Milton Keynes Dons 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 22, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat, with Rhys Healey scoring the only goal as Milton Keynes Dons registered victory at Stadium MK.

Healey's strike, which came midway through the second period, finished a move which had began when Dennis Politic had conceded possession, allowing the Dons to counter and slide home past a stranded Remi Matthews.

Wanderers had been lacklustre in attack all afternoon and rarely looked likely to score, although their best chance arrived just moments before falling behind as Daryl Murphy smashed a half-volley inches wide of the post.

With one eye on Tuesday's game at Blackpool, Keith Hill made two changes to the team which was beaten at home by Wycombe Wanderers last time out as Ali Crawford and Jacob Mellis started in midfield. Josh Emmanuel and Chris O'Grady dropped to the bench, meaning captain Jason Lowe filled the void left by Emmanuel at right-back.

The home side carved out the first shooting opportunity of the afternoon, with Healey forcing Matthews into a low save inside four minutes.

Wanderers' first chance arrived with 12 minutes played, but Lee Nicholls made a comfortable stop to prevent George Williams from heading a Crawford free-kick into his own net.

Louis Thompson curled wide for the Dons moments later, while Healey headed over the top as the clock reached the midway point of the half.

Appeals for a penalty were turned down when Politic went to ground under a challenge from Healey on 34 minutes, before both teams had chances to break the deadlock in the closing stages of the half.

First, Carlton Morris saw a shot from 12 yards charged down by a combination of Trotters defenders, before Crawford bent a strike at the other end straight into the waiting arms of Nicholls.

Morris had one final chance to put the hosts ahead before the interval, latching on to a loose ball from Crawford before seeing a low drive gathered by Matthews.

There were no changes as the players returned for the second half, which began with Matthews claiming in the air after Jordan Moore-Taylor had headed a free-kick from Ben Reeves back across the face of goal.

Alex Gilbey volleyed wide on 54 minutes, shortly before Politic fired high into the stands from the edge of the box at the other end.

Wanderers came close to opening the scoring with 63 minutes gone as Crawford's chip over the Dons defence put Daryl Murphy in on goal, but his volley whistled inches wide of the post.

They were made to rue that miss five minutes later as Politic lost possession in the middle of the pitch, after which Gilbey slid in Healey who made no mistake in scoring past Matthews.

A number of substitutions followed for the Trotters, who never looked likely to get back on level terms, with Nicholls not called into action until the 84th minute as he dealt with a routine shot from Politic.

Gilbey wasted the chance to double the Dons' advantage in the latter stages, firing straight at Matthews from just inside the box, while Healey was denied twice more in added time as the hosts were made to settle for 1-0 victory.

Defeat for Bolton - a fourth in succession - leaves them still five points adrift of Southend United at the foot of the League One table. Hill's side are now 20 points from safety with 42 left to play for, starting on Tuesday night with a short trip to Blackpool.

Milton Keynes Dons: Nicholls, Poole, Williams, Moore-Taylor, Lewington, Houghton, Thompson (McGrandles 76), Gilbey, Reeves (Nombe 67), Healey, Morris (Gladwin 88)
Subs Not Used: Fisher, Walsh, Brittain, Kasumu
Booked: Morris
Goals: Healey 68

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Fleming, Hobbs, Nsiala, Lowe, Mellis (Graham 57), L Murphy, Hamilton (Dodoo 78), Politic, Crawford (Emmanuel 73), D Murphy
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Bunney, Delaney, O'Grady
Booked: Politic, Nsiala

Referee: Ollie Yates
Attendance: 8,539

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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