Reading FC Match Report: 2012/2013 Season - Premier League


READING 3 MAN UTD 4

Reading: H Robson-Kanu (8 mins), A Le Fondre (19 mins), S Morrison (23 mins).
Man Utd: Anderson (13 mins), W Rooney (pen 16 mins, 30 mins), Van Persie (34 mins).

An astonishing thirty minutes of football in the first half saw the lead change hands four times as both teams played some excellent attacking football which produced seven goals. Reading may not have matched United for elgance and style but their committment to attack had the league leaders reeling and were rewarded with some stunning goals. It was like watching the edited highlights on Match of the Day. Reading may have suffered their third defeat in eight days at the hands of United, but must surely look back on this performance with a certain amout of pride in the quality of their attacking play.

Robson-Kanu ignited the game with a technically perfect left foot volley which flew past Lindegaard after eight minutes. Anderson levelled the score five minutes later. A flowing United attack saw Anderson hit a delightful volleyed first time ball out to Young before receiving the return pass inside the box to hammer past a startled Federici at the near post. Caught up in the excitement Tabb lost his head and clattered into the back of Evans as the ball ran harmlessly away from goal in the box and Rooney calmly put the Reds ahead from the spot. Reading fans went quiet excpecting a deluge of goals, but to everyone’s surprise Reading continued to take the game to United and they were clearly rattled. Le Fondre equalised as he reacted first to head Shorey’s corner past Lindegaard and Van Persie on the line. Rafael and Evra were being tormented on the flanks by McAnuff and Robson-Kanu as Reading enjoyed an equal share of possession. Rafael in particlar found it hard to cope and was booked before Alex Feguson removed him to sulk on the bench and to aviod further embarrassment. Reading restored their lead with a thundering header from Morrison from another exclllent Shorey corner. It was hard to believe what was happening!

Unfortunately for the Royals, United not only possess great talent, they are also very professional. They exhuded confidence even when behind, and the combination of Young and Evra surging down the left was simply too much for Reading’s defence finally creating an opportunity for Rooney to side-foot United level yet again seven miutes later. The winning goal came after thirty-four minutes when Rooney’s subtle flick sent Van Persie clear of Reading’s square back back four. He was never likely to miss, but made it look easy as he slid the ball past Federici. United were denied a fifth when Marriappa cleared off the line on forty minutes. (TV replays show it was over the line but in my opinion Reading did not desreve to go in two goals down at half time.)

Fletcher and Carrick secured their stranglehold on midfield in the second half as the game inevitably slowed down. Van Persie missed a good chance to finish Reading off when Fedrici dithered over a back pass and was dispossessed. Van Persi demonstrated even the best strikers are human missing the empty net as he lost his balance in applying the finish and the ball flew wide. Instead of offering an apology for his error, Fedrici then proceeded to pass the responsiblity for the mess to Mariappa.The respect earned by Reading can be measured in the relative caution from United in the second half and Lindegaard’s time-wasting from goal kicks. There was also, I’m sure, more than a hint of anxiety in the United ranks when Morrison rose to meet a corner in the closing minutes.

Typically on Match of the day, Alan Hansen attributed the Reading goals to poor defending by United, failing to acknowledge the impact of the pressure placed on the United defence by Reading’s fine attacking play. It goes without saying Reading do need to tighten up at the back but they played well enough today to worry other teams at the bottom of the league. There were some good performances today but most pleasing is the emergence of Robson-Kanu who must now established himself ahead of Kebe as first chioce. Apart from a fine goal, the way he turend Evra inside out and his willingness to take players on gave Reading a cutting edge which could be crucial. Next week’s game at Southampton brings togther the two leakiest defences in the league and promises more goals. Reading must gain at least a point at St May’s, not only to aviod slipping deeper into troube, but also to maintain morale.
John Wells

This Premier League game took place 2119 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.