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16:45 6th December 2014

Honours even after goalless battle

  • Murray has goal ruled out for offside
  • Hector half-volleys wide and heads over
  • Federici produces superb save from Ream
  • Lonergan palms Williams' effort wide
Reading and Bolton battled to a goalless draw at Madejski Stadium this afternoon in a disjointed game - but the Royals had the better chances to take all three points.

Clear cut chances were at a premium in the first half, the Royals coming closest near the end of the period when Jake Cooper's downward header git McCleary yards out and Murray couldn't turn the loose ball home.

Adam Federici saved brilliantly from a Tim Ream header before Andy Lonergan denied a deflected Danny Williams effort from range.

Reading looked a real threat in the air, with Lonergan tipping over from Cooper and Robson-Kanu denied by a goalline clearance at the back post, while Bolton were lively on the break - but no-one could find the breakthrough that could have given the game the spark it needed on a bitterly cold day in Berkshire.

Reading: Federici, Kelly, Gunter (c), Hector, Cooper, Norwood, Williams (Taylor 85), Obita, Robson-Kanu (Cox 68), McCleary (Blackman 78), Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Cummings, Pearce, Tshibola.
Yellow: Norwood, Murray, Obita.

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Mills (c), Ream, Feeney (Hall 90), Clayton, Dervite, Danns (Spearing 90), Pratley, Vela, Lee, Davies (Wilkinson 57).
Bogdan, Moxey, Wheater,Mason.  

Referee: Mr K Hill

Attendance: 15,421 (776 away)

First Half

Bolton began slightly the brighter side, almost unlocking the Royals' defence when Darren Pratley lofted a ball into the path of Lee Chung-Yong only for Adam Federici to mop up in the nick of time. Max Clayton then whistled a ball across the face of goal without a Bolton player able to get a touch to it.

10 minutes in and Garath McCleary won a corner on the right with and Glen Murray headed the inswinging Obita ball over from a tight angle after the ball had been flicked on just before it met Murray's forehead.

The opening half was struggling to set fire on a freezing afternoon, but Obita almost created the opener from the other flank, his cross finding Murray at the near post the near post but the striker's deflected glance spiralled over the crossbar and behind for a corner.

Half an hour played and McCleary won a free kick when he was tripped by Dorian Dervite 25 yards out. Norwood lined it up and arced it over the wall but harmlessly over the crossbar too.

With half time quietly approaching, Robson-Kanu beat two men to make progress down the left. His low cross was cut out just before it could find the feet of Murray, but the subsequent corner was met by the head of Cooper. The ball cannoned into McCleary and the Murray's hacked effort from close range ricocheted off a Bolton defender and Wanderers had somehow survived a scare.

Bolton then had to defend a couple of dangerous crosses, Lonergan punching a Murray cross clear as Robson-Kanu muscled his way towards it, just after a low McCleary corner had been fizzed to the feet of Norwood, but the midfielder's shot was charged down.

Second Half

In the opening minutes of the second half, Reading had the ball in the back of the net, Murray smashing home from Cooper's knock down, but the offside flag cut the cheers short and the goal was ruled out by the linesman.

At the other end, a wonder save from Adam Federici somehow scooped Tim Ream's header off his line and to safety after the defender had stole in to direct the ball on target from a corner that had been nodded to the unmarked Wanderer.

Hector then squandered a headed opportunity at the other end, glancing Jordan Obita's inswinging corner over the crossbar at the near post with a difficult chance from close range. The centre back came even closer moments later when Norwood's free kick was headed down to his feet and the defender's half-volley bullet skidded just wide of the bottom corner.

Twice Reading came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock, both from short corners and Norwood deliveries that were firstly saved by the arching Lonergan from Cooper and then cleared off the line from Robson-Kanu.

Bolton on the break almost scored through Pratley, who received the ball from Chung-Yong in acres of space on the right but bulleted his right-footed effort wide of the left upright.

Cooper lost possession in midfield and with the game opening up, Bolton broke in numbers, but the move ended with substitute Wilkinson shooting into a Reading body and Cooper hacking it out for a throw.

Cox was introduced with 20 minutes left, but it was Murray who came close to beating Mills to a cross at the near post - the former Reading captain conceding a corner just before the striker could get to it.

The Murray Mills battle continued into the final 15 minutes, Murray shown a yellow after he glanced McCleary's cross over with a flailing hand.

Lonergan was forced into a splendid diving save to deny Williams' right-footed effort that, via a slight deflection, was spinning inside the right post before the Bolton stopper palmed it clear.

Cox squirmed past his man with less than five minutes remaining but he didn't see Murray in space and ran out of room, shooting in the end but the effort was easily charged down.

Murray headed a late chance wide but there was no way through either back line and the points were shared after the completion of three minutes of injury time.