Reading hang on for a win as Steve Clarke makes Royals return
Reading claimed their first win in six Sky Bet Championship matches with an unconvincing 2-1 victory over lowly Bolton as Steve Clarke set about appeasing Royals fans.
Clarke had looked set to be heading to Fulham earlier in the week but changed his mind after talks with the west London club, and Lucas Piazon helped lift some of the pressure off him at the Madejski Stadium with a solo effort to put the Berkshire club ahead.
Danny Williams stretched the advantage with a penetrative run and shot before the break but Reading faded in the second half.
Bolton reduced the deficit in the 80th minute through a Liam Feeney spot-kick but Reading held on in the frantic closing stages.
Reading's victory brought an end to a five-match winless sequence, but for Bolton the pain continues, with just one win all season and none in their last 11 outings now.
Goalscoring has been Wanderers' main problem, with just one in their past six matches, but they could have been well ahead but for the early heroics of Reading goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
Jose Casado slung over a free-kick from the right and Al Habsi produced a superb save to keep out Shola Ameobi's powerful header. Neil Danns struck the rebound into the side-netting.
Al Habsi then saved solidly from a Mark Davies effort before spectacularly turning aside a header from Pratley after a Feeney cross.
Reading appeared totally disorganised but somehow regained their composure to take the lead in the 28th minute.
Piazon blocked the attempted clearance of Prince-Desir Gouano, chased on to the loose ball and lifted it over Bolton goalkeeper Ben Amos into the empty net.
Bolton could barely believe their misfortune and it got worse after Amos had done well to keep out a long-range effort from Oliver Norwood.
Orlando Sa released Williams in the 34th minute and the United States midfielder ran through to beat Amos with a crisp 20-yard shot.
Bolton opened the second half in spirited fashion but were again out of luck when going forward.
Pratley did well on the left flank before crossing to the far post but Ameobi's header cannoned off the crossbar with Al Habsi, for once, well beaten.
Bolton continued to press, mainly through the invention of Pratley, but Reading held firm and broke quickly when allowed.
And they could have extended their lead when Chris Gunter crossed from the right but Nick Blackman's miscued volley was expertly tipped over by Amos.
Bolton gave themselves hope 10 minutes from time when Feeney thumped home a penalty after Norwood had tripped Pratley, but their first goal in 408 minutes proved in vain.