Reading 7-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 18, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton suffered their heaviest defeat in 32 years as they were beaten 7-1 at Reading on Saturday afternoon.

Not since a dismal May afternoon in 1982 have Wanderers suffered a defeat as heavy as this, when they were beaten by the same scoreline by Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. Only once in their entire history have they conceded more than seven in one game, in what was a club record 9-1 loss at Preston North End in December 1887.

Wanderers started well but fell behind in the 12th minute when Adam Le Fondre's shot got the better of Andy Lonergan. Fe Fondre doubled the advantage just before the half-hour, before completing his hat-trick with just 33 minutes played. A penalty from Pavel Pogrebnyak, four minutes before the break, saw the Royals take a 4-0 lead into the interval.

Unfortunately, the second-half was much of the same. Kaspars Gorkss added a fifth on the hour, before further goals from Hope Akpan (74) and Nick Blackman (78) put Wanderers one goal away from matching their heaviest ever defeat. Thankfully, they managed to avoid that humiliation as David Ngog prodded home a Sanmi Odelusi shot with two minutes to go - as the game ended 7-1.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made one change to the side that drew at home with Nottingham Forest last weekend, with Darren Pratley coming in for the injured Jermaine Beckford.

The visitors started the game the better of the two sides, with Ngog shooting across the face of goal inside the opening five minutes.

The Frenchman was almost in again moments later, as he latched on to a pass from Jay Spearing, with Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy pushing the ball behind.

Reading's first chance arrived with 10 minutes on the clock, with Le Fondre shooting wide after turning on the ball from a Chris Gunter pass.

That should have served as a warning sign to Bolton as, 60 seconds later, the hosts were ahead. Garath McCleary stepped away from Matt Mills and Zat Knight and the ball fell kindly to Le Fondre, who smashed the ball past Lonergan.

Bolton should have been level on the quarter-hour, but McCarthy made a good sprawling save after Ngog had been played clean through on goal. The former Liverpool forward should have scored from that position, but at least forced the goalkeeper into a good save.

The hosts came close to doubling their lead moments later, but a backtracking Knight did superbly well to head the ball away from under his crossbar after a corner had seemingly got the better of Lonergan.

Then, just before the half-hour, Reading doubled their lead as they made the most of generous defending from Wanderers. A long ball upfield resulted in Pogrebnyak flicking the ball on to Le Fondre. His first touch was heavy, but he beat an onrushing Lonergan to the ball and dinked the ball into the back of the net.

Five minutes later, two became three. This time, a mistake from Ream put McCleary clean through on goal. He had support from Le Fondre and after hoaxing Lonergan out of his goal, he squared the ball to allow his teammate to complete a 33-minute hat-trick.

Wanderers were absolutely stunned at this stage. Despite a positive start, they found themselves 3-0 down in little over half-an-hour. A scuffed shot from Neil Danns was as close as they came as the half entered the final 10 minutes, before things got even worse for Freedman and his team.

Five minutes before the break, a Jordan Obita cross struck Alex Baptiste on the arm and referee Andy Davies had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. With a hat-trick already in the bag, Le Fondre stepped aside to let Pogrebnyak take the penalty. He went low to Lonergan's left and although the goalkeeper guessed right, the ball squirmed into the bottom corner to make it 4-0.

A looping shot from Pratley went harmlessly wide of the target in stoppage time, as the sides went in at the break with the game already over as a contest.

Despite their poor showing, Wanderers emerged for the second-half unchanged. Just as they did in the opening 45 minutes, the visitors created the first chance. Pratley's cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Lee Chung-Yong and Mark Davies was inches away from turning the ball home.

Reading should have made if five six minutes after the restart, as Obita's cross was knocked down by Pogrebnyak. The ball fell kindly to Le Fondre, who somehow failed to hit the target from six yards.

Daniel Williams scuffed a shot across the face of goal on 58 minutes, but Reading did put the ball in the net again on the hour as an unmarked Gorkss slotted home from close range after yet more poor defending from the Trotters.

Frustration was clearly showing on the faces of the players, with Pratley and Mark Davies both going into the referee's book - before both were replaced by Medo Kamara and Odelusi, respectively.

Ngog and Danns both failed to test McCarthy as Wanderers made rare moves forward inside the final 20 minutes, but they were hit on the break with 15 minutes to go as Akpan fired the ball into the roof of Lonergan's net to make it six.

That soon became seven, as shocking defending allowed Blackman a clear sight of goal. His shot from the edge of the box was on target, but took a wicked deflection that took it up and over a stranded Lonergan.

A long-range strike from Kamara was the best Bolton managed as the 80th minute passed by, before they ended the game with a consolation they barely deserved when Odelusi's shot deflected in off Ngog with two minutes to go.

Lonergan made his first save of the afternoon to push away a shot from Williams in stoppage time, but it was a day he and everybody connected to Bolton Wanderers will want to forget in a hurry as they were beaten 7-1 by Nigel Adkins' side.

Wanderers return to action next weekend, when they play host to Premier League side Cardiff City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss (Hector 80), Obita, McCleary (Blackman 66), Williams, Akpan, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre (Taylor 76)
Subs Not Used: Federici, Kelly, Drenthe, Cummings
Goals: Le Fondre 12,28,33, Pogrebnyak 41(pen), Gorkss 60, Akpan 74, Blackman 77

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Baptiste, Mills, Knight, Ream, Spearing, M Davies (Odelusi 67), Danns, Pratley (Kamara 62), Chung-Yong, Ngog
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Eagles, Hall, C Davies, White
Booked: Pratley, M Davies, Chung-Yong
Goals: Ngog 88

Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 18,629

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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