Bolton Wanderers’ development squad held third-placed Reading to a goalless draw in a rain-soaked League clash at Hogwood Park on Monday afternoon.
John Henry’s side created their best chance in the final minutes, but Michael O’Halloran’s strike was well saved by the diving Reading keeper as the Whites settled for a hard-fought away point.
In a sluggish start to the match, it was Wanderers who had the first decent attempt as Gregg Wylde broke away down the left and fired a ball across the face of goal, but Chris Lester’s far-post strike went narrowly over the bar.
The Royals, led by experienced captain Brynjar Gunnarsson, pushed forward in an attempt to take a lead into the break, but the Trotters’ resilient defence stayed firm to close an uneventful first half.
Bolton came out for the second period with a spring in their step and they were almost awarded with that illusive opening goal, but the early effort from O’Halloran was blocked in front of goal and the ensuing corner was cleared by the young Royals defence.
Reading came close themselves minutes later, but Charlie Losasso’s header went just wide of Rob Lainton’s far post.
Wanderers continued to create chances throughout the half, with O’Halloran and Lester both forcing young keeper Dan Lincoln, who was making his debut for Reading, into good saves.
Joe McKee was next to go close after he found space on the edge of the box, but his strike flew inches over the bar.
With time running out, Royals’ right-back Nick Arnold picked out Gunnarsson from the right, but the veteran didn't quite connect properly and saw his header bounce wide.
The Trotters then almost stole all three points in the dying seconds when O’Halloran broke through the Royals’ defence only to be denied by Lincoln as the scores finished goalless.
Wanderers: Lainton, Threlkeld, McQuade, Hampson, Kellet, Lester, Wylde (Iliev), Kelly (Wolstenholme), Blakeman, O’Halloran (Odelusi), McKee (Unused Subs: Fielding, Dennis)
Reading: Lincoln, Arnold, Griffin, Keown, Hector; Tshibola, Losasso, Gunnarsson, Obita, Tanner, Taylor (Unused Subs: MacDonald, Moore, Webb, Sweeney, Ikpeazu)