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Memorable Match: Reading v Bolton Wanderers

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Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It was August 2007 and Bolton Wanderers, now led by former assistant manager Sammy Lee, had struggled in the Premier League without talismanic manager Sam Allardyce, who had left to join Newcastle United that summer.

Pressure was already on the affable Lee, as Bolton began the season poorly and had yet to win by the end of the opening month of the 2007/08 season.

It was the club's 7th consecutive season in the top flight, and having also finished in 7th place the previous year, they not only had a league campaign to contend with, but another UEFA Cup season as well.

The league season kicked off at home, against Newcastle United, now managed by Allardyce, where three first-half goals for Newcastle ensured an early defeat.

This was followed by an away defeat to Fulham, and by the time we had lost 3-0 to Portsmouth, the club found itself at the bottom of the league.

So on 25th August, Bolton welcomed Reading to the Reebok Stadium with team and manager desperate for a win.

The visitors were amidst only their second ever top flight season. Manager Steve Coppell's side experienced a tough start, with an opening day trip away to his former club Manchester United. However, Reading sprung a shock as they secured a creditable 0-0 draw.

Reading's first home game of the season was a midweek fixture with reigning Premier League champions Chelsea, who prevailed 2-1 in a contentious fixture memorable for Stephen Hunt and Chelsea keeper Petr Cech's collision which left the latter with a fractured skull

The following Saturday, Reading defeated Everton 1-0 following a goal from Hunt.

Bolton entered the game with speculation growing that star man Nicolas Anelka was to leave, and it proved to be that the Frenchman was the star attraction.

El-Hadji Diouf and Nicolas Anelka's pace and movement troubled Reading from the kick-off. American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann was forced into a good early save from the former Arsenal and Real Madrid striker, before Bolton took a deserved lead.

Diouf forced the corner and from his precise delivery, Gary Speed rose above Reading defender Ivar Ingimarsson to head home.

Reading eventually managed a shot on goal through Irishman Kevin Doyle just after half time, which was quickly followed by a De la Cruz shot from a good position.

Anelka again proved to be the dangerman. He cut in from the wing and sent a shot just wide before the French striker ran onto Diouf's pass in the 55th minute, and deftly flicked the ball over the onrushing Hahnemann.

Both sides had a goal ruled out, with Anelka's tap-in being deemed offside, as was Shane Long's finish for Reading.

The killer blow came in the 90th minute when Norwegian forward Daniel Braaten knocked in an Anelka cross following good work from captain Kevin Nolan, to give Wanderers and their beleaguered manager a brief moment of joy in a tough early season.

Bolton boss Sammy Lee:
"I didn't get carried away when we lost the first three games of the season and I won't get carried away now.
"I said before that if we kept being positive we wouldn't go far wrong but we had to start keeping clean sheets.

"The application, dedication and focus from the players has been excellent. It's been a very pleasing day."

Reading first-team coach Kevin Dillon
"It was probably our worst performance for a long time.
"Bolton were really excellent and I'm pleased for their manager Sammy Lee, but it was just one of those games where we didn't perform.

"We've had a hard start. We got a point against United, felt we deserved a result against Chelsea and beat Everton so overall we're pleased."

The Teams

Bolton: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Nicky Hunt, Gerald Cid, Abdouleye Méïté, Jloyd Samuel, Gary Speed, Kevin Nolan, Gavin McCann, Mikel Alonso (Daniel Braaten 75), El-Hadji Diouf, Nicolas Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Ali Al Habsi, Christian Wilhelmsson, Kevin Davies, Andy O'Brien. .

Goals: Speed 32, Anelka 55, Braaten 90.

Reading: Hahnemann, De la Cruz (Halls 83), Bikey, Ingimarsson, Golbourne (Convey 63), Fae (Lita 73), Harper, Gunnarsson, Hunt, Long, Doyle.
Subs Not Used: Federici, Cisse.

Att: 20,023

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).


Denouement

Reading would eventually be relegated, after the team suffered a poor run of form in January and February, losing a club record 8 league games in a row, meaning that they lost their Premier League status on the final day of the season after Fulham's victory at Portsmouth saw Reading finish in 18th place.

Lee would remain in charge of Bolton until October, when he was sacked and replaced by the unpopular, if effective, Gary Megson, whose dour football nevertheless proved successful.

Wanderers finished in 16th position in the league following a late season revival which was prompted by a spending spree of some £12m on players such as Matt Taylor, Gary Cahill and Grétar Steinsson.