Report: Wanderers 1-1 Reading
Darren Pratley's second Championship goal of the season saw Bolton Wanderers open their league account at the Reebok Stadium with a 1-1 draw.
The Whites went into the break ahead, but Nick Blackman's second half penalty confirmed Reading would travel back to Berkshire with a share of the spoils.
Manager Dougie Freedman handed Jay Spearing his second debut for the club, with Bolton’s new number six sitting alongside Medo Kamara in the heart of the midfield.
Spearing’s former Liverpool team mate David Ngog was also named in the starting line-up for the opening game at the Reebok Stadium, partnering Jermaine Beckford in attack.
Meanwhile, 2011/12 Championship winners Reading, under the guidance of Nigel Adkins, started former Reebok loanee Danny Guthrie and Dutch winger Royston Drenthe.
And inside in the opening two minutes, ex Wanderer Guthrie found himself in Carl Boyeson’s black book following a late challenge on Frenchman Ngog 25-yards from goal.
After a slow start to proceedings, with both teams battling for possession, midfielder Pratley handed Bolton the lead with the first attack of the game on the quarter hour mark.
Pratley, who scored the Whites’ equaliser at Burnley last weekend, made a shrewd run to the back post to meet a fantastic cross from Marc Tierney and send a header beyond goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
With two goals already to his name this season, Pratley was sniffing out a third five minutes later, hitting a strong right footed strike over the bar into the newly named Franking Sense South Stand.
A flutter of chances followed for Ngog as Bolton’s number nine looked to mark his first league start of the season with a goal against the Royals.
His first, a weaving run from the by-line, left Chris Gunter and Alex Pearce tangled as they both attempted to put in challenges, resulted in Ngog releasing from just inside the area but McCarthy was equal to the effort with a strong hand.
Two minutes later, Ngog, cut inside from the right hand side to bend an effort goal bound, taking a heavy deflection off Pearce to sail harmlessly over.
There was little to divide the two sides, with Bolton’s threat in front of goal the only difference, and four minutes before the interval, Wanderers could have been two goals to the good after a stunning 30-yard strike from Medo cannoned back off the post.
The Sierra Leone international’s ambitious effort concluded an impressive first half at the Reebok Stadium, with all still to play for in the final 45.
The game soured for Bolton six minutes into the second period, as Reading equalised in the 51st minute from the penalty spot.
Centre half David Wheater was adjudged to have handled the ball, with referee Boyeson having no option but to point to the spot, with Blackman confidently stepping up to side foot past Adam Bogdan.
After their equaliser, Reading looked a more dangerous threat inside the final third, with Bogdan having to work to deny Gareth McCleary after his 30-yard drive from the right hand channel.
Another smart save from the Hungarian international soon followed, beating away Pearce’s close range header as Reading’s number five found himself in behind the Bolton backline.
The Whites’ first opportunity of the second half came courtesy of South Korean winger Chung Yong Lee. Playing a neat one two with Wheater, Lee watched his curling effort saved by McCarthy in the visitors goal.
From the resulting Spearing corner, Bolton had shouts for handball waved away by the referee, much to the anger of the Wanderers players.
New recruit Spearing came close to marking his second debut for the club with a goal just after the hour mark.
Gliding away from two Reading challenges, Spearing let fly a powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area, whistling inches wide.
In a minute of madness, Wanderers had another penalty claim thrown away by the referee, with a red and black shirt adjudged to have handled Alex Baptiste’s header.
With no penalty given, the visitors raced up the other end with a swift counter attacking move, resulting in substitute Adam Le Fondre one-on-one with Bogdan but was denied by a world class save from the goalkeeper.
Pushing for a winner, manager Freedman made two changes with Andre Moritz and Craig Davies coming on in place of Ngog and Beckford.
Moritz’s impact was nearly immediate, showing Brazilian flair, Wanderers’ new number 14 hit a half volley from the edge of the penalty area but calmly caught by the goalkeeper.
In a final throw of the dice, Tuesday night's Capital One Cup goal scorer Samni Odelusi came on in place of Lee.
The game finished 1-1 for a second consecutive week for Wanderers in the Championship, with the focus now turning to next weekend's trip to the City Ground to face Billy Davies' Nottingham Forest.