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Match Report: Bolton 1 v 1 Reading

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Nick Blackman cancelled out Bolton’s lead after Darren Pratley headed home in the first half. Not to use the old cliché but it was a game of two halves with Bolton dominating the first and Reading dominating the second. Both teams will settle for a point although on another day it could have gone either way. One of the main talking points from the game was the referee’s performance. His inconsistency didn’t help in what was a very frustrating afternoon at the Reebok Stadium.

New signing Jay Spearing in action on Saturday.
New signing Jay Spearing in action on Saturday.
Chris Brunskill

The afternoon started with both clubs paying their respects to former Whites’ legend Malcolm Barrass. After that the game got off to a quick start. Bolton soaked up some early pressure and then the Wanderers had the first chance of the game. David N’Gog received the ball and went on an inspired run beating 3 men until being cynically brought down by former Whites’ loanee Danny Guthrie. This lively start continued and after a quick corner caught the Royals’ defence out, new signing Marc Tierney swung in a delightful ball to the back post. Darren Pratley timed his run perfectly and headed home past Alex McCarthey on 13 minutes.

Reading responded to this early set back well and stepped up their game. When he wasn’t rolling around on the floor, Royston Drenthe was looking lively. The former Real Madrid winger combined speed and skill to wriggle past Alex Baptiste and threaten Adam Bogdan’s goal numerous times.

Just before the break Medo Kamara nearly produced a moment of magic. The Sierra Leone international picked up the ball 30 yards out and hit a stunning drive towards McCarthy’s goal. The Reading keeper was grateful to see the ball cannon off the inside of his post. This topped off what had been an impressive first half with the Whites creating several chances.

Unfortunately, Bolton came out and started the second half in a sluggish manner. Five minutes after the restart controversy erupted. Jobi McAnuff swung a corner to the far post and left David Wheater in an aerial battle against Reading’s Alex Pearce. Wheater was deemed to have handled the ball in the box by the linesman; this was met by outrage from the Bolton fans and players. At the time this looked like an appalling call although after seeing it again Wheater did jump with his right hand in the air. He should know better. This penalty has been added to his (almost) own goal last week and given Wheater some red on his ledger. That didn’t matter to Nick Blackman and he confidently stepped up and stroked the ball into Bogdan’s bottom left corner, scoring his first goal for Reading and giving 698 traveling Reading fans something to cheer about.

After their equaliser Reading seemed to sense that they could grab all 3 points. They surged forward and had a number of efforts on Bogdan’s goal. Garath McCleary fizzed a shot which Bogdan smartly turned around his post. Then Drenthe surged forward in a three -on-two scenario. His squared ball went to striker Adam Le Fondre who forced a stunning save out of Bogdan. The Whites’ keeper spread himself wide and denied Le Fondre with a point blank save. After that the game fizzled out even though both sides were franticly trying to grab the win. A point probably is a fair reflection after our poor second half performance.

Another key in this game was the official, Carl Boyeson. Overall I think that he (and his team) had a shocker. His inconsistency and incompetence spoilt what was a good game. He added on what was a very frustrating afternoon at the Reebok. The Whites had various penalty calls turned down which were as legitimate as the one that he’d awarded to Reading.

A big talking point for Wanderers' supporters was Jermaine Beckford. This was the first time many got to see our new man as he made his home debut. After months of negotiations trying to bring him in I’m starting to wonder why Dougie bothered. He was poor, and was let down on countless occasions by his dire first touch. I have watched his performances against Burnley and Reading, and I’m not impressed.

After getting a very warm welcome by the fans when his name was announced, new signing Jay Spearing had a solid game. I admire his passion and willingness to tackle; he was awarded the official ‘Bartercard Man of the Match.’

The 2 full backs fit in nicely in the first half although they were occasionally caught out of position in the second.

N’Gog was lively but still hasn’t got over his phobia of shooting; despite this he impressed me today looking lively with the ball. I would give my man of the match to Adam Bogdan. He was relatively quiet in the first half but proved all of his critics wrong in the second; he made 3 crucial saves which ensured that Nigel Adkins’ Reading didn’t grab an undeserved win.

After walking away from the stadium I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. This was 2 points dropped not one gained but our unbeaten home record in 2013 is still intact. In their post-match interviews both Dougie Freedman and Nigel Akdins seemed content with a point although either side could have grabbed the win. Interestingly enough both managers commented on the referee’s performance which wasn’t good enough. This keeps our undefeated start to the season intact, but our strikers worry me.

Bolton v Reading Player Ratings

Adam Bogdan

9*

Alex Baptiste

7
David Wheater 6
Zat Knight 7

Marc Tierney

7

Medo Kamara

7
Jay Spearing 8

Darren Pratley

8

André Moritz:

7 (73rd minute)

Samni Odelusi:

6 (90th minute)

Lee Chung-Yong

7

Jermaine Beckford

5

David Ngog

7
Craig Davies 7 (80th minute)