It was a frustrating afternoon for the Royals as Yanic Wildschut's strike for left Reading with a 1-0 defeat on Saturday.
- Méïte and Swift go close for the Royals in the first half
- Wildschut opens the scoring for Bolton after 48 minutes
- Royals almost equalise through Baldock and Böðvarsson
- Bolton run out 1-0 winners at Madejski Stadium
The Royals started with four changes to the midweek victory against Birmingham City, restoring Paul McShane, Vito Mannone, David Meyler and Liam Kelly to the line-up.
Bolton started on the front foot, attacking from the get-go as Josh Magennis cut back across goal for Josh Vela - cut out well by Paul McShane.
John Swift scored a free-kick in the week against Birmingham, and went close again with a strike from similar range testing Ben Alnwick in the Bolton goal. The goalkeeper dived at full stretch to his left to save, and managed to smother the attempted rebound.
The teams found it tricky to break each other down in the first 20 minutes, with efforts limited to pot-shots from range as the defences were on top in RG2.
Sam Baldock and Marc McNulty started up front once more, with Baldock lofting over the top for the former Coventry man to chase into the area - the striker went down under a challenge in the box but the referee waved play on.
Swift, playing on the left flank in the absence of Mo Barrow, cut inside on a bursting run forward and squared across to Méïte to shoot - but his effort was tame as Alnwick gathered.
McNulty then split the defence with a well-placed ball to the edge of the box, Méïte beat his man to it, rounded the goalkeeper and was only stopped by a last-second sliding tackle by Bolton skipper David Wheater.
Wanderers could, and probably should, have made it 1-0 after the half-hour mark. Magennis broke forward with room to press on, he found Will Buckley with yards of room 18 yards out, but his shot lacked conviction and Mannone could comfortably save.
Baldock quickly had a chance at the other end, latching onto Kelly's ball, neatly turning away from his marker and curled an effort towards the top corner - but Alnwick was there to palm away with a smart stop.
Reading shaded the half in terms of chances, but the teams went in goalless.
Half-time: Reading 0-0 Bolton Wanderers
Yanic Wildschut was introduced at the break for Wanderers, and had an immediate impact as he gave the visitors the lead just three minutes into the second half. A throw-in was flicked on and Vela lifted a fantastic ball over the top for Wildschut to chase.
He was clean through on goal and made no mistake as he slotted past Mannone to put Bolton ahead.
Reading responded after going behind, playing the ball round on the edge of the Bolton area for Meyler to drive at goal - narrowly going over the bar.
Swift showed his trademark footwork on the left to take his marker out of commission and play Blackett through on the flank. He found Baldock in the area, who curled a shot just wide of the post.
Time ticked on quickly as Bolton looked to extend every gap in play for as long as they could as they hoped to preserve their advantage.
Kelly whipped in an enticing free-kick, McShane and Moore were both waiting at the back post, but neither could apply the finishing touch as Alnwick gathered.
Baldock stole the march on Alnwick as Swift played him through in the box, nicking the ball away from the goalkeeper away from goal, the ball found its way back to substitute Böðvarsson but a last-ditch block from Jason Lowe stopped the equaliser 15 minutes from time.
Reading continued to commit players forward but nothing appeared to be able to break Bolton's five-man defence down.
Reading were dominant on the ball and looked the only side likely to score in the closing stages, but Wanderers held firm and took all three points back to Lancashire.
Full-time: Reading 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
Reading: Mannone, Yiadom, Blackett, McShane (c), Moore, Meyler (Bacuna 73), Kelly, Swift (Popa 85), Méïte, Baldock, McNulty (Böðvarsson 73).
Unused subs: Walker, O'Shea, Ilori, Clement.
Yellow: Blackett, Kelly
Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor, Lowe, Beevers, Wheater (c), Olkowski, Vela, Buckley (Wildschut HT), Noone (Donaldson 81), Murphy (O'Neil 65), Magennis.
Unused subs: Matthews, Oztumer, Wilson, Grounds.
Goals: Wildschut 48
Attendance: 13,318 (856 away)
Referee: Mr J Linington