Nani and Javier Hernandez did the damage for United who had to defend dourly in the dying stages to see off a determined Royals outfit who responded through Jobi McAnuff.
Portuguese winger Nani, who had earlier hit the upright and tested Reading keeper Adam Federici, opened the scoring in the 69th minute when he took a neat first touch with his left foot from Antonio Valencia’s slotted ball from the right before firing home with the full face of his preferred right boot.
The lead was doubled three minutes later when Hernandez made a clever run to the front post to nod home Nani’s rightwing cross before McAnuff gave the Royals some hope when he made the most of some sloppy United defending to neatly slot the ball past David de Gea in the 81st minute.
Brian McDermott’s men came hard at Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges in the final ten or so minutes but were unable to breach the defence as the Red Devils move into the final eight where they await the winner of the Middlesbrough v Chelsea clash which occurs next Wednesday.
2012/13 FA Cup – fifth round