Reading vs. Manchester United, 2012 Premier League: United lead 4-3 after crazy first half

Michael Regan

Manchester United have a 4-3 lead at half time after a crazy half of football at the Madejski Stadium.

Manchester United are in the lead at the Madejski Stadium having come from behind twice in a ridiculous half of football which finished 4-3. Reading took the lead after just eight minutes after Jonny Evans' headed clearance was picked up by Hal Robson-Kanu, who burst into the area and lashed a messy finish into the net via Evans' back.

United only had to wait a few minutes for their equaliser, and it came courtesy of some great play from Anderson, flicking a one-touch pass out to Ashley Young on the wing before collecting the return and smashing it past Adam Federici, the goalkeeper beaten at his near post by a shot that simply had too much power.

Shortly after, Reading had surrendered their lead in the space of three minutes. Jay Tabb lashed out with a crazy challenge in the penalty area, an easy decision for the referee, and Wayne Rooney duly stepped up to smash the spot-kick home.

Yet with Reading having just thrown away the lead, United would do the same. Terrible marking from two Nicky Shorey corners did for the Red Devils, boyhood United fan Adam Le Fondre heading in the first goal before remarkably, after Reading went close with another cross under a nervy Anders Lindegaard, Sean Morrison beat Jonny Evans to head in another to restore the Royals' advantage.

Yet again, they were to see their lead disappear. After Reading almost doubled their advantage by taking advantage of United looking even more vulnerable under crosses, Patrice Evra stormed to the byline before cutting back to leave the unmarked Wayne Rooney with a simple finish.

With just 30 minutes gone, Alex Ferguson had seen enough and decided to withdraw Rafael for Chris Smalling in a bid to sort out his defence. It was harsh on the Brazilian, with Jonny Evans far more culpable for the goals, but he was on a yellow card and looking at risk of a second - which would rule him out of the upcoming derby game against Manchester City.

Shortly afterwards, the game saw it's seventh goal within 34 minutes. A neat passing move from United, and some woeful positioning from Nicky Shorey, saw Robin Van Persie played in on goal, and the Dutchman made no mistake in lashing past the hapless Adam Federici.

It sounds remarkable to say, but there ought to have been even more goals - Chris Smalling later got on the end of an Ashley Young cross but directed his head straight at Federici before Van Persie smashed the ball into the net. Adrian Mariappa appeared to clear off the line, but replays showed the ball was a good foot over and it really should have been a goal.

A mini-goal drought brought the half to a close as the teams went in with the score at 4-3 - the joint record for the most goals scored in one half of a Premier League game. Reading also appear to have some form for ludicrously high-scoring games, so it will be interesting to see how this one ends. Stay tuned for the full-time report.

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