skip to content
Sean Morrison sends in a cross, clearance made by Chris Smalling.
The ball is crossed by Nick Blackman, clearance by Wayne Rooney.
Robin van Persie produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Mikele Leigertwood on Ryan Giggs. Michael Carrick takes the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck by Adrian Mariappa results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ryan Giggs.
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
Outswinging corner taken by Nicky Shorey, Headed effort from inside the penalty area by Sean Morrison misses to the right of the target.
Sean Morrison replaces Stephen Kelly.
Effort from the edge of the box by Jobi McAnuff goes wide of the left-hand post.
Shinji Kagawa is brought on as a substitute for Oliveira Anderson.
Effort on goal by Wayne Rooney from just inside the area clears the bar.
Ryan Giggs takes a short corner.
Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Stuart Taylor makes a save.
Corner taken short by Ryan Giggs.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nick Blackman on Rio Ferdinand. Free kick taken by David De Gea.
Nicky Shorey delivers the ball.
Effort on goal by Wayne Rooney from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
Oliveira Anderson sends in a cross, save by Stuart Taylor.
Nick Blackman concedes a free kick for a foul on Nemanja Vidic. Michael Carrick takes the direct free kick.
Chris Smalling crosses the ball.
Unfair challenge on Michael Carrick by Mikele Leigertwood results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.
Ashley Young leaves the field to be replaced by Michael Carrick.
Jobi McAnuff challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nick Blackman on for Noel Hunt. Adam Le Fondre is brought on as a substitute for Hal Robson-Kanu. David De Gea takes the free kick.
Foul by Oliveira Anderson on Jobi McAnuff, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Nicky Shorey, Wayne Rooney makes a clearance.
Corner from the right by-line taken by Robin van Persie, clearance made by Jem Karacan.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alexander Buttner by Hal Robson-Kanu. David De Gea takes the direct free kick.
Wayne Rooney fouled by Jem Karacan, the ref awards a free kick. Robin van Persie has an effort direct from the free kick, brilliant save by Stuart Taylor.
Ashley Young takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.
Robin van Persie takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Alex Pearce.
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Blocked by Nicky Shorey.
Robin van Persie produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the target.
Corner taken by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line, clearance made by Nicky Shorey.
Alexander Buttner takes a shot. Blocked by Jem Karacan.
Stephen Kelly concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Young. Stephen Kelly receives a caution for unsporting behaviour. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ashley Young from left channel, Stephen Kelly makes a clearance.
Garath McCleary produces a cross, Nemanja Vidic manages to make a clearance.
Handball decision goes against Ashley Young. Stuart Taylor restarts play with the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Robin van Persie by Jobi McAnuff results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
Jobi McAnuff takes a corner.
Alexander Buttner challenges Hal Robson-Kanu unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nicky Shorey delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance by Wayne Rooney.
Hal Robson-Kanu crosses the ball.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Nicky Shorey from the right by-line, Nemanja Vidic makes a clearance.
Inswinging corner taken by Nicky Shorey from the right by-line, Nemanja Vidic manages to make a clearance. Adrian Mariappa takes a shot. Wayne Rooney gets a block in.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu by Wayne Rooney. Free kick taken by Stuart Taylor.
Chris Smalling fouled by Noel Hunt, the ref awards a free kick. Noel Hunt goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour. Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
Jobi McAnuff produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Garath McCleary. Mikele Leigertwood takes the direct free kick.
The ball is swung over by Hal Robson-Kanu.
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Blocked by Alex Pearce.
Hal Robson-Kanu produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
Noel Hunt challenges Oliveira Anderson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save made by Stuart Taylor.
Ryan Giggs crosses the ball, save by Stuart Taylor.
The ball is crossed by Mikele Leigertwood, clearance by Alexander Buttner.
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Stuart Taylor.
Danny Welbeck produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.
A goal is scored by Wayne Rooney from just outside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 1-0 Reading.Rio Ferdinand provided the assist for the goal.
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Blocked by Alex Pearce.
Shot from just outside the box by Danny Welbeck goes over the bar.
Wayne Rooney sends in a cross, clearance by Alex Pearce.
Garath McCleary crosses the ball, Alexander Buttner makes a clearance.
Effort on goal by Ashley Young from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
Mikele Leigertwood challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Wayne Rooney, clearance made by Noel Hunt.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jem Karacan by Robin van Persie. Free kick taken by Mikele Leigertwood.
The ball is crossed by Garath McCleary, Rio Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.
Mikele Leigertwood concedes a free kick for a foul on Danny Welbeck. Ryan Giggs restarts play with the free kick.
Ashley Young crosses the ball.
Noel Hunt concedes a free kick for a foul on Oliveira Anderson. Free kick taken by Chris Smalling.
Double trouble for Red Devils
Nani and Phil Jones both miss out on Manchester United's Barclays Premier League encounter with Reading at Old Trafford.
Winger Nani injured his hamstring against Chelsea last weekend, while the versatile Jones has been out since hurting his ankle in the FA Cup clash with the Royals four weeks ago.
Midfielder Paul Scholes (knee) is also out as United look to maintain their 12-point lead over Manchester City.
Boss Sir Alex Fergsuon admitted his surprise at Rio Ferdinand's call-up to the England squad.
"I was as surprised as anyone when I heard," he said.
"I need to speak to our doctor because we prepare Rio in certain ways and he has certain treatments he has to go through.
"The procedures have been the same all season which has given him fantastic performance levels when he's playing for us."
Whilst it is not unknown for Ferdinand to play successive games - only last week he faced Chelsea in the FA Cup immediately after that Champions League defeat by Real Madrid - there has been an element of managing the number of matches he is involved in.
And, as ever, Ferguson's overwhelming priority is United.
"He has to make sure he's going to be okay in terms of the number of games he plays," said the Red Devils chief.
"We've been doing that for two years and it has worked.
"We have to consider that and Rio is considering that.
"We've detailed his training programmes and given him the treatments he needs for the various complaints he has in terms of his back and groin. So far it's worked very well.
"We have to look at all these things before Rio decides and we see what the outcome is."
Reading will again be without Adam Federici and Jimmy Kebe.
Goalkeeper Federici is still sidelined by an ankle problem, meaning third-choice Stuart Taylor will again deputise following last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
That defeat prompted Brian McDermott's dismissal as manager, with the club four points from safety, and caretaker boss Eamonn Dolan will also be without winger Kebe (groin). Pavel Pogrebnyak serves the last part of his three-game ban while fellow striker Jason Roberts (hip) is likely to miss the rest of the season.
The trip to Old Trafford will be Dolan's first return to the touchline after almost a decade.
The 45-year-old spent just over a season at Exeter before moving to Reading - where he has been the academy director for eight years - and admits it will be a far cry from those days when he rubs shoulders with Ferguson.
"It will be exciting of course, he is the greatest football manager of all time," he said.
"It's the best club in the world - the way they do everything. I have great respect for everybody, but on Saturday I wont be thinking about Sir Alex. They will just be names.
"I'll be doing my best for Reading trying to get that result. I'm experienced enough to know that if we are going to have that ruthless streak we need to focus on the job."
If the omens are not good for Reading staying up Dolan can at least call on one statistic to provide hope ahead of the game.
"I have an unbeaten record as a caretaker manager," he said.
"I did it at Exeter for a game. I think we beat York."
Man Utd 1-0 Reading: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Rooney fires United closer to title
Wayne Rooney's 16th goal of the season was enough to propel Manchester United 15 points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League in a 1-0 win over managerless Reading.
Rooney's deflected first-half effort saw off a dogged Reading outfit, who worked hard but lacked the class to fashion an equaliser.
The Royals now look certainties for relegation, sliding seven points adrift of safety with one game fewer than United to save themselves, their decision to axe Brian McDermott akin to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.
Thirteen points will do it for Sir Alex Ferguson's men to clinch a record 20th championship - and given one of their remaining games is against nearest challengers Manchester City, they might not even need that.
Yet taking maximum advantage of City's defeat at 10-man Everton earlier in the day was not the biggest talking point.
For that revolved around Rio Ferdinand, who rolled back the years to turn in another marvellous performance, which included claiming the assist for Rooney's winner.
The will he-won't he debate over Ferdinand's international return may not be answered for certain until Monday night, when Hodgson's squad are due to report at St George's Park.
However, there can be no doubt why Hodgson has been willing to go back on all those previous indications that he had "moved on" from the 34-year-old.
Quite apart from the vast experience that would make Ferdinand such an unflappable presence in that vital World Cup qualifier in Montenegro on March 26, the former West Ham man also possesses an assurity in possession that few Premier League defenders of any nationality, let alone English, can match.
He created United's first chance for a start with an elegant crossfield pass to Ashley Young, which the winger controlled on the edge of the area before drilling a cross-shot just beyond Robin van Persie, and more importantly, the far post.
Ferdinand's next incursion was the crucial one.
Nipping in to intercept Garath McCleary's poor pass, Ferdinand advanced into the open space and nipped round a static Mikele Leigertwood before feeding Rooney just to his left.
The striker took aim and once his shot flicked off Alex Pearce, former Manchester City goalkeeper Stuart Taylor had no chance of keeping it out.
Ferdinand's part was acknowledged by the Stretford End though, along with a non-too-subtle hint that he should reject the chance to extend his 81-cap international career.
Either side of Rooney's goal, Danny Welbeck went close on a couple of occasions and Robin van Persie tried his luck from 20 yards.
These are not the most productive of times for the Dutchman though, who has now scored once in his last 10 games.
After being thrust into the spotlight following McDermott's controversial dismissal earlier in the week, Eamonn Dolan became the 15th manager, including caretakers, to face the Red Devils in their first Premier League game in charge.
Most have lost. And whilst Dolan was not quite accepting of his fate, he seemed to have settled on a policy of damage limitation despite Reading's position becoming even more perilous due to earlier triumphs for Southampton and Aston Villa.
Only once did the visitors truly threaten before the break, when Hal Robson-Kanu let fly with a shot David de Gea would not have reached if it had been on target.
They should have had a chance to equalise immediately after it though when Nemanja Vidic shoved Adrian Mariappa over inside the box. Reading appealed for what TV replays showed to be a clear foul but referee Lee Mason was unmoved.
United failed to profit from their good fortune, with Welbeck and Young going close either side of a wild effort from Van Persie that flew out from a throw-in.
Van Persie's loss of form seems to have crept up unnoticed. His free-scoring ways earlier in the season are a mere memory now, with Taylor repelling a well-struck free-kick to keep the former Arsenal man out.
Whilst Rooney did fire over from long-range, the hosts gave Reading enough hope to believe an equaliser was possible.
It did not come though. And as certain as it appears United will end the season champions, Reading looked destined the finish it in the Championship.
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
© 2004 - 2014 football.co.uk