29 October 1996 (League)
Bolton 2 READING 1

Team: Wright; Bernal, Caskey, McPherson, Hunter, Bodin; Gooding, Gilkes, Lambert; Nogan, Morley. Subs Used: Quinn, Parkinson, Meaker.

With a run of five games without defeat and with the small matter of revenge for that game which we wont mention, it was hoped Reading would be able to stretch their little run a little bit further away at Bolton. When Bolton were reduced to ten men midway through the second half the odds should have got better - but it didn't happen. Still, losing 1-2 away at the league's top team is hardly a disgrace I guess.

It could have been so much better if Reading had made the most of their superiority they had over Bolton for much of the first half. Reading created most of the first half chances but ended up going in 0-1 down at half time with Bolton scoring just before the break. After the break Reading came out on a mission to turn the game round and seemed to have done that just 7 minutes into the half.

Bodin took a free kick well into the Bolton half to Bernal out wide. Skippy floated an excellent cross over to James Lambert in the middle. Lambert made no mistake with his header to put the score level. 1-1! All his hard work was undone about 10 minutes later when Bodin played a disasterous back pass that never made it back to Tommy Wright, still on-loan from Nottingham Forest, in the Reading goal. The ball was intercepted and John McGinlay took it round Wright and drove the ball into the net. 1-2 to Bolton. Bollocks.

About half way through the second half came a potential turning point for Reading. The ball came through to Lee Nogan who legged it towards the Bolton goal, but didn't make it into the area before being met by the Bolton keeper who brought him down. With nothing to stop Nogan scoring the keeper had to get the red card, and the shortest man on the pitch, and Bolton top scorer, McGinlay put on the keeper's shirt. The resulting free kick was eventually blasted over by Paul Bodin.

With about 20 minutes of the game left Reading made a double substitution. Quinn and Parkinson came on and Caskey and Nogs went off. Quinn's first real attempt was the first to actually test McGinlay. Although McGinlay fumbled the shot it wasn't too tricky arriving right at his arms from a free kick. Despite the lack of a real goalkeeper and their top scorer in goal Bolton somehow took the initiative. Bolton continued to win a couple of corners and threatened to put the game beyond Reading. Reading took off McPherson and Michael Meaker made a return to first team action.

With just 5 minutes left of the game Reading at last came to life. Too late. Pressure on the Bolton goal saw McGinlay tip over a long shot and him dive at the feet of Quinn to prevent the shot. Meanwhile David Lee continued to cause problems for Reading and one of his better efforts just scraped the post but went wide. Gilkes has a powerful shot just wide, but then it was all over. Reading had wasted a fantastic chance to pull the game round, failed to increase the pace of the game, and despite all their efforts went home with zero points.


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