops deep to pick up the ball before Anderson finds Van Persie inside the area. But he's hesitant, and Reading block for a corner.

  • 64'

    United come forward again, but Young's attempted through ball is pretty hopeless and Taylor gathers.

  • 63'

    Van Persie hits it - it goes through the wall and Taylor dives to his left to make an excellent save.

  • 62'

    But as the ball comes back, Reading concede a free-kick about 30 yards out and pretty central. Van Persie and Rooney look interested in this one.

  • 61'

    Rooney, playing deeper, finds Smalling. He crosses rather aimlessly and Leigertwood can clear that without fuss.

  • 61'

    That one is half cleared to Young, who flashes a shot over the top.

  • 60'

    Welbeck has space as the referee plays on after a Kelly foul. He shoots, and a deflection takes it behind for a corner.

  • 59'

    Smalling flicks on Rooney's corner - it falls to Van Persie, whose deflected shot is over the top for another corner. Karacan is back on.

  • 58'

    The Reading physio is on, and Karacan looks to be in a fair bit of pain as he limps gingerly off the pitch.

  • 57'

    Nice play by Young on the left and finds the overlapping Buttner. Karacan makes a fine challenge to deny him at the expense of a corner, and has hurt himself in the process.

  • 56'

    And it's poor. No trouble for Reading to get that one away. A few signs of tetchiness from the Stretford End.

  • 55'

    Giggs looks interested in this free-kick, on the left of the area, but in the end it will be Young.

  • 54'

    Kelly catches Young late as United try to build - he's in the book.

  • 54'

    McCleary can cross for Reading. He does, and Vidic does his job for United, clearing for a throw.

  • 53'

    It's still a strange game. No real pattern, no real tempo.

  • 52'

    Anderson comes forward and switches the ball to Young, but he used a hand to bring that under control and Reading get the free-kick.

  • 52'

    Hunt forces an error from Giggs. Attacking throw to Reading.

  • 52'

    United, by contrast, are even more lethargic than they were before the break.

  • 52'

    The kick is a poor one, but the Berkshire side can be heartened by the way they have begun this second half.

  • 51'

    Rooney is back there, and United eventually concede another Reading corner.

  • 50'

    Reading can swing this free-kick into the area from the right, and Shorey is the man over it.

  • 49'

    Robson-Kanu is in the thick of it in this half. He's fouled by Buttner and doesn't like that challenge, showing his frustration with it.

  • 49'

    A flick-on is aimed towards Rooney, but Pearce is there for Reading and clears his lines.

  • 48'

    McCleary finds Robson-Kanu, whose attempted cross is a wild slice out of play.

  • 48'

    Anderson then tries to play the ball through the centre circle to Rooney, whose control lets him down.

  • 48'

    United cope better with that one, but you could make a decent argument that they were fortunate not to concede a penalty there.

  • 47'

    United don't deal with that well at all - a header more up than away. It looks as though Mariappa is pushed, but play goes on and Mariappa sees a shot deflected over for another corner.

  • 47'

    Shorey will take this one, at the end where the travelling fans are gathered.

  • 46'

    Robson-Kanu knows what he wants to do - he swings in a cross that is deflected behind for an early Reading corner.

  • 46'

    Here we go, then - can Reading snatch an equaliser? Or will United find the rhythm that eluded them in the first half?

  • 45'

    The players are on their way out of the tunnel, an Reading will get us under way.

  • 45'

    And that minute elapses with no further action: United lead through Wayne Rooney's deflected goal, having not had an easy time of it against a well-organised and dogged, if limited, Reading side.

  • 45'

    A minute of added time to be played at Old Trafford...

  • 45'

    That Welbeck run didn't amount to very much, and United give away a free-kick as they try to win back possession.

  • 45'

    Rooney comes forward and is well tackled. United come again, though, with Welbeck. Seconds remaining until the break.

  • 43'

    Conditions at Old Trafford, where the rain is getting heavier, aren't making things any easier. But some of United's big stars, particularly Van Persie, are finding it a real struggle to get into the game.

  • 42'

    He is - that's the first booking of a tepid game.

  • 42'

    McAnuff, chased by Ashley Young, tries a shot from outside the area. It's wide. Hunt then catches Chris Smalling with a high challenge in midfield and will probably be booked...

  • 41'

    Sir Alex Ferguson won't be too pleased with this, you wouldn't have thought - his aside may have the lead, but they are a long way off convincing. Credit to Reading for that, though: they have been impressively disciplined.

  • 40'

    It goes awry and Giggs comes forward to find Welbeck, who flicks the ball to nobody in particular.

  • 39'

    McCleary is fouled as he comes forward - free-kick to Reading, just inside the United half.

  • 38'

    Leigertwood has shown some neat and tidy touches in this half, and weaves past a couple of people on halfway before possession runs away from him.

  • 37'

    Karacan gets to the ball on the byline and dinks in a cross, but there aren't enough Royals in support for anything to come of that.

  • 36'

    Not so, say the officials. That provokes a bit of muttering from the stands.

  • 36'

    Reading, though, lose the ball and Anderson tries to make something happen, spreading the play from centre to left. Welbeck scuffs - was that a cross or a shot? - and it appears to go out for a corner.

  • 35'

    Anderson dawdles and is robbed, and Hunt chases. Young whipper-snapper Ryan Giggs gets back to deny him space and concede a throw.

  • 34'

    At the other end, Ferdinand cuts out a cross after good Reading play down the right had engineered the opportunity.

  • 34'

    Welbeck surges into the Reading area as the home side try to step on the gas, but the final ball is cut out with van Persie and Rooney lurking.

  • 33'

    De Gea wasn't going to get anywhere near that - a warning sign for a sluggish Manchester United.

  • 33'

    Robson-Kanu finds a little bit of space on the edge of the area and curls a superb shot fractionally wide of the far post.

  • 32'

    Reading are doing well - they are frustrating United and here they come now...

  • 31'

    Ferdinand switches the play to Buttner, and the ball is fed to Welbeck. United look towards Rooney inside the area, but again the Royals clear.

  • 30'

    Rooney finds Van Persie 30 yards out. He hits a shot which has plenty of swerve on it, but again Taylor is in the right place.

  • 29'

    Forward come the home side again, though, and Giggs crosses deep from the left. Taylor catches confidently.

  • 28'

    Ashley Young comes forward but is forced back by some good Reading harrying.

  • 27'

    ...he does, but doesn't catch the shot right at all, sending it bobbling through to the grateful Taylor.

  • 26'

    Anderson and van Persie link and Rooney could have a touch of space here on the edge of the box...

  • 26'

    United are playing well within themselves at the moment, and have cause to be grateful to the moment of good fortune - that deflection - that has them on the scoresheet.

  • 25'

    Ferdinand strides forward again an finds Welbeck on halfway. He accelerates and tries a shot from 30 yards - it's scuffed and wide.

  • 24'

    They have to go backwards to try and come forwards, though... and end up shuffling the ball all the way back to 'keeper Taylor.

  • 23'

    Van Persie crosses, Reading clear and try to build on the halfway line.

  • 23'

    Mariappa then gives possession away carelessly, but Van Persie can't make him pay - a poor pass sees the threat fizzle out.

  • 22'

    A great run from Ferdinand made things happen, though - he picked off a poor Reading pass and just strode forward.

  • 21'

    GOAL: He brings the ball down well and hits a shot that loops off Pearce and high into the net. United have the lead, but that's very unlucky for Reading.

  • 21'

    Ferdinand comes forward, striding out of defence, and finds Rooney with some space outside the area.

  • 20'

    Ashley Young chases a ball forward, and Stuart Taylor comes racing out to head it away from the attacker.

  • 19'

    Forward come Reading and win a throw just inside the United half. It comes to nought, though. United are on the ball again, but they haven't exactly done much with it so far.

  • 18'

    Then Van Persie has a go from a similar distance. It's scuffed and, in its different way, every bit as harmless.

  • 18'

    A Rooney cross is cleared to the edge of the area, where Welbeck tries a shot. It's high, wide and no threat at all.

  • 17'

    Vidic comes forward and plays the ball long towards the United strikers - Pearce heads clear for Reading.

  • 16'

    The ball is played in towards Robson-Kanu, who nudges Buttner inside the penalty area and gives away the free-kick.

  • 15'

    A quarter of an hour gone, and it has been an uneventful quarter of an hour. No spark from United, plenty of determination from Reading.

  • 15'

    Van Perie was lurking, but that ball was always going beyond him.

  • 14'

    The ball is fed to Young on the left - he tries to bend a shot from an angle inside the far post, but bends it wide.

  • 14'

    Shorey clips the ball forward. It's beyond any of his colleagues, and United, with Giggs, take possession.

  • 13'

    Rooney plays the ball in, but it's a nothing sort of ball and Reading again clear their lines easily enough.

  • 12'

    Rooney tries to get something going for United. Leigertwood is marking him, and is adjudged to have fouled him.

  • 12'

    Shorey comes forward again and tries to link with McAnuff, but the pass goes astray and flies out of play for a United throw-in.

  • 11'

    Reading will be delighted with the way they have started - they haven't allowed United to get going.

  • 10'

    The play is spread and Smalling wanders forward, but his effort to play the ball in, like Karacan's earlier, is beyond everyone.

  • 9'

    Giggs and Buttner link, and the former finds Van Persie out on the left for United.

  • 9'

    A little possession for Reading: McAnuff chases, but can't keep that ball down the left in play.

  • 8'

    De Gea takes the goal-kick, but Van Persie is adjudged to have backed into his defender and Reading have a free-kick inside their own half.

  • 7'

    Throw to Reading - Shorey takes. Karacan crosses, but that's beyond everyone.

  • 6'

    All a little bit bitty so far: no real spells of possession for either side, and not much noise from the stands either.

  • 5'

    Reading take the throw inside their own half - and the ball soon goes out for a United throw.

  • 4'

    Welbeck is then adjudged to have been fouled in midfield - there wasn't that much in that - and United build with Van Persie before the ball goes astray.

  • 4'

    That comes to nothing, though, and United come again. Welbeck tries to flick the ball down the right, but Reading read that and clear.

  • 3'

    Hunt chases a long ball and does well, holding it up under pressure. Shorey gets up to cross, and Reading win an attacking throw.

  • 2'

    Reading hammer the goal-kick upfield, but the ball is soon back in the care of David de Gea for United.

  • 2'

    Then a cross comes in, looking for Welbeck, but it's far too long.

  • 1'

    Young links with Van Persie on the right, but that move breaks down and Reading have a throw.

  •  

    United get us under way and switch the ball to the right. Reading try to hassle them, but give away a free-kick.

  •  

    Reading have only Noel Hunt up front. Their recent run has been morale-sapping after a previous upsurge in form, and defeat at home to Aston Villa last weekend - a game they had led - was a hammer blow.

  •  

    And the handshake ritual is carried out before an evening that could all but tie up the title for the home side.

  •  

    The players are emerging from the Old Trafford tunnel - moments remaining until kick-off.

  •  

    United, meanwhile, can open up a 15-point lead at the top of the league with a win. And with nine games remaining, they are within touching distance of taking the title back.

  •  

    Reading could end up bottom of the Premier League - they are currently off the foot of the table by slender goal difference.

  •  

    Reading, meanwhile, have opted for a conservative 4-5-1 formation as Eamonn Dolan takes charge of the side for the first time following Brian McDermott's dismissal: Taylor, Shorey, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Hunt.

  •  

    Manchester United have named a strong attacking line-up as they attempt to take advantage of Manchester City's defeat against Everton earlier in the day. It looks like this: De Gea, Smalling, Buttner, Ferdinand, Vidic, Anderson, Giggs, Young, Welbeck, Rooney, van Persie

  •  

    Join us for live commentary of Manchester United v Reading at 17:30 GMT.

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Goal Shot Video
  •  
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • Manchester United

  • 16(4)

  • 20

  • 6

  • 57%

    43%

  • Reading

  • 6(0)

  • 22

  • 16

Match Stats

  • Manchester United
  • Reading
16(4) Shots (on goal) 6(0)
6 Fouls 16
5 Corner kicks 4
0 Offsides 1
57% Time of Possession 43%
0 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
0 Saves 3
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