Reading take the spoils after 4-2 victory at Elland Road...
UNITED 2 (Smith 63, Austin 64), READING 4 (McCleary 25, Drenthe 46, Blackman 48, Robson-Kanu 54).
United: Butland, Lees, Zaliukas (Smith 60), Pearce, Byram, Pugh, Murphy, Mowatt, Austin, McCormack, Wickham. Subs. Cairns, Wootton, Brown, Stewart, Poleon, Hunt.
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Akpan, Drenthe (Hector 78), McAnuff, McCleary (Blackman 40), Robson-Kanu (Cummings 85), Gutherie, Obita. Subs. Federici, Taylor, Tshibola, Le Fondre.
Referee: O Langford.
Booked: Mowatt (Leeds).
United boss Brian McDermott named five changes in total to his side for Tuesday evening's match against Reading. Jason Pearce was restored to the starting line-up after missing the Bolton defeat the previous Saturday and there were also starts for Sam Byram, Danny Pugh, Marius Zaliukas and Alex Mowatt.
Prior to kick off the game had to be delayed for 30 minutes due to severe delays on the M62 preventing players, officials and fans arriving on time.
The late kick off hadn't seemed to have effected the two teams as both sides played with a high tempo during the opening stages. The first shot on target of the evening belonged to United when Connor Wickham provided some strong forward play to create the space to strike at goal, the shot was held well by Alex McCarthy.
As the half made its way to the midway point there was nothing between the two sides. But in the 25th minute the deadlock was broken. Following a backpass from Zaliukas there was indecision between Pearce and Jack Butland and that allowed Garath McCleary to steal the ball and place it in an empty net.
10 minutes later the away side had a great chance to double their lead when they hit United on the break. McCleary was unleashed down the wing by Jobi McAnuff and the winger picked out Hal Robson-Kanu with a cross-field pass. The forward controlled and struck for goal in one movement only for Butland to make a fantastic save. The resulting corner brought another chance but Alex Pearce could only head wide when found at the back post.
United carved out a half chance just before the interval when Byram crossed after good work from Wickham. Mowatt rose well in the box to connect with Byram's cross but his looping header didn't trouble McCarthy.
With the second half less than a minute old the away side were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of United's box. Former Real Madrid man Royston Drenthe stepped up for the free-kick and his stunning effort beat Butland to put his side two goals ahead.
Just two minutes later Reading were further in front when first half substitute Nick Blackman broke free to head home a Danny Gutherie free-kick.
In the 54th minute things continued to get worse for United when the away side scored the fourth goal of the night. Robson-Kanu managed to get on the end of a hopeful ball forward by outpacing the United defence. He then found himself with just the United keeper to beat and he smashed the ball into the back of the net.
On the hour United mounted a chance following good play from Ross McCormack. The United striker teed up Pearce who crossed and Rudy Austin rose highest in the box but his header was striaght at McCarthy.
United continued to push forward and were rewarded when substitute Matt Smith slotted home a Pearce header on 63 minutes. And just seconds later United had their second when Austin scored a 25-yard screamer to cut Reading's advantage in half. The noise levels rose inside Elland Road following Austin's strike as they were offered hope of a comeback.
The two goals in a minute really gave United confidence as the away side looked to be struggling after having their own confidence knocked. United began to enjoy more of the ball as they pushed forward in search of a third.
With United pushing as a group there was always the danger of being hit on the counter-attack. As the game went into the final 10 minutes Chris Gunter broke down the left and set-up Blackman, whose first time shot went just wide.
The danger signs didn't stop United attacking and McCormack came close to grabbing a third. Mowatt crossed from wide on the left and with the ball just too high for Smith, his fellow striker McCormack was caught unaware and his effort went just wide of the mark.
As the game went into four minutes of added time United looked the more likely but couldn't get that third goal that would have set-up the grandstand finish.