Premier League: Reading 3 Manchester United 4
By Football News
Manchester United pulled three points clear atop the English Premier League with a thrilling 4-3 win over Reading on Saturday.
Goals from Anderson, Robin van Persie and two from Wayne Rooney secured the win, with all seven goals coming in a remarkable first half at the Madejski Stadium.
The sides swapped the lead before Rooney – with his second – and van Persie found the net with efforts that ultimately secured the three points for the visitors.
Reading took an eighth-minute lead as Jobi McAnuff's in-swinging cross from the left was only partially cleared by Jonny Evans and Hal Robson-Kanu capitalised on the loose ball, hammering an effort past a helpless Anders Lindegaard.
United's response, however, was immediate.
Just four minutes after Robson-Kanu's strike, Anderson raced onto Ashley Young's through ball and lashed an effort past Adam Federici to pull Ferguson's men level.
Referee Mark Halsey then pointed to the spot after Evans was bundled over in the area by Jay Tabb and Rooney stepped up and duly answered his manager's call for more goals by placing his effort into the bottom corner, sending Federici the wrong way.
The astonishing first half witnessed a further twist, however, as the pendulum swung back in Reading's favour courtesy of two quick-fire goals from corners.
Nicky Shorey's pin-point deliveries were powerfully headed home with, firstly, Adam Le Fondre getting on the scoresheet a day prior to his 26th birthday before Sean Morrison climbed above Evans to make it 3-2 to Reading.
The first-half drama ceased to reach a conclusion there and United once again hit back to equalise.
Young and Anderson linked up superbly well on the left before the latter squared for Rooney to bury from close range.
And, to the astonishment of the crowd, the goals kept on coming.
Ferguson's side once again regained the lead as, after 34 minutes, van Persie latched onto Michael Carrick's through ball and produced a composed finish for his 10th league goal of the season.
The Dutch striker was unfortunate not to add to his tally before half-time as his close-range effort was cleared, but replays suggested the ball had crossed the line.
A comparatively dull start to the second half saw United slow the tempo with van Persie wasting arguably the best chance after the break.
The Dutchman amazingly fired wide after robbing Federici of possession just yards from goal.
Reading continued to pour forward in search of an equaliser although rarely troubled Lindegaard in the second half, with Tabb firing over before Morrison forced the goalkeeper to tip over in stoppage time.
The result moves United three points clear of City ahead of the Manchester derby on December 9.