Doyle double spoils Bolton party
Arindam Rej at the Reebok Stadium
Sunday April 22, 2007
This was a capitulation that nobody saw coming. Bolton had dominated, were deservedly in front, and then in the final 10 minutes their defence tired and lost concentration, allowing a Kevin Doyle double and Stephen Hunt's clincher to send Reading home with a scarcely believable margin of victory.
Ultimately, it was three first-half Bolton injuries, forcing them to use their allocation of substitutes, that cost them the game. Tal Ben Haim and Ricardo Gardner had both passed late fitness tests to play, but when they really needed to be taken off, their manager's hands were tied. Most annoying for Bolton manager Sam Allardyce was that the third injury his side received - Kevin Nolan - was caused by a tackle that could easily have led to a red card. Michael Duberry escaped unpunished, though.
'We've missed a lot of opportunities and a lot of decisions have gone against us that shouldn't have done,' lamented Allardyce.
Nicky Hunt's calf injury was the start of Bolton's woes. When Diouf left with a hamstring injury, the afternoon began to unravel. Then came the Duberry tackle that left Nolan in agony. The Bolton captain will have an X-ray on his ankle. Duberry was soon a figure of controversy again when he charged down Andranik Teymourian's effort, leading to appeals for handball that were waved away.
Nicolas Anelka left a stationary Reading defence trailing and his shot hit a post, but play was halted because of an offside decision that was clearly incorrect. Anelka immediately made amends when he collected David Thompson's neat pass and struck the ball against Nicky Shorey, who deflected the ball in.
Reading showed little threat until a late flourish. That period of pressure yielded an equaliser when Abdoulaye Meite brought down Doyle, leading to a penalty that the fouled player tucked away. The sense of shock increased when Seol's late cross was controlled on the chest by Doyle and slotted in. There was still time for Reading to add to Bolton's misery. Shorey's cross found the unmarked Hunt in the six-yard box and he gleefully headed in the third. 'For that last goal we had four men in the box,' said Reading manager Steve Coppell, praising his side's adventurous instincts.
Man of the match
Showed some neat touches and impressive awareness. He had shown signs of flourishing from the start when Diouf was alongside him but, even after the Senegal forward departed with injury, Anelka remained dangerous.