Reading returned to winnings ways at home this afternoon, picking up three points against Bolton. The Royals took the lead when Lucas Piazon charged down a clearance and toed the ball past the onrushing Ben Amos and before half-time it was 2-0 thanks to a thunderous strike from Danny Williams that nestled in the bottom right corner.
Bolton had been unlucky not to score in the opening 15 minutes, heroics from Ali Al Habsi denying Ameobi, Davies and Pratley as Neil Lennon's side began the brighter. And they got themselves back into the game with a late penalty, won by Pratley and converted by Feeney with ten minutes left. But Reading defended the late stages well, despite Bolton applying some late direct pressure.
Captain Paul McShane returned to the starting line-up for the home side, while Garath McCleary and Michael Hector were also named in the eleven after returning from international duty with Jamaica late in the week. Lucas Piazon started, while Ola John and Matej Vydra began the game on the bench.
After a fairly even opening few minutes, Bolton created a string of excellent opportunities to take the lead. The Royals had an excellent Ali Al Habsi to thank for a flurry of equally impressive saves - the first seeing him claw the ball off his line, low to his right, after Shola Ameobi had got his head to Jose Casado's inswinging free-kick.
Moments later, Liam Feeney played in Mark Davies but in a one on one situation Al Habsi came off his line to narrow the angle and saved well with his body. And arguably the best of the trio of saves came when Darren Pratley powered a header at goal only for our Omani to brilliantly tip over from point blank range.
At the other end, McCleary beat his man with quick footwork on the right and fizzed a cross in to the near post which Amos spilled, but it spun just wide of the goalmouth to the Wanderers' keeper's relief.
Midway through the half, the ball was worked into the feet of Norwood, but the ball bobbled up as he took aim and the midfielder's effort flew over the bar.
Then, with the Royals edging their way into the game well, Lucas Piazon
handed the hosts the lead. A clearance by a Bolton defender ricocheted into the Brazilian and he got to the loose ball before Amos to toe it goalwards and, although the Wanderers keeper got something on it, it wasn't enough to prevent the ball floating into the empty goalmouth.
Superb work from the lively McCleary saw the winger weave his way forward and cut a low cross back, which Bolton could only half clear out to Piazon. He teed up Norwood, but the midfielder's low drive was charged down.
Norwood came much closer minutes later when a low McCleary corner fizzed out to him on the edge of the area and getting a clean connection it took a very good save from Amos to deny the Royals a second.
With ten minutes remaining in the half, DannyWilliams
did make it 2-0 though. Hector intercepted a pass forward looking for Ameobi and swiftly played it into the feet of Sa. He played in Williams who raced forward and with Blackman an option to his right, he took aim himself and rifled the ball past Amos and into the bottom right corner.
It was nearly three when McCleary directed a good deep cross towards Piazon at the far post, but the Chelsea loanee could only find the side netting with his header.
With seconds before half-time, Williams led another counter attack. He fed Sa who found McCleary with space to run into down the right, but shifting onto his right boot his arrowed effort was blocked before Amos could be tested.
Half-time: Reading 2 Bolton 0
Reading began the second half in the ascendancy, but the first chance fell Ameobi's way. Good work from Pratley on the left led to a floated cross into the middle. Ameobi beat McShane in the air but the ball cannoned into the underside of the crossbar, perhaps with the help of a telling fingertip from Al Habsi.
Neil Lennon made a double substitution with 25 minutes remaining, Gary Madine and Max Clayton coming on for Ameobi and Spearing. Piazon was replaced by Jordan Obita soon after.
And Obita almost made an immediate impact, hooking a first time cross dangerously into the Bolton box only for it to evade Sa and bounce in the middle of the six yard box. But Wheater headed it back to Amos without any further fuss.
Gunter then almost created a third when he won a race to wrap his right foot around the ball before it went behind for a goal kick and a slight deflection saw it drop for Blackman on the volley. His scuffed effort almost wrongfooted Amos, but the Trotters keeper did well to readjust and turn it over his bar.
With little more than ten minutes left, Cooper was brought on to replace McCleary - but no sooner had the game restarted, Bolton were awarded a penalty when Darren Pratley tripped over Norwood's leg in the process of shooting. Al Habsi got a glove to Feeney
's spotkick but couldn't keep it out.
A nice piece of skill from Casado saw him dink the ball over one defender and then take aim, but a deflection took the sting out of his effort and Al Habsi gathered it in with ease.
The visitors started to throw the kitchen sink at the hosts, but Reading defended the latter stages well and held on for the full three points and a return to winning ways in front of their own fans.
Full-time: Reading 2 Bolton 1Reading:
Al-Habsi, Gunter, A Taylor, Hector, McShane (c), Norwood, Piazon (Obita 68), Williams, McCleary (Cooper 79), Blackman (Vydra 90), Sa.
Subs: Bond, Hurtado, John, Liburd.
: Amos, Gouano, Casado, Wheater, Feeney, Pratley (c), Danns, Spearing (Clayton 65), Vela, Davies (Heskey 77), Ameobi (Madine 65).
Subs: Rachubka, Dervite, Wilson, Twardzik.
Referee: Mr J Linington
Att: 16,420 (571 away)