Milton Keynes Dons 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 04, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton arrested a run of three successive defeats, but are now winless in six after drawing 1-1 at Milton Keynes Dons.

After losses to Swindon Town, Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic in recent weeks, Wanderers boasted a new-look squad at Stadium mk with the inclusion of four new signings in the matchday 18.

They took the lead in first-half stoppage time, as a free-kick from Jay Spearing evaded everybody before bouncing into the net, but the Dons earned a point when Kieran Agard equalised just before the hour to ensure both sides left with a point.

Bolton ended the game with 10 men, as Lawrie Wilson limped out with the visitors having already used all three of their substitutions.

After naming unchanged teams in each of the last four games, Phil Parkinson made four alterations to the side that started against Charlton Athletic last time out.

Derik Osede came in at the expense of Tom Thorpe, while debuts were handed to the duo of Filipe Morais and Chris Long - with James Henry and Zach Clough dropping out, the latter after the completion of his transfer to Nottingham Forest.

Andrew Taylor had originally been named on the teamsheet, but his late withdrawal provided Dean Moxey with a rare start at left-back.

Conor Wilkinson stepped up to fill the void amongst the substitutes, where he was joined by deadline day arrivals Viv Solomon-Otabor and Adam Le Fondre.

Wanderers won a corner in the opening minute at Stadium mk, with former Dons winger Morais showing a signal of intent. Spearing whipped two dangerous crosses into the box, but Paul Downing was alert to the threat by clearing the ball to safety.

The first real opportunity arrived on 14 minutes, as the visitors won a free-kick for a foul by Joe Walsh on Josh Vela. Spearing, again taking responsibility for set-pieces, stood a ball up to the far post, where Osede headed narrowly over the crossbar.

Wilson was the first player to enter the referee's book, moments later, as he brought down Harvey Barnes to halt an MK Dons counter, before Bolton came close to breaking the deadlock as Long headed agonisingly wide of the far post after getting on the end of a cross from Morais.

Nicky Maynard was making a nuisance of himself as the Dons pushed forward, playing in Chuks Aneke who had a shot charged down by Beevers.

The same duo battled again on 35 minutes, with the Dons forward this time getting the upper hand. Advancing towards the Wanderers box, Beevers stuck out a leg to bring Aneke down and earn the second booking of the afternoon.

Aneke himself went in the book shortly afterwards, with referee David Coote spotting a flailing in the face of Wilson.

In a half short on chances, Vela volleyed harmlessly over as the clock ticked down towards the break, but the deadlock was to be broken in stoppage time as Spearing notched up his third strike of the campaign.

After Morais had been bundled over by George Baldock, Spearing's free-kick, which had been aimed towards the far post, flew over the heads of everybody inside the box and directly into the back of David Martin's net - ensuring Bolton took a one-goal advantage into the interval.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Wilson requiring treatment following an aerial duel with Aneke - a moment which would later become a bigger issue for the Bolton full-back.

With the ball back in play, it was the visitors who had the first shooting chance, as Wilson's cross into the box was headed just over the top by Gary Madine.

The first change of the afternoon saw Max Clayton replace Morais, who had impressed on his debut outing, but that substitution was to cost Wanderers as the Dons were on level terms just four minutes later.

Poor defending from a combination of Moxey and Clayton allowed Stuart O'Keefe to steal possession. His shot was blocked, but Agard was the quickest to react as he fired home the equaliser.

The match then entered a lull period, with neither side really testing the opposition going forward. Parkinson utilised that time to make two substitutions for the visitors, introducing Le Fondre and Solomon-Otabor in place of Long and Osede.

Joe Walsh had a goalbound effort blocked as the hosts looked to go ahead with 10 minutes to play, moments before Bolton were forced into finishing the game with 10 men as Wilson limped down the tunnel with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Desperation tactics saw Moxey switch to right-back in place of the departed Wilson, while Le Fondre suddenly found himself in an unfamiliar left-back position.

With a man advantage, the Dons pushed forward in search of a late winner, which almost arrived in the final minute of normal time when Ben Alnwick parried a cross from Barnes, only to make amends by keeping out the follow-up from Darren Potter.

Four minutes of added time passed without any further incident, as Bolton were made to settle for a point as they extended their winless run to six matches in all competitions.

Parkinson's side remain in third position in League One, ahead of a home double-header inside the next ten days - starting with the visit of Walsall to Macron Stadium next Saturday.

Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Baldock, Downing, Walsh, Williams, Upson, Potter, Aneke (O'Keefe 57), Barnes, Agard (Bowditch 68), Maynard (Ngombo 79)
Subs Not Used: Nicholls, Muirhead, Brittain, Tilney
Booked: Aneke, O'Keefe
Goals: Agard 59

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Moxey, Beevers, Wheater, Wilson, Osede (Le Fondre 78), Spearing, Long (Solomon-Otabor 69), Morais (Clayton 56), Vela, Madine
Subs Not Used: Turner, Wilkinson, Trotter, Henry
Booked: Wilson, Beevers, Moxey
Goals: Spearing 45+3

Referee: David Coote
Attendance: 21,545

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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