Report: Bolton 3-1 Dons
Goals from Rob Holding and Darren Pratley gave the Trotters a two-goal lead at the break.
Josh Murphy provided the men from MK1 with some late hope through a fine finish from 25 yards but that was dashed in injury-time courtesy of a solo effort from Shola Ameobi.
Jonny Williams made his Dons debut after joining on loan from Crystal Palace while Joe Walsh, Darren Potter and Murphy all returned to the starting XI.
The new recruit had the first shot on target four minutes in when he latched on to Simon Church’s knock-down, drove forward and forced Ben Amos into a save, albeit a relatively comfortable one.
However, the hosts struck first when Rob Holding poked home from close range after Gary Madine appeared to crash into David Martin and leave the goalkeeper on the ground.
The Dons regrouped and really should have been level on 16 minutes but Walsh headed against the bar when well placed after Antony Kay had flicked on Jake Forster-Caskey’s corner.
Always available, Williams latched on to a clever pass and crossed as he looked for Church but Ben Amos was on hand to gather for the hosts 25 minutes in.
Despite the Dons dominating proceedings, Wanderers were nearly 2-0 up on 33 minutes but Jordan Spence cleared Dorian Dervite’s header off the line. Shortly afterwards, Wellington Silva shot into the side-netting from 15 yards after evading a challenge.
Silva went close again with five minutes remaining of the first half, cutting in from the left before seeing his effort deflect narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
Bolton did make the Dons pay for some lacklustre defending a minute later, though, Darren Pratley’s goal-bound effort taking and a deflection and looping over Martin into the far corner.
The hosts came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and Martin had to be alert to deny Holding, who has made good yards and curled an effort towards the bottom right-hand corner.
Dons’ first chance of the period fell to Jordan Spence, who guided his header wide of the target from 10 yards.
Robinson aimed to freshen things up by bringing on Dean Bowditch and Giorgio Rasulo - the Dons were finding it difficult to create much in terms of chances.
Pratley almost doubled his tally and extended the Trotters’ lead with a fierce drive which whistled just over the bar from 25 yards with 78 minutes on the clock.
Daniel Powell was brought on to try and ask some questions of the Wanderers’ defence, who were alert to deny the wideman when he broke on 85 minutes.
Murphy reduced the arrears with a superb 25-yard effort on 89 minutes, but the hosts made sure of the points in injury-time courtesy of a solo effort from Shola Ameobi.
MK Dons: Martin; Spence, Kay, Walsh, Lewington (c); Potter, Forster-Caskey; Carruthers (Powell 80), Williams (Bowditch 62), Murphy; Church (Rasulo 62).
Unused subs: Cropper, Hodson, Reeves, Hitchcock.
Goals: Murphy (89).
Referee: Kevin Wright.
Attendance: 13, 932 (503 Dons fans).