van Persie all had efforts on goal. The latter’s was a vicious free-kick from 30 yards that Taylor punched clear.
Reading’s second-half performance proved far better than their first and with 16 minutes remaining, United had to introduce Carrick in place of Young in an attempt to control possession through the middle of the park and no doubt attempt kill the game.
Carrick made a definite impact on the game and helped conjure a chance for Giggs, whose shot from a narrow angle on the right was stopped by Taylor. Just moments later, Rooney laced a shot over the bar and van Persie acrobatically fired over in injury time. United could not add to the tally, but three more crucial points were all that was required and the Reds attained them dutifully.