A game of two halves at the Reebok
Saturday 10th August 2013
A draw separated a game of two halves at the Reebok Stadium, as promotion favourites Bolton and Reading drew 1-1.
Reading boss Nigel Adkins made some surprise changes to the line-up that beat Ipswich 2-1 last week, as Nick Blackman and Jobi McAnuff replaced Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu respectively. It was a fairly open start in the game, with Reading getting an early stranglehold on possession, while the home side looked a notable threat on the break with N`Gog and Beckford.
It was Bolton`s first home fixture of the season and they gave their fans what they wanted to see, opening the scoring in the 14th minute. New signing Marc Tierney`s dangerous cross to the back post was nodded home by Darren Pratley, scoring his second goal in as many games, wrong-footing keeper Alex McCarthy, who couldn`t prevent the opener.
The away side looked shell shocked and struggled to recover, with Dougie Freedman`s side looking for a second. McCarthy had to concentrate to beat away N`Gog`s close-range effort, before Adkins` side had a rare attack, but Drenthe could not profit from some good build up play from the Royals. Reading were starting to come back into the contest and find their feet.
Just before the half ended, Wanderers almost doubled their lead with a superb 35-yard effort from Medo, but his sublime striker slammed against Alex McCarthy`s post. It was a similar situation to last week, where we struggled to get going in the first period, but the second half showing was much more improved from Adkins` side.
Reading pushed the home side in the opening exchanges of the second half and got a just reward five minutes in, as they were awarded a penalty - Bolton defender David Wheater was adjudged to have handled from Jobi McAnuff`s corner. Forward Nick Blackman stepped up for the spot-kick and opened his account, by sending Adam Bogdan the wrong way.
The tide had turned at the Reebok Stadium, as the hosts were gifting Reading possession of the ball, much to the home fans` despair. Royals winger Garath McCleary almost completed the comeback just minutes later, as his long-range strike created a problem for Bogdan, who managed to parry his effort out for a corner kick.
South Korean international Lee had a long-range effort of his own and required a similarly impressive save from McCarthy, to tip it round the post. Reading have the best chance to win the game in the closing stages, as McCleary`s ball into Drenthe on the left, gave a chance for Le Fondre to tap in from six yards out, but the substitute couldn`t beat Adam Bogdan.
Bolton had two penalty shouts of their own, but were turned down by the referee, despite one appearing a fair claim. The impressive Drenthe then wanted a penalty kick, after a trip from Baptiste, but referee Carl Boyeson opted to book the winger instead for diving. It`s fair to say that the referee didn`t impress either sets of fans at the Reebok.
The Royals continued to press for the winner and Bogdan was again to save his side, this time from Morrison`s towering header, which appeared to be heading for the net. The game finished level and most would argue deservedly so, with the fixture being a game of two halves. We showed great character in the second half - it was the best I have seen us play in a long time.
Bolton will be one of the sides near the top this season, so to take a point away from home and a decent performance on top of that, we can be very pleased. We now face a very tough match against Watford at the Madejski Stadium next week, which is bound to be a good encounter. Player match ratings will follow tomorrow morning.
Bolton - 4-3-3: Bogdan, Baptiste, Tierney, Knight (c), Wheater, Kamara, Spearing, Lee, Pratley, Beckford, N`Gog
Subs: Lonergan, Ream, Mears, Hall, Moritz, Odelusi, C.Davies
Reading- 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Bridge, Morrison, Pearce, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff (c), McCleary, Drenthe, Blackman
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Gorkss, Williams, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak