Manchester United beat Reading in a seven goal thriller at the Madjeski Stadium to move three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men made the trip to Berkshire expecting a routine victory against the relegation threatened Royal’s as they aimed to stretch their lead over local rivals City.

But, in a first half that saw seven goals scored and one disallowed in a manic 34 minute period, United were put through their paces by Brian McDermott’s spirited side, who deserve recognition for their efforts on another memorable night at the Madjeski.

It took just eight minutes for the first goal to arrive as Hal Robson-Kanu put the hosts in front, taking advantage of Jonny Evans’s poor clearing header to control and lash the ball past Anders Lindegaard from close range.

But within seven minutes they were behind as Anderson exchanged passes with Ashley Young before firing past Adam Federici at the near post just before the quarter hour. Jay Tabb then hauled Evans down in the penalty area allowing Wayne Rooney to calmly convert the first of his two goals from the spot and give the visitors a 2-1 lead after just 16 minutes.

Still, United have looked frail defensively this season and were behind once again as they conceded two identical goals from set pieces. Firstly, a corner from Nicky Shorey was headed in by Adam Le Fondre in the 19th minute and the left back repeated the trick four minutes later, delivering for Sean Morrison nod home.

The visitors weren’t done though and were level again when Rooney was positioned well to side-foot Patrice Evra’s cross into the net to make it 3-3. And the scoring was complete in the 34th minute as Robin Van Persie finished with precision after latching onto a flick from his strike partner.

It could have been five had the had the officials seen Van Persie’s effort cross the line before being hacked away by Shaun Cummings before firing the best chance of the second half over the bar after a mistake from Federici.

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