United's youngsters maintained an unbeaten start to the Barclays Under-18 Premier League Elite Group with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Reading.
Paul McGuinness' side ensured the first competitive home fixture of 2013 was a winning one thanks to an early strike which ultimately proved decisive.
Andreas Pereira grabbed the all-important goal, finishing with cool precision after being picked out by James Weir inside the area, as he continues to impress in a more advanced role. Although the Reds were good value for a first-half lead, Italian keeper Pierluigi Gollini was called upon to make a couple of smart saves to preserve the lead.
Paddy McNair should really have doubled the advantage before the break when failing to find the net with a header from a promising position but Jack Rudge had to make one clearance off the line as the Royals fully contributed to a keenly-contested encounter.
Gollini continued to look unbeatable in the Reds goal in the second half, illustrating his agility and shot-stopping ability to keep the visitors at bay. McGuinness introduced Kenji Gorre, who has been training with Celtic, in a bid to add a little more width to his team and Ben Pearson, fresh from a Reserves run-out in midweek, helped keep a grip on the centre of midfield.
Donald Love was booked in stoppage time as the Reds were forced to hold out as the clash became a real tussle with the hosts forced to attempt to play on the break towards the end.
United: Gollini; Love, Grimshaw, McNair, Evans; Weir, Pearson, Rudge, Barmby, Harrop (Gorre 74); Pereira; Barmby. Subs not used: Sutherland. Barber, Ioannou, Fletcher.