Bolton 2-2 Reading: Royals battle back for draw
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/11/17 11:04pm
Reading battled back with two goals inside the last 15 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at Bolton.
First-half headed goals from Reece Burke and Darren Pratley put Phil Parkinson's side 2-0 up as they chased just a third Championship win of the season. But Reading eventually turned overwhelming possession into goals as Liam Moore pulled one back before Leandro Bacuna scored from the spot with seven minutes left. The draw extends Bolton's unbeaten run to seven games but they remain in the relegation zone.
Wanderers had not beaten Reading in a league game since 2008. But their two quick first-half strikes suggested that statistic was finally going to be consigned to history.
The visitors almost played themselves into trouble in the first couple of minutes as, under pressure from Tyler Blackett's short back-pass, Anssi Jaakkola scuffed his attempted clearance straight to Gary Madine but the Royals goalkeeper recovered well. At the other end, John Swift was fractionally short of steering a Modou Barrow cross into the goal after 13 minutes.
Moments later, Swift limped off to be replaced by Pelle Clement and the switch appeared to unsettle the visitors, who went behind to a routine set-piece move. Josh Vela whipped a free-kick across the penalty box and defender Burke headed in at the back post.
Reading were further incensed by a challenge by Pratley on Bacuna. Referee Andrew Madley took no action against the Trotters captain, who made a decisive contribution moments later. Vela again produced a telling delivery, this time from a corner, and Pratley was unmarked from 10 yards to head past Jaakkolo.
Reading quickly set about trying to find a way back into the game. Sone Aluko's trickery took him away from Mark Little but his right-footed shot was a weak one. The visitors took control after the break and Aluko was denied by a flying save from Ben Alnwick, and the Wanderers keeper produced another save to deny Aluko at his near post shortly after.
But Reading found a way through in the 76th minute. Moore nipped ahead of team-mate Jon Dadi Bodvarsson to turn in Modou Barrow's low cross. And the Royals were level seven minutes later as Sammy Ameobi tripped Barrow and Bacuna converted the penalty.
There was still time for some more action as Bolton almost surged back ahead in stoppage time. Royals keeper Jaakkola had not looked the most convincing with ball at his feet but he produced two outstanding saves in the four extra minutes to deny Pratley and substitute Adam Le Fondre.
Phil Parkinson: "I thought we were excellent in the first half and large periods of the second. They were always going to have possession but even though they had that possession I felt comfortable. Ben Alnwick made a good save (at the start of the second half) but apart from that I thought the lads were doing really well. We were disciplined in our play and we were coping well.
"Unfortunately, their first goal gave them a huge lift in energy and they went on to get the second. Giving the penalty away was that moment of lack of concentration which cost us. But having said that we could have nicked it at the end. So, it is hugely disappointing we weren't able to see the game through. However, the team is vastly improved from where we were at the start of the season."
Jaap Stam: "We need to defend those set pieces better. We knew Bolton had that quality. They succeeded and we needed to get back in the game. We created opportunities. Even in the first half, we should have scored but we couldn't hit the target.
"At half time we spoke about what we needed to do and we succeeded. We wanted to go for the third one as well but we needed to be a bit more patient."