With Bolton preparing to face Reading in a relegation six-pointer tomorrow, we thought it’d be a brilliant idea to take a look back at some of the best and worst matches between the two sides.
Now, the first place to start is obviously the most recent meeting between the Trotters and the Royals.
That was August’s game at the Madejski which Bolton won 1-0. Yanic Wildschut scored in the 89th minute to earn Bolton their second win of the season. The win saw Bolton extend their unbeaten run to three games at the start of this campaign.
Last season saw both games end in a draw and Reading finish only one point ahead of Wanderers.
At home, Wanderers squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw. Whereas away from home the score was 1-1.
This season has seen similar fates befall the two clubs. Both sides have been struggling against the tide of relegation all season long. That makes tomorrow night’s game so crucial.
Bolton’s final season in the Championship before relegation into League One had very few plus-points.
The two games against Reading weren’t plus-points. Wanderers fell to defeats in both games against the Royals that season.
With only five wins during the whole campaign, some consolation can be found in the fact that this season, Bolton have achieved the same number of wins with several months of the season still to go. It may be bad, but it could be worse.
We now come to the most infamous game against Reading. The 7-1 thrashing Bolton suffered at the Madejski.
Dougie Freedman’s first and only full season in charge at Bolton was another year of disappointment. After missing out on the play-offs the previous year on goal difference, hopes were high going into the 2013/14 campaign. However, after a woeful start to the season, Wanderers failed to really recover and finished mid-table.
January’s away trip to Reading however, has to be the undoubted low-point of the season and a game many Wanderers fans hope to forget.
It was a complete and utter collapse from Bolton and the biggest defeat since this writer began supporting the Trotters.
Aside from the astronomical scoreline, the other noteworthy highlight of this game the Adam Le Fondre scored a hat-trick against the club he would eventually go on to play for.
The last time the two clubs met in the top-flight was 2007/08. Wanderers’ first season without Big Sam at the helm.
Despite Bolton struggling to adapt to life without Allardyce, the Trotters did manage to do the double over Reading.
The first win came in August and was Sammy Lee’s only league win as Bolton manager. Wanderers triumphed 3-0 thanks to goals from Gary Speed, Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Braaten.
Bolton then met Reading again in February 2008 and overcame the Royals 2-0 in a relegation six-pointer. Sounds familiar.
And finally we come to possibly the most historic match between the two sides. A real ding-dong-doo.
The 1995 first division play-off final. The victors earning a place in the Premier League.
Reading took an early 2-0 lead and held it until the 75th minute when Owen Coyle pulled a goal back. And with just 4 minutes of normal time left, Fabian de Freitas levelled the scoring.
The comeback was not complete just yet however. In extra-time, Mixu Paatelainen got on the scoresheet and another goal from de Freitas secured a memorable 4-3 win over the Royals.
You can watch highlights below, courtesy of Bolton’s official YouTube channel.
The play-off success was short-lived however, as Bolton finished bottom of the Premier League the following season.
Bolton have had a mixed history against Reading to say the least. But after earning a victory earlier in the season, away from home, you’d like to think that in such a crucial match that Phil Parkinson’s side will be able to overcome their relegation rivals on home soil.
Knowing Bolton Wanderers though, anything is possible tomorrow night.
Do you think Parkinson should include any youth players in the side against Reading tomorrow after brilliant performances from Luca Connell and Joe Pritchard against Bristol on Friday?