Wanderers were denied all three points late on as they drew 1-1 with Reading at Macron Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Following a goalless first period which saw Wanderers forced to use all three of their substitutes due to injuries to Kevin McNaughton, David Wheater and Zach Clough, Eidur Gudjohnsen opened the scoring on the hour mark, firing home after good work from Adam Le Fondre.
The visitors pushed in a bid to force an equaliser during the remaining 30 minutes of the clash while the Whites also came close to extending their lead, but Jamie Mackie earned Reading a point at the death.
Kevin McNaughton was brought into the starting XI in place of Josh Vela at the right back berth, while Saidy Janko was also in from the off for Wanderers as he replaced Emile Heskey.
The visitors started strongly in the clash piling the pressure on Bolton early on, but a stubborn Whites backline meant that clear cut opportunities in front of goal were few and far between.
Wanderers were soon on the attack themselves however, with Wheater’s diving header from a corner causing problems for the Reading defence in a crowded penalty area.
An injury to McNaughton with nine minutes on the clock led to an early change for Wanderers, with Josh Vela taking his place in the Bolton backline.
The first real chance came just a minute later, with Janko’s ball across the face of goal evading everybody but Liam Feeney, with the winger’s shot stinging the palms of Adam Federici who eventually gathered at the second attempt.
The early change appeared to slow down proceedings slightly, although Wanderers were the team in the ascendancy with Zach Clough and Janko causing problems for the home side.
Jamie Mackie was to enjoy Reading’s first clear cut chance in the 22nd minute as he wormed his way into the box and drilled goalwards from an acute angle, but Ben Amos was equal to his effort.
Wanderers were however forced into another substitution with 25 minutes on the clock as Wheater pulled up, with Dorian Dervite taking his place.
Frustration was evident for both Bolton and the visitors as the half wore on, with much of the play being contested in the middle third of the field.
With 11 minutes of the first period remaining, Clough saw his tame effort deflect into the arms of Federici, while both Matt Mills and Le Fondre were denied in quick succession.
With three minutes of the half left, Clough became the latest casualty following a collusion with a Reading man, while Barry Bannan saw a thunderous effort from 25 yards fly narrowly wide of the Royals’ goalmouth.
Eidur Gudjohnsen was introduced in place of Clough on the stroke of half time, but the Icelander failed to make an immediate impact as the first period ended goalless.
With the second period underway, Reading enjoyed the first chance as Mackie unleashed from the corner of the penalty box, but Amos was on his guard to get down low to deny him.
Yet again though the frustration on the faces of the Bolton players was clear to see, while Alex Pearce’s looping header from the far post only just cleared the Whites’ crossbar.
Janko was to spurn the half’s best chance however, nipping in front of his marker to meet Feeney’s left wing cross, only for Federici to get down well to keep his effort out to the dismay of Macron Stadium.
An opportunity which appeared to breathe life into the game, Mills was next to try his luck but saw his first time shot from a corner clear the goalmouth while Bannan saw his cross tipped over the crossbar by the Reading keeper.
Their hard work paid off on the hour mark however as, following a powerful run by Le Fondre into the area, the former Royals frontman pulled the ball back for the advancing Gudjohnsen who slotted home with ease to send the Bolton faithful into
No more than Wanderers deserved, their dominance in the clash continued as they poured forward in search of a second goal with Dervite unable to scramble home from close range in a crowded six yard box.
Le Fondre almost had a goal against his former employers in the 72nd minute as he collected Gudjohnsen’s pass and powered towards goal, but the striker was harshly adjudged to be in an offside position.
Just moments later however, Reading saw a glorious chance from Pearce headed off the line by Barry Bannan with a goal seemingly imminent.
With time ticking down, the visitors went all out in attack with a number of substitutes thrown into the mix but Wanderers were standing firm with Reading running into a stubborn Bolton backline.
Bannan almost made sure of the result with a minute remaining as he shrugged off the challenge of his man and forced his way into the box, but his cross-cum-shot narrowly eluded the goalmouth.
With three minutes of additional time indicated, Wanderers pushed their way into Reading territory to relive some pressure but were dealt a bitter blow deep into stoppage time as Mackie fired home into the bottom corner of Amos’ net to earn Steve Clarke’s side a share of the spoils.