At last - revenge over Bolton Wanderers! But this was even better following Bolton's seven match winning league streak and their twelve point lead at the top of the table. Reading were deserving winners after one of the best second halves seen at Elm Park for quite some time, and some truely heart stopping stuff - thanks to the dissaperance of Bobby Mihaylov.
The first half was forgetable. Bolton were on top for the first fifteen minutes and Bobby made a couple of decent saves. Twice he came of his line well to clear up the danger in one on one situations. But after Boltons initial fifteen minute pressure they went all quiet and allowed the Royals to get on top towards the end of the first half. It was all very patient stuff and we didn't manage a shot but kept posession and at last started playing the ball around on the ground. Still, at half time, I was expecting a 0-0 draw.
But the second half everything just went mental. Just into the half Bobby again raced off his line to intercept a Bolton forward clean through. The ball bounced clear but Bobby didn't get up. After a few minutes of treatment and then a few minutes limping around winging he eventually came off to be replaced by Sir Jimmy in the Reading goal. The crowd were loving it and Quinn got his first cheers from the Reading crowd of the season after collecting his first shot with ease. Chants of Quinns' name rung across the South Bank. But Bolton failed to test Sir Jim and Reading started to really go for it. The next fifteen minutes saw 5 goals and three to Morley and Reading as Reading swept Bolton aside.
Morley put Reading ahead after winning the ball just inside the area, turning his man beautifully and finishing with true skill. The keeper came well to narrow the angle but Trevor wasn't having any of it and fired the ball low into the right corner. 1-0. Then Bolton went up the other end and at last seemed to remember we had Sir Jim in goal and let one rip from long range into the right corner of the Reading net. To be fair to Quinn it was a decent shot.
But the Royals had already realized this was a game we could win. Meaker, who had had a couple of decent runs in the first half, legged it down the right with a bit a speed and cut inside the area. He lost the ball once but seemed to get a lucky bounce and continued on his run only to be cut down by a desperate defender just wide of goal still. Quinn looked eager to come forward and have a go but it was Morley who stepped up to make no mistake, after his last penalty was saved a couple of games ago. The ball flew into the roof of the net. 2-1 to the Royals and two for Morley.
But Bolton legged it up the other end and took a minute for a similar attempt on goal. A long range shot with Quinn way off his line again flew into the right bottom corner. 2-2. Bollocks. With Quinn in goal and Bolton again bouncing back I was starting to think this couldn't possibly be our day. Bolton like pulling these games around. But then Quinn made a couple of important catches. One from a Bolton corner that he claimed well, and another gathered at the second attempt. And we regained our will to win and everyone continued playing their socks off. We won a corner of the left. It came across and Bodin knocked it in and there was a bundle at the far post. The ball came out to Morley waiting on the six yard box to fire into the left of the net to complete his hattrick, send the South Bank wild, and put Reading 3-2 ahead after an amazing fifteen minutes.
Quinn continued to play his part, coming well to make saves but fumbling them in a very scarey fashion. He saved excellently at the post and then got down well with a great reaction clearance boot. Reading still looked good coming forward but for the last five minutes and deep into injury time I found myself just waiting for that equaliser. I could hardly watch the free kick from just outside the area. The wall protected Quinn's goal. Then in the last minute Bolton had a penalty turned down. Winging Northerners. Then at last the final whistle went, and a famous Reading victory against the odds - and our seventh point from a possible nine. And at last we move up from 19th place!
A brilliant game from Bernal who was everywhere. Booty was excellent. Quinn - well you can't fault his determination there. Morley was nowhere in the first half but showed true goal-scoring ability that makes him one of the highest scorers in the division. Meaker annoyed their number 3 fantastically. Lambert was quiet. And Mihaylov - was he really that badly injured? Quinn on Radio 5 afterwards tells us he's out for the rest of the season....
This report from Jon Hanford....
Reading 3 Bolton Wanderers 2
Bolton's run of seven straight league wins came to an end in an epic battle against a Reading side who had joint boss Jimmy Quinn in goal for most of the second half.
Quinn took over when Bulgarian international Bobby Mihaylov was injured, colliding with Scott Sellars, just 50 seconds after the interval and after five minutes of treatment he was forced to limp away with damaged ligaments in his left knee.
The goals came in a 14-minute flurry but the key strike completed Trevor Morley's match winning hat-trick after 70 minutes. The first half saw Bolton running the show as befitting a side 12 points ahead of the pack at the top of the first division and they could have been ahead on six minutes when John Sheridan swept the ball wide to Sellars on the left and he slid a perfect pass through a gap in the defence for Alan Thompson to take it in his stride and crack in a low left foot effort which Mihaylov blocked superbly at the foot of the post.
Another chance went begging on 12 minutes when Sellars slanted a superb ball into the box from the right and Gerry Taggart could almost have blown it in but he somehow failed to make contact with his head and the ball flew beyond the far post. Reading were showing little as an attacking force and Bolton again looked dangerous after 23 minutes when Gudni Bergsson curled in a cross from the right which was missed in the air by the Reading defence and Thompson brought it down and had time to take aim but struck his shot just wide of the upright. The drama began with Mihaylov's departure just after the break and within three minutes of taking over the goalkeeper's jersey Quinn jumped to catch a Sellars cross above the head of John McGinlay _ a task he completed successfully but not without laying out team-mate Paul Bodin in the process. And within two minutes Reading were in front to the joy of a crowd just short of 11,000 when James Lambert's low ball to Morley's feet saw him turning brilliantly to leave Taggart for dead and he drove left-footed into the corner passed the despairing dive of Gavin Ward. There were certainly more goals to come and Thompson supplied the first of them after 61 minutes when he picked up a loose ball 25 yards out, strode forward and then smashed a tremendous shot two feet above the ground and wide of the helpless Quinn.
But within a minute Bolton had shot themselves in the foot when Reading winger Michael Meaker cut his way into the box from the right and Northern Irish international Taggart flew in with a ridiculous waist high tackle to concede a blatant penalty which Morley confidently tucked away. The crowd were close to fever pitch on 64 minute when Thompson intercepted a pass from Martyn Booty on the Bolton left, slid a perfect ball inside to McGinlay who looked up and picked his spot before curling a low shot beyond Quinn's reach into the far corner. That seemed to inspire Reading and they plucked an unlikely winner on 70 minutes after winning a corner on the left. Bodin knocked it into the box, skipper Barry Hunter headed it down and Morley completed his first hat-trick since joining Reading two summers ago.
Bolton when on the offensive and Quinn made three or four totally unorthodox saves to foil Sellars, McGinlay and Thompson before the game ended in near mayhem after substitute Scott Taylor darted into the Reading area and went flying under a challenge from Keith McPherson. Referee Mick Bailey clearly thought the Bolton youngster had dived and waved away penalty appeals but several players had to be pulled away from each other after a number of simmering feuds finally exploded with raised fists. Referee Bailey, forced to play five minutes of added time because of Mihaylov's injury looked a relieved man when he finally brought proceedings to a halt.
The result was some revenge for Reading who lost 4-3 to Bolton in a first division play-off final at Wembley when they were 2-0 ahead and missed a penalty to stretch their lead.
And some more stuff....
Reading joint boss Jimmy Quinn was the unlikely goalkeeping hero of his side's surprise 3-2 win over division one leaders Bolton at Elm Park. The Northern Ireland international striker was forced to play the last 39 minutes in goal after Bulgarian keeper Bobby Mihaylov suffered a knee ligament injury. And he helped his side clinch a victory that striker Trevor Morley's hat-trick set up. Quinn is no stranger to the goalkeeping jersey. "I played in goal against West Brom last season and managed to keep a clean sheet," he said proudly.
"Unfortunately I didn't manage to do that today. I didn't really see the first goal but I should have had the second one. It slipped through my fingers. "I've never looked before but the gloves Bobby wears are very big. They were far too big for me," he joked. "We didn't really start to play until Bobby went off. It looked like we never passed the ball but that's something we work on all the time in training and it comes naturally to us. Instead, we played at their pace until half-time when we had a bit of a go at the lads.
"It was a terrific team performance and the seven points we've got from our last three games have all come because the lads have been prepared to give 120 per cent. We are very, very pleased," Quinn said. Bolton boss Colin Todd was disappointed by the way his team failed to cash in on Reading's goalkeeping problems. He said: "The worrying thing at the moment is the goals we are conceding. At half-time I couldn't see us losing this game but when the keeper went off I got the feeling that we relaxed a little bit. "Having got back to 2--2 there should have been no way that we ended up with less than a point but then we've conceded another goal from set play which has got to stop. "The only way we can let things slip is if we do it ourselves as you've seen today. "The same players that got us 61 points have lost three today."