READING FC boss Jaap Stam blasted his side’s defending at set pieces and stressed they must stop conceding first after a disappointing 2-2 draw at lowly Bolton Wanderers.

Royals fell behind for the 10th time this season after first-half goals from Reece Burke and Darren Pratley looked set to steer Phil Parkinson’s Trotters to victory at the Macron Stadium on Tuesday.

But a resilient second-half performance saw Royals claw themselves back into the game through a Liam Moore strike in the 76th minute and a Leandro Bacuna penalty seven minutes from time.

However, Stam was less than impressed with his side’s first-half performance and said Royals need to stop shipping easy goals.

Reading have kept only one clean sheet in the last 12 Championship matches in the 1-0 win at Leeds on October 14.

Stam's men have conceded 18 goals in that run and scored 15 themselves resulting in a mere three victories.

“When you go two goals down you need to get back into the game,” stressed Stam. “It’s not easy, they were waiting for free-kicks and throwing the ball into the box.

“They got the set pieces and they scored two goals. We need to defend well because teams that play us are looking for these moments.

“We need to defend these set pieces, sometimes you can’t do anything about it.

“The first one was a flick-on and we couldn’t react quick enough to defend that header.”

Defender Moore’s 76th minute striker finally gave Reading a glimmer of hope at Macron Stadium.

And the pressure told when Modou Barrow was hacked down by Sammy Ameobi, allowing former Aston Villa man Bacuna to level the scores from the spot.

But Stam stressed the players made things difficult for themselves by falling two goals behind in the first place.

“We often concede first and it makes it hard for us to get back into the game,” he groaned.

“If we score first then teams need to come at us and they need to play. We are aware of it and the players aren’t doing it on purpose.

“We got two goals and we wanted to go for the third. But sometimes you have to be patient because players want to rush with the ball and if they lose it the opposition can break. We deserved the point.”

The draw followed Saturday’s 2-0 home reverse to leaders Wolves, leaving Stam’s men 19th in the Championship table.

But Royals will now be hoping to make the most of successive home fixtures as they host Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday (3pm) then Barnsley next Tuesday (8pm).

“Wednesday are a very good team,” concluded Stam. “Everyone knows their ability. We are going to prepare now and hopefully get a good result at home.”

However, Stam will almost certainly have to plan ahead without midfielder John Swift who was forced off at the Macron Stadium with a recurring hamstring problem.

Joey van den Berg is back in contention this weekend having served a one-match ban.