Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Reading

  • August 10, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Darren Pratley was on the scoresheet for the second week in succession, as Bolton were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading.

Wanderers opened the scoring through Pratley with 14 minutes on the clock, as the former Swansea City midfielder rose at the far post to head a Marc Tierney cross beyond Alex McCarthy from close range.

Reading earned a richly deserved point after the break, though, as David Wheater handled inside the penalty area and former Blackburn Rovers forward Nick Blackman slotted home from the spot.

Bolton were thankful to goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, who kept his side in the game with a series of stunning saves in the final 20 minutes, as the two sides were made to settle for a point apiece.

After resting several key players in Tuesday's Capital One Cup victory at Shrewsbury Town, Dougie Freedman reverted back to a similar side to the one that started at Burnley last weekend. Keith Andrews and Chris Eagles were the ones to drop out, with Jay Spearing and David Ngog taking their places.

Wanderers started the game brightly, with a surging run from Ngog being halted by former Bolton midfielder Danny Guthrie as early as the third minute. Guthrie was booked by match referee Carl Boyeson, but the resulting free-kick failed to materialise into anything of note.

Both sides were enjoying spells of possession, but the first goal arrived with the first effort of the game. Lee Chung-Yong worked hard to win a throw-in on the left flank. With the ball back in play, he laid it to Tierney whose cross was headed beyond McCarthy by an onrushing Pratley.

With confidence in himself, Pratley tried for goal again moments later but this time fired his 30 yard strike over the bar. Ngog was next to try his luck, bringing an end to a smart run by forcing McCarthy into a low stop.

Ngog saw another strike deflected behind at the midway point of the half, before Royston Drenthe had Reading's first shot of the game just before the half-hour - which sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Drenthe was involved again shortly afterwards, as he got away from Alex Baptiste down the left-hand side. He worked his way into the Bolton box and cut the ball back for Guthrie, who put his shot into the stands from eight yards.

Chung-Yong was off-target with a shot inside the final five minutes of the half, while Medo Kamara saw a 30 yard strike cannon back off the inside of the post with McCarthy well beaten. Ngog sent a tame effort into the hands of the Reading goalkeeper in stoppage-time, as Wanderers took their one-goal lead into the break.

There were no changes at the start of the second half, but the visitors came out looking a different side and immediate went in search of an equalising goal. Garath McCleary was denied a clear strike on goal by Zat Knight within two minutes of the restart, before the Royals were awarded a penalty just three minutes later.

Wheater was adjudged to have handled a deep corner inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot, with his assistant immediately flagging for the award. Blackman stepped up to take the resulting penalty and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner, sending Bogdan the wrong way.

Reading could smell blood and soon went in search of a lead, with Bogdan at full stretch to push McCleary's 35 yard shot behind. The Wanderers goalkeeper was at his best once again from the resulting corner, doing superbly well to block Alex Pearce's close-range header.

Chung-Yong had a curling shot parried away by McCarthy at the other end, before Wanderers saw penalty appeals of their own turned down as Spearing's corner appeared to hit a hand inside the Reading box.

Spearing shot inches wide from just outside the area as the game passed the hour mark, before more penalty appeals were rejected by the referee as a header from Baptiste struck the body of a defender from another corner.

With boos ringing around the Reebok Stadium, Reading immediately hit Bolton on the counter-attack and substitute Adam Le Fondre looked certain to put the visitors ahead, only to be denied by a world class one-handed save by Bogdan.

Moments after coming on as a substitute for Chung-Yong, Andre Moritz saw a long range strike fly straight into the arms of the waiting McCarthy.

Then, for the fourth time in the game, there were strong appeals for yet another penalty. This time the incident occurred in the Bolton box but Drenthe was booked for a dive, after going down under a clumsy challenge from Baptiste.

The appeals were far from over as, with five minutes to go, Jobi McAnuff appeared to go down under yet another challenge from Baptiste. The Reading fans waited for the referee to point to the spot, but play continued and Wanderers managed to scramble the ball away to safety - ensuring the game ended all square.

Jeers echoed around the stadium at the final whistle, as the home supporters expressed their displeasure at the referee's performance. The end result, however, was one that both sides could have little to argue about as they both remain unbeaten in this season's Championship.

Bolton return to action next Saturday, when they face another unbeaten side, Nottingham Forest, at the City Ground.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Knight, Wheater, Tierney, Pratley, Spearing, Kamara, Chung-Yong (Odelusi 90), Ngog (Moritz 71), Beckford (C Davies 79)
Subs Not Used: Mears, Ream, Hall, Lonergan
Booked: Pratley, Wheater
Goals: Pratley 14

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Morrison, Pearce, Bridge, McCleary (Robson-Kanu 82), Guthrie (Williams 86), Drenthe, Karacan, McAnuff, Blackman (Le Fondre 68)
Subs Not Used: Federici, Kelly, Pogrebnyak, Gorkss
Booked: Guthrie, Drenthe
Goals: Blackman 51(pen)

Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 15,551

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
2 Peterborough United 4 9
3 Portsmouth 4 8
4 Bolton Wanderers 4 8
5 Exeter City 4 7
6 Charlton Athletic 4 7
View Full Standings >>


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