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Match Reports

Royals share spoils with Wanderers

Barrow's opener cancelled out by Le Fondre in the first half

6 March 2018

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Reading were pegged back in the first half against Bolton Wanderers, leaving both teams with a point on Tuesday night.

  • Barrow opens the scoring for the Royals after the half-hour mark
  • Le Fondre equalises on the strike of half-time for Bolton
  • Penalty appeal turned down for challenge on Barrow
  • Tom Holmes makes full Reading debut aged 17

The visitors had the first half-chance of the game, former Royal Adam Le Fondre getting forward into the Reading area. His cross was only cleared back into his path, with Liam Moore intervening to block Le Fondre's shot.

Chris Martin almost put the Royals ahead after 10 minutes, chipping over goalkeeper Ben Alnwick after latching onto Mo Barrow's deft lob over the defence - but he only managed to reach the roof of the net.

Martin was brought down on the edge of the Bolton area, with Sone Aluko teeing up a free-kick that didn't trouble Alnwick in the Trotters' goal.

It was a tight affair in the first half, which was perhaps to be expected considering the fact the teams were only separated by goal difference prior to kick-off at Madejski Stadium.

The Royals were caught in possession in midfield, though, with appeals for a foul on Aluko waved away as Le Fondre broke. He shot from distance, which Anssi Jaakkola had to steer over the crossbar.

Liam Kelly was then let off the hook, putting a pass straight into the path of Le Fondre, but he leant back as he shot and put it high into the Eamonn Dolan Stand.

In the blink of an eye, the Royals had the lead. Reading won the ball on the left, with Martin flicking into the path of Barrow on the run, he used his pace to get into the area and calmly finish past Alnwick.

The visitors showed flashes of attacking intent, with a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Chris Gunter required to thwart a Will Buckley run.

Dave Edwards came to the Royals' rescue as well, with a free-kick nodded into the path of Buckley six yards out, the Wales midfielder did superbly to get a foot in and poke it round for a corner.

Reading's resistance was broken in first half stoppage time, with the resulting corner finding its way to Le Fondre from close range, who was able to bundle home and score against his former side - leaving the sides level at the break.

Half time | Reading 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

The visitors started the second period on the front foot, looking to build on their late momentum in the first half and take the lead. Jaakkola was equal to a cross from Filipe Morais early on in the half, getting above the attack and punching clear.

The Royals had a huge penalty appeal turned down soon after, Martin doing superbly to hold the ball up and play a pass to Barrow, who drove into the penalty area and was wiped out by two Bolton shirts - but the referee adjudged an opposing boot won the ball in the challenge.

Both sides looked threatening going forward as the game opened out, a half-cleared cross by Holmes was met by Andrew Taylor, who chested and volleyed from 15 yards over Jaakkola's bar.

Bolton came close to taking the lead midway through the second period with Mark Beevers chesting down for Le Fondre to shoot, but he couldn't get his head over the ball as it sailed over the bar.

A corner from Kelly found its way to Barrow on the edge of the Bolton area, he shot first time but couldn't direct his effort on target as the game headed into its final 15 minutes with the teams level.

Holmes expertly lofted the ball forward to Barrow on the right for the Royals, who squared back for substitute John Swift to fire at goal, who will have been frustrated with his shot.

Swift managed to work Alnwick with his second attempt, though, cutting in from the left flank and curling a shot on target, but the Bolton stopper was able to get low and save.

Both teams sensed a late winner in stoppage time, with Barrow winning a header before Alnwick could claim it, leaving substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson to shoot, with two Bolton shirts in front of goal stopping the threat.

Full time | Reading 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter (c), Moore, Holmes, Clement, Evans, Kelly, Edwards, Barrow, Aluko (Swift 77), Martin (Bodvarsson 73).
Subs: Mannone, Van den Berg, Ilori, Blackett, Smith.
Goals: Barrow 32
Yellow: Barrow, Edwards, Evans

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor, Beevers, Burke, Flanagan, Henry, Kirchhoff (Karacan 70), Buckley (Wilbraham 81), Pratley, Morais (Noone 67), Le Fondre.
Subs: Howard, Dervite, Robinson, Clough.
Goals: Le Fondre 45
Yellow: Buckley, Flanagan, Henry

Referee: Mr J Linington
Attendance: 8,631 (484 visiting)

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