Young Royals earn 2-2 draw at BoltonBolton 2 (Wylde 20, O.G 23)
Reading 2 (Taylor 31, Keown 69)
Reading’s U21s bravely fought back from 2-0 down to secure a point away to Bolton in the Barclays Under 21 Premier League.
Goals in either half from Jake Taylor and Niall Keown earned a resurgent Royals side a deserved draw in the North West.
Brynjar Gunnarsson captained a youthful XI as the U21s took on the Wanderers at Lancashire FA’s County Ground.
The Royals, kitted out in all red, looked lively in the opening stages and nearly took an early lead. Charlie Losasso’s inswinging free kick was met by the head of Angus Macdonald – but the effort only hit the side netting.
Bolton had chances of their own early on – Jon Henly twice came to Reading’s rescue with two instinctive saves to keep the score level.
The hosts recovered from Reading’s early domination and made the first breakthrough. Gregg Wylde’s searching free kick eluded everyone in the box and bounced past the unlucky John Henly and into the net.
And the Royals were ruing their luck again just minutes later when Wanderers winger Chris Lester fizzed in a quick ball from the right and took an unfortunate ricochet to beat Henly.
Reading didn’t let their heads drop, and hit back before half time thanks to an excellently placed free kick from Taylor to make it 2-1.
As half time approached, Taylor went agonisingly close to levelling with a half-volley before Bolton saw a couple of chances go amiss.
The second half was mostly one-way traffic, with Reading dominating possession but failing to make a vital breakthrough.
But the Royals’ relentless pressure eventually paid off when, with time running out, Keown fired a loose ball home from a corner to level – much to the delight of his father Martin in the stands!
Reading went in search of a late winner and so nearly snatched it when the lively Lawson D’Ath’s fantastic solo effort was saved by Bolton 'keeper Jay Lynch.
Henly had a huge slice of luck at the other end minutes before the final whistle when a looping cross came off the bar and onto the goalkeeper’s body – but it thankfully bounced out of play.
2-2 was how it finished – and Chris Cummins’ men can take plenty of positives from an encouraging comeback. Norwich are next up for the U21s – at the Madejski Stadium next Monday.
Reading: Henly; Arnold, Partridge, Keown, Macdonald; D'Ath, Gunnarsson (c), Tshibola, Losasso (Ikpeazu 68), Samuel, Taylor.
Subs not used: Webb, Lincoln, Tanner, Long.
Bolton: Lynch, Riley (Hampson 70), McQuade, Ream (Matthews 67), Threlkeld, Blakeman (Wolstenholme 28), Lester, McKee, Odelusi, O’Halloran, Wylde.
Subs not used: Sievers, Hampson, Iliev.