Blackman penalty earns point
The Royals produced an excellent second half display to come from behind and earn a deserved point in a pulsating affair at Bolton Wanderers' Reebok Stadium this afternoon.
The home side opened the scoring somewhat against the run of play; a superb cross from Marc Tierney headed home by Darren Pratley only 14 minutes into the game.
But Reading retaliated with an equaliser six minutes after the break, pressure from Alex Pearce forcing David Wheater to flail an arm at a floated cross and Nick Blackman coolly slotting home from the penalty spot.
Both goalkeepers produced outstanding saves to keep the game level, the woodwork repelling Mo Kamara's long-range effort and McCarthy denying Chung-Yong Lee at one end, Adam Bogdan somehow keeping out an Alex Pearce header and Adam Le Fondre's left-footed strike at the other.
And Reading looked the more likely to win it as the game drew to a close, Morrison forcing Bogdan into another great near post save and McAnuff denied a penalty when shoved over as he raced onto a lovely low Le Fondre cross. But the points were shared at the end of a highly entertaining encounter.
Yellow: Pratley, Wheater.
Yellow: Guthrie, Drenthe.
The Royals began the game on the front foot, passing the ball well in the final third, looking for an opening opportunity in front of goal, and a McCleary cross almost found its way to McAnuff at the far post early on, but the Royals skipper was penalised for a shove on his opposite number in trying to get to the header.
David Ngog almost got the first sight of goal at the other end, racing onto a good flick from Jermaine Beckford only to be dispossessed by Morrison's right boot just before he could pull the trigger.
And Bolton opened the scoring just before the quarter hour mark. A searching cross from Tierney on the left flank was met by a powerful downward header from Darren Pratley and McCarthy could do nothing to prevent it flying in from close range.
McCarthy then had to be alert to save well from Ngog, who glided effortlessly into the box from the left and rifled a shot on target only for the Royals stopper to parry away clear of danger.
Bolton were certainly finding their feet in their first home fixture of the season and another Ngog effort from distance glanced off the back of McAnuff and sailed just over the bar.
The Royals almost caught Bolton on the break after half an hour, Gunter's low cross only cleared out to Guthrie, who fed Drenthe and the Dutchman bulleted a right-footed 22-yard drive just over and into the home fans sat behind the Wanderers' goal.
The visitors' clearest chance of the half came moments later. Working it nicely out to Drenthe on the left, the ball was fizzed low into the box and Guthrie arrived onto it, but couldn't keep his first time strike down and it flew over Adam Bogdan's crossbar.
Drenthe fired wide at one end and Lee lashed off target at the other, as the game continue to offer both teams half chances in front of goal, and a beautiful flick from Drenthe almost let McCleary race in on goal, but Jay Spearing held firm to shield the ball out for a goal kick.
And Bolton hit the woodwork with a stunning effort from Mohamed Kamara that swerved past a full stretch McCarthy and hammered into the right post before Pearce could head it away from danger.
Minutes into the second half, McCleary weaved his way into the box from the right and, keeping the ball in on the byline he almost picked out Blackman with a cutback, but Spearing dived in to intercept and concede a corner.
Reading were pressing for an equaliser from the off, Guthrie and Bridge combining brilliantly down the left to earn another corner.
And as it sailed into the box from the left, Wheater's flailing arm struck the ball under pressure from Pearce in the air. The referee pointed to the spot immediately and, without any protestation from the Wanderers back line, Blackman stepped up and calmly sent Bogdan the wrong way to slot inside the right post.
Full of confidence, the visitors pressed for a second. McCleary drove a thunderous 30-yard effort towards the bottom left corner and Bogdan pulled off a great stop to deny him.
Then Alex Pearce connected well with a far post header and Bogdan produced more heroics to somehow keep it out and scramble it behind for a corner.
Then it was McCarthy's turn to pull a good low save out to deny Chung-Yong Lee, who whistled a well-struck 20-yard effort towards goal only to be thwarted by the Royals keeper.
And as the game opened up a little more, Spearing took a nice touch past Karacan and arrowed an effort just wide of the left upright. Bolton came at the Royals again, spurred on by the home fans.
Then a glorious chance to score fell substitute Adam Le Fondre's way. McCleary dispossessed Lee and broke at pace down the left, passing Drenthe in, then Drenthe finding Alfie in acres of space in the middle with a neat low pass inside. But Bogdan produced an excellent save to parry Le Fondre's first time strike and Drenthe was flagged for offside as he tried to recycle the rebound.
Morrison headed a McAnuff corner just wide of the top right corner and McCarthy held onto a fearsome drive from Moritz at the other end, before Royals penalty appeals were waved away when McAnuff appeared to be bundled over as he raced onto a low Le Fondre cross.
With six minutes left on the clock, Bogdan scrambled clear a far post Morrison header that seemed certain to ripple the net. And the Royals pressed and pressed for the winner, but time eventually ran out and a pulsating affair ended a point apiece.