Bolton Wanderers have moved five points clear of the relegation places, after coming from behind to draw 1-1 against Reading at The Madejski Stadium.
As promised, Phil Parkinson made several changes to the side that collapsed against Preston on the weekend. Liverpool loanee Jon Flanagan and Jan Kirchhoff were brought in for their first starts, whilst Karl Henry, Reece Burke, Will Buckley, Andrew Taylor and Adam Le Fondre all returned to the starting XI.
The new look Wanderers side, spearheaded by Adam Le Fondre, started brightly, with Le Fondre seeing a shot blocked.
At the other end of the pitch, Chris Martin’s chip over the bar was the best Reading chance in the first half hour.
Le Fondre continued to be a nuisance for The Royals’ defence, firing a fierce effort from twenty yards, which Jaakkola tipped over the bar.
Shortly after, Le Fondre should have given Wanderers the lead. After sloppy play by Reading led to Le Fondre being through on goal, the striker shot over. Moments later, Wanderers were punished for not scoring when in charge.
One time Wanderers trialist Mo Barrow flew past Jon Flanagan on the wing and buried the ball through Ben Alnwick’s legs to give Reading the lead.
It looked as if being one of those games again, when Will Buckley missed a glorious chance to equalise when one-on-one with Jakkola.
Thankfully, Wanderers managed to score an equaliser shortly before half time.
From the resulting corner from Buckley’s chance, the ball was finally bundled home by Adam Le Fondre after being set up by Filipe Morais.
Despite limited chances in the second half, Wanderers looked comfortable on the ball, thanks to a midfield of Henry, Pratley and Kirchhoff.
Andrew Taylor saw a shot fly over as Wanderers tried to take the lead.
Le Fondre had the best chance to win the game, but couldn’t manage to get his volley on target.
The game would ultimately end up as a draw.
Even though Bolton couldn’t leave The Madejski with the win, the spirited and strong performance is encouraging. It’s a missed opportunity to win away, but every point counts in the fight to stay up.
With an out of sorts Sheffield Wednesday next up on Saturday, Wanderers should be full of confidence.
Bolton remain 19th, but are now five points clear of the bottom three with ten games to go.