culminated in Young feeding a pass through for Anderson, and the Brazilian unleashed a stinging effort which flew off the inside of Federici’s post and into the roof of the net.
The visitors’ tails were up, and only a heroic sliding block from Shaun Cummings stopped Young from crossing for Rooney to tap home. From the resultant corner, however, Evans was needlessly barged to the ground by Jay Tabb and referee Mark Halsey had no choice but to award a penalty.
Rooney duly sent Federici the wrong way to put United ahead for the first time, but just when it appeared a familiar script was being penned, the game was once again subverted as Reading struck twice in four minutes amid scenes of ghastly defending from the Reds.
Nicky Shorey’s whipped, in-swinging deliveries provided the problems, dipping into dangerous areas where the Royals had all too easily found space. First, Le Fondre was completely unmarked and nodded between Lindegaard and van Persie, then Morrison escaped Evans to power home a thunderous effort.
United were rocked and looked liable to further concessions with every forward foray from the hosts. Yet, by the time Sir Alex introduced Chris Smalling in place of Rafael, who had been booked for a foul on Jobi McAnuff, the Reds had drawn level once again.