Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Milton Keynes Dons

  • November 16, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Daryl Murphy struck a stoppage-time winner, as Bolton beat Milton Keynes Dons to move into positive points in the League One table.

Murphy, who had seen a penalty saved by Dons goalkeeper Lee Nicholls only moments earlier, pounced on a low cross from Luke Murphy in the third minute of added time to spark wild scenes at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The Dons were made to play the final 24 minutes a man short, after defender George Williams was dismissed following an altercation with Thibaud Verlinden.

After seeing a run of three successive wins come to an end with defeat to Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup last weekend, Wanderers boss Keith Hill made two changes to his side as fit-again Liam Bridcutt and Josh Earl came in at the expense of Sonny Graham and Yoan Zouma - both of whom were named amongst the substitutes.

Bolton had the best of the early action, with Daryl Murphy and Luke Murphy both going close inside the opening five minutes, while Joe Dodoo headed wide as he stretched to get on the end of a cross from Adam Chicksen.

The visitors had their first attempt with nine minutes played, with Ben Reeves finding space inside the box before seeing a shot blocked by Jake Wright.

Luke Murphy then looped a cross into dangerous territory at the other end, from which Daryl Murphy saw a header well saved by Nicholls.

Former Wanderers loanee Joe Mason came close to scoring against his former club on 18 minutes, breaking clear of the home defence before seeing his shot tipped onto the post by Remi Matthews.

Josh Emmanuel bent a free-kick over the crossbar from the next attack, before Luke Murphy saw a strike from distance turned behind by Nicholls on the half-hour.

Williams headed wide from close range as he gambled to get on the end of a cross from Reeves, before Nicholls made two outstanding saves to ensure the sides went in goalless at the break.

First, the Dons 'keeper threw himself to his right to tip over a volley from Luke Murphy, before he got down quickly to push away a goalbound header from Daryl Murphy from the resulting corner.

There were no changes to either side as the players returned for the second period, although the Dons had made one alteration shortly before the interval as Baily Cargill came on for Jordan Moore-Taylor.

Both teams had chances to open the scoring in the early stages following the restart, with Luke Murphy forcing Nicholls into action from the edge of the box, before Jordan Bowery saw a looping header cleared off the line by Emmanuel at the other end.

Mason lashed over the bar with a first-time effort on 55 minutes, before the game entered a period of inactivity.

Events took a turn midway through the half, however, as substitute Verlinden went down under a challenge from Williams. The pair exchanged words in the immediate aftermath, before the Dons defender appeared to shove a hand into the face of the Wanderers winger.

Referee Andy Madley had no hesitation in brandishing a red card, leaving the visitors to play the final 24 minutes with 10 men.

Bolton were now tasked with breaking down a team who were happy to sit back and claim a point, and they came close within moments of play restarting as Jason Lowe fired wide.

Alex Gilbey and Bridcutt failed to test opposition goalkeepers at either end, moments before Daryl Murphy saw a strike charged down by excellent defending from Cargill.

MK Dons should have taken the lead with 10 minutes remaining, but Joe Walsh somehow contrived to volley over from inside the six-yard box following a header back across goal from Bowery.

Having grown frustrated at a lack of conviction in the final third, Wanderers were literally handed the opportunity to take the points when the ball struck an arm in the final minute of normal time - prompting referee Madley to point to the penalty spot.

Daryl Murphy took responsibility from 12 yards, only to see his poor penalty saved by Nicholls.

Murphy would make amends in the final minute of stoppage time, however, gaining a yard of space on his marker to pounce at the near post on a cross from Luke Murphy and slot home the winning goal.

Matthews was alert to deny Gilbey as the Dons pressed forward for a late equaliser, but it was the hosts who picked up the victory which sees them move into positive points in the league table.

They return to action next Saturday, when they face fellow strugglers Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Chicksen, Earl, Wright, Emmanuel, L Murphy, Bridcutt, Lowe, O'Grady (Politic 78), Dodoo (Verlinden 56), D Murphy
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Darcy, Zouma, Senior, Graham
Booked: Verlinden, Emmanuel
Goals: D Murphy 90+3

Milton Keynes Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Walsh, Moore-Taylor (Cargill 38), Lewington, McGrandles, Gilbey, Brittain, Mason (Dickenson 82), Reeves (Boateng 71), Bowery
Subs Not Used: Moore, Kasuma, Asonganyi, Sorinola
Booked: Bowery
Sent Off: Williams

Referee: Andy Madley
Attendance: 11,819

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
8 Burton Albion 13 19
9 Oxford United 12 18
10 Bolton Wanderers 13 18
11 Accrington Stanley 12 16
12 Portsmouth 12 15
View Full Standings >>


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