Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Reading

  • November 21, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton wasted the opportunity to move out of the Championship's relegation zone, blowing a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Reading.

Wanderers led 2-0 at the interval, with Reece Burke's first goal for the club, closely followed by a header from Darren Pratley, giving Phil Parkinson's side a seemingly unassailable advantage.

But the home side switched off after the break and allowed the visitors to retain possession with ease - eventually pulling a goal back through Liam Moore on 76 minutes, before Leandro Bacuna salvaged a point from the penalty spot with seven minutes to go.

With Friday's goalless draw against Preston North End still fresh in the memory, Bolton started with just one change from that game at Deepdale - with Burke coming in for the suspended Mark Beevers.

It was the hosts who created the first chance of the game, with pressure on the Reading defence forcing a mistake that saw the ball land at the feet of an unmarked Gary Madine. His touch was heavy, however, and goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola pounced to make the save.

Next it was the turn of Ben Alnwick, as he raced off his line to dive at the feet of Roy Beerens, just when it looked as though he had latched on to a through-ball in behind the Wanderers defence.

Beerens was involved again moments later, with his turn of pace forcing a foul which saw Antonee Robinson enter the referee's notebook.

The Royals were forced into a change on 18 minutes, as Pelle Clement came on in place of an injured John Swift, and their evening got even worse within seconds of the ball returning to play.

A free-kick from Josh Vela was flicked on at the near post by Pratley, allowing Burke to steal in unmarked at the back to head across goal and into the net for his first in Bolton colours since joining on loan from West Ham United.

That advantage was doubled just four minutes later, with Vela once again the provider. His inswinging corner landed perfectly on the head of Pratley, whose effort proved too powerful for Jaakkola as the score was extended to 2-0.

Reading increased the pressure as they looked to find a route back into the game before the break, with Modou Barrow and Sone Aluko both coming close to pulling one back, but it was Wanderers who went in at the break with their two-goal lead intact.

There were no changes to either team as the players came out of their respective tunnels for the start of the second-half, which began with Aluko forcing an outstanding save out of Alnwick, as he got down low to his right to tip away a bending goalbound strike.

The battle between Alnwick and Aluko continued from the next attack, with the Bolton goalkeeper once again denying the Reading man with a near-post stop, while Burke put his body on the line to clear a cross-cum-shot from Barrow as the clock ticked towards the hour.

Despite finding themselves two-down, the Royals remained in control of the possession and it was only to be a matter of time before they got on the scoresheet.

They did exactly that on 76 minutes, as Barrow's low ball across the face of goal was bundled into the net by Moore to reduce the deficit to one.

Aluko tested Alnwick again moments later, as the visitors went in search of an unlikely equaliser, which did arrive with seven minutes to play.

After Barrow had been tripped inside the Bolton box by Sammy Ameobi, Bacuna took responsibility from the spot and made no mistake - sending Alnwick the wrong way as Reading pulled themselves back at 2-2.

Ameobi, looking to make amends for his earlier gaffe, looked to restore Wanderers' lead, firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box with 88 minutes on the clock, while both Pratley and substitute Craig Noone shot straight at Jaakkola as four minutes of stoppage time were signalled by the fourth official.

There was to be one last chance for the hosts and it fell at the feet of former Royals forward Adam Le Fondre, but his effort was straight into the body of the fortunate Jaakkola as he ensured his side left Macron Stadium with a point.

Bolton remain 23rd in the Championship after their latest draw. They return to action on Saturday, when they will come up against league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Robinson, Burke, Wheater, Little, Pratley, Henry, Vela (Le Fondre 88), Ameobi (Noone 88), Armstrong (Buckley 81), Madine
Subs Not Used: Howard, Cullen, Osede, Darby
Booked: Robinson, Madine
Goals: Burke 18, Pratley 23

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter, McShane, Moore, Blackett (Kelly 71), Edwards, Swift (Clement 18), Bacuna, Aluko, Beerens (Bodvarsson 66), Barrow
Subs Not Used: Legg, Ilori, Richards, Loader
Goals: Moore 76, Bacuna 83(pen)

Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 13,113

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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