Saturday, December 02, 2006

BOLTON THE DOOR Reading 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers provide possibly the Premiership's most prominent physical challenge. Set piece delivery is always accurate, they have a number of big beefy types across the park and they can also play a bit when they put their mind to it. They have brain to complement their considerable brawn and this was always likely to be a tough assignment for the Coppell project.

Since promotion back to the top flight in 2001, Bolton have beaten all of the big boys on ocassion and are well known for upsetting the apple cart, Arsene Wenger being the most recently bruised pomme. As visitors go, they are about as popular as Michael Barrymore at a pool party and we expected a real ding-dong battle against a side who started the day in the Premiership's top 4. We hadn't faced a side quite like Bolton so far since our elevation to the top table but Reading weren't in the mood to make a pig's breakfast out of the Trotters.

In recent weeks we have been starting games bright eyed and bushy tailed and it was another athletic, up and et 'em kind of opening again at the MadStad. Stephen Hunt was busy if not always effctive down the left flank and a chance was fashioned for James Harper to crash a first time effort wide of the post. Floyd on Football was expecting a Bolton aerial bombardment from corners and free kicks but in the first hour or so of this keenly fought often brusing encounter that threat never really materialised, indeed it was Reading who forced a string of early set pieces and it was Ingimarsson who sliced the best opening wide of the target. Reading were out-Boltoning Bolton at times; Jaaskelainen went tumbling under pressure in the area when he flapped at a cross and Sidwell's follow up thundered against the cross bar although referee Wiley had already blown up for a generous freekick decision to the visitors.

This match was not always easy on the eye but the winning goal was one for the purists. The magnificent Nicky Shorey strode busily down the wing from inside his own half, as he did on nuerous ocassions today, and his pass over to the far side was delightfully taken in his stride by Oster who stood up a wicked delivery which DOYLE headed back towards and gleefully past the Bolton 'keeper into the net. A truly brilliant goal which would be played on clip shows for many years to come were it scored by Brazil rather than Reading, still about as fashionable as a zip up fleece on Les Dennis.

Bolton had a mini-revival before the break with the utterly unpleasant El Hadji-Diouf and Kevin 'elbows' Davies to the fore. Diouf went down like a sack of shit under a legitimate Sonko challenge, spat the dummy and would later be withdrawn long before the end of the game whilst Davies - who you suspect could have put his forearm into the face of the Queen Mother this afternoon without sanction from Alan Wiley - is also a clever footballer albeit one with a backside in a different postal district from his barrel chest such is the girth of the 48 year old northern veteran. In the second half, an exciting end-to-end football match broke out with Oster smashing an ill-timed volley over following Hunt's inviting centre, Nolan poking narrowly wide after a scarmble in the Reading goal mouth and Shorey seeing a 25 yard pot shot whistle over the top with Jaaskelainen rooted to his spot.

Lita had an instinctive first-time effort saved by the Bolton 'keeper who was to make a right nuisance of himself deep into injury time. Bolton turned the screw in those closing stages as visiting substitute Ivan Campo took over refereeing duties from Wiley and the visitors won a series of dubious free kicks and throw ins. These were always delivered with menacingly accurate muscle onto the Reading near post and the man-mountain Sonko came to the fore where mere mortals would have buckled. A corner right at the death was seized by Hahnemann and with Jaaskelainen lurking with intent in the Reading box and then all at once finding himself stranded, the visiting 'keeper almost dislocated his opposite number's shoulder by pulling his arm back as Marcus was ready to release. A cynical piece of play which cost the Finn a yellow card and best summed up a crafty Bolton side. A Bolton side which were deservedly beaten on the day as we held firm under a late bararge and moved up into a very snug looking sixth place in the Premiership.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Oster (Gunnarsson, 87), Sidwell, Harper, Hunt, Seol (Lita, 76), Doyle. Subs not used: Federici, Bikey, Long.

Floyd's Favourite: Shorey. For England. Marauding raid down the left flank and an accurate cross field pass brought about the winner.


Blogger Sportingo said...

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6:55 AM  

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