On his Sky Bet Championship debut, Anssi Jaakkola had a critical role to play for the Royals as they came from behind to earn a point in Bolton.
Jaakkola twice made visits to his net in the first half as Reece Burke and Darren Pratley headed in from set-pieces. But a spirited second-half fight-back saw Reading level – Liam Moore and a Leandro Bacuna penalty levelling things up.
And Jaakkola produced two top stops in added time to deny Pratley and former Royal Adam Le Fondre right at the death, ensuring the Royals took a valuable point back to Berkshire.
“It’s difficult to concede two goals and then you don’t make any saves for a long time after that,” reflected Jaakkola. “I just needed to stay focused and keep concentrating and luckily I managed to help the team in the end with two saves, so I’m happy with that.
“In the end it was one point won – we didn’t start the game as well as we should have, and to go 2-0 down after 25 minutes is tough, especially away.
“But the lads showed great character to come back in the second half. So it’s a good point.
“It will make the journey home much shorter, I’m sure of it! The lads showed character and stayed patient.”
It has been a long time coming for the Finn’s league debut, since joining the club in the summer of 2016. But the form of Ali Al-Habsi last year and Vito Mannone this season have seen opportunities limited for the stopper. But in Vito’s absence, he was well-prepared to step up to the mark.
“I just need to work hard every day and use every opportunity I can – nobody wants to sit on the bench forever, so I’m glad I got my first start in the league,” he continued.
“The goalkeepers’ union is a special thing! We always support each other, no matter what. “Even though we are rivals on the training field, we still keep supporting each other and on a matchday it doesn’t matter who is playing, we always want to help and to encourage our teammate.”