Reading 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • November 21, 2015 | By Chris Mann
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At the climax of a fortnight where off-the-field events dominated headlines, Bolton's return to action ended in a 2-1 defeat to Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

After dominating the early exchanges, only to be denied by a trio of outstanding saves from former player Ali Al Habsi, Wanderers fell behind in the 28th minute when Lucas Piazon prodded home following a mistake from Prince-Desir Gouano.

Danny Williams doubled the advantage six minutes later, firing home from the edge of the box, before Liam Feeney set up a tense finale after he drilled home from the penalty spot after Darren Pratley had been fouled inside the box.

The visitors pushed forward in the closing stages and were denied another penalty, as substitute Gary Madine went down under pressure, but it was Steve Clarke's side who took all three points on an afternoon where Bolton dropped to the bottom of the Championship table.

Neil Lennon made one change to the side that started against Bristol City a fortnight ago, with Neil Danns coming in at the expense of Stephen Dobbie, who missed out with a shin injury.

After a period of silence was observed as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in the attacks on Paris eight days prior, the game got underway and it was the hosts who created the first opportunity of the game.

Nick Blackman, with 11 goals to his name ahead of the match, found space 25 yards from goal, but brought Ben Amos into a routine early save.

The visitors were awarded a free-kick with five minutes played, as Paul McShane entered the referee's book for a poor challenge on Mark Davies. Jose Manuel Casado whipped the resulting set-piece into the Royals but, from which Shola Ameobi's header was superbly pushed away by former Wanderers goalkeeper Al Habsi.

McShane headed over from a Garath McCleary corner at the other end, moments before Al Habsi denied his former employers once again - this time standing tall to keep out Davies, who had been played in by Liam Feeney.

The Oman international made it a hat-trick of saves in quick succession on 16 minutes, with Pratley this time the player to be denied, in an attack which ended with Neil Danns firing the rebound into the side netting.

Oliver Norwood wasted a chance by firing into the stands midway through the half, when better options were available in wide positions, but Reading did have the ball in the net shortly before the half-hour, as Piazon pounced on a mistake from Gouano and poked the ball beyond a helpless Amos to break the deadlock.

Amos was called into action again shortly afterwards, this time keeping out a piledriver from Norwood, but he was picking the ball out of his net again 11 minutes before the break as Williams took full advantage of space afforded to him by picking out the top corner of Amos' goal from 25 yards to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Piazon headed inches wide, while McCleary was denied by a sliding challenge from Casado in the latter stages of the half, as Wanderers left the field with an uphill task ahead of them going into the second period.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second half, of which the first chance fell the way of the visitors - with Ameobi seeing a header crash back off the crossbar after he rose to meet a cross from Pratley.

David Wheater became the second player to receive a yellow card as the game reached the hour, following a late challenge on McCleary, as the game went through a lull with both teams sharing spells of possession in midfield.

Lennon made a double substitution with 65 minutes played, introducing Madine and Max Clayton in place of Ameobi and Jay Spearing, while Reading responded by bringing Jordan Obita on for goalscorer Piazon.

Once play resumed, Amos was the first goalkeeper to be brought into action as he tipped a volley from Blackman behind for a corner.

Williams was next to try his luck for the home side, with his 30-yard volley flying wide of the post, moments before Wanderers were handed a lifeline as Pratley was hauled down inside the penalty area and referee James Linington pointed to the spot.

With Madine and Ameobi already missing from 12 yards so far this season, Feeney took responsibility for the spot-kick. Al Habsi guessed correctly and got two hands to the resulting kick, but he was unable to keep the ball out and Bolton were back in the game at 2-1.

Casado saw a free-kick blocked with three minutes of normal time to play, before Madine was left fuming when he went to ground inside the box, only to see the referee award a corner.

Bolton failed to create anything inside five minutes of stoppage time, while Reading, who weren't much better on the day, were happy to settle for a victory that was claimed courtesy of two goals within six first-half minutes.

The Royals move up to 7th in the division as a result of their win, while Wanderers drop to the foot of the table with a record that reads just one win from 17 games so far this campaign.

Lennon's side return to action on Monday week, when they play host to Brentford at Macron Stadium in a televised evening fixture.

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Hector, McShane, A Taylor, Williams, Norwood, McCleary (Cooper 79), Blackman (Vydra 90+3), Piazon (Obita 68), Sa
Subs Not Used: Bond, Hurtado, John, Liburd
Booked: McShane
Goals: Piazon 28, Williams 34

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Vela, Gouano, Wheater, Casado, Spearing (Clayton 65), Danns, Pratley, Davies (Heskey 77), Ameobi (Madine 65), Feeney
Subs Not Used: Dervite, Rachubka, Wilson, Twardzik
Booked: Wheater
Goals: Feeney 80(pen)

Referee: James Linington
Attendance: 16,420

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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