Bolton Wanderers could have been forgiven for going into the clash at Reading FC with more than a little trepidation, after the same fixture last season resulted in a 7-1 walkover for the hosts. But the Whites put that hammering behind them with a more composed, if unspectacular, display as they shared the points in a 0-0 stalemate - with Andy Lonergan the hero for the visitors.
Neil Lennon set his side up to be difficult to break down, mindful of last season's drumming, and this rubbed off on a dull and dreary first half that had very little to report in terms of goalmouth action or excitement. Glen Murray went close for the hosts, and Chung-Yong Lee could have had a penalty on another day after being pulled to ground by Oliver Norwood.
But things livened up in the second period as both sides showed more enthusiasm to take all three points. Tim Ream forced a good save from Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici and Max Clayton caused considerable threat with several glimpses of quality on the ball.
But soon the hosts began to seize control and were perhaps unlucky that a trio of great chances fell to defender Michael Hector. The first saw him head over from a Jordan Obita corner, then he sliced a shot wide before being denied by a good save from Lonergan.
The Bolton stopper then pulled off a superb save to keep on-loan striker Murray out, and effectively kept Wanderers in the game late on with an excellent save from Williams' 25-yard-drive.
Lonergan's excellent performance gave the Whites the impetus to see off the home push then set about trying to seal all three points for themselves on the counter attack, as Darren Pratley went close with a cross-come-shot before Ream headed wide from close range. Substitute Conor Wilkinson also went close after good play from Clayton, but in the end Wanderers will be pleased to come home from the Madejski Stadium with a point.
One down side for Wanderers was a rare ineffective game from Craig Davies, but the flair and creativity of his strike partner Clayton bodes well for Wanderers' attacking options. Especially when you throw new man Eidur Gudjohnsen, who failed to receive international clearance to play at Reading, into the mix in the future.