Report: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 MK Dons
Mark Beevers headed the hosts in front but the men from MK1 fought back and levelled through Ryan Colclough at the start of the second half.
The Dons then went on to dominate the next 30 minutes which included Kieran Agard seeing a penalty saved, before they stood strong late on to earn a deserved point.
Ben Reeves and Kieran Agard replaced Samir Carruthers and Nicky Maynard in the starting XI for the clash in Greater Manchester.
After an even opening, the hosts went ahead on eight minutes when Mark Beevers fired home from close range after the Dons had failed to clear Jay Spearing’s corner.
Karl Robinson’s men responded through Ben Reeves, who saw a low drive saved by Mark Howard after good work down by the left by Dean Lewington and Ryan Colclough.
It was very close to being 1-1 on 21 minutes but the lively Agard put just wide on the stretch from Dean Bowditch’s cross after Howard had saved George Baldock’s stinging 20-yard effort.
At the other end, David Wheater headed off target from a right-wing free-kick and Lewington denied Jamie Proctor directing the ball back into the danger area as the game ticked past the midway point of the first half.
Colclough and Lewington again linked up well on 29 minutes to set up a chance for Reeves, who saw his 20-yard shot blocked by a Bolton defender.
More good football followed from the Dons but the Agard chance remained their best as the hosts’ defence continued to hold firm.
Baldock then skimmed the top of the crossbar with a delivery after a purposeful run forward before Darren Potter came close to picking out Agard.
Dons ended the half the stronger of the two teams, Reeves seeing a low drive blocked before Ed Upson sent a 20-yard shot not too far past Howard’s right-hand post.
Bolton threatened on the counter-attack just prior to the half-time whistle but David Martin comfortably gathered Keshi Anderson’s weak effort.
The Dons started the second half like they ended the first – on top – and Howard had to be alert to tip over Agard’s effort after some smart build-up play from the men from MK1.
Just a minute later, Reeves volleyed narrowly over from 25 yards following a classy chest-down from Agard.
The Dons’ pressure was finally rewarded on 53 minutes when Colclough beat Lewis Buxton with a step-over as he entered the box and then turned home at the second attempt. A fully-deserved leveller.
Robinson’s men were given a golden opportunity to make it 2-1 10 minutes later but Agard’s penalty was saved after the forward had won the spot-kick himself following a powerful run.
Five minutes later, Agard did his bit as he brilliantly held off a challenge from Beevers and set up Reeves, who was denied after initially making room for a shot.
It was all Dons as they continued to dominate possession and territorial advantage, limiting the league leaders to counter-attacks which were coming to nothing.
However, they did have to do some defending with just over 10 minutes remaining – Martin and Joe Walsh both brilliantly denying Sammy Ameobi from close range.
The Dons hit back and only an offside flag denied Agard being one-on-one from Bowditch’s pass, but they had Martin to thank in the 89th minute when he got down well to deny Ameobi.
Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Walsh, Downing, Lewington (c); Potter, Upson (Carruthers 72); Bowditch, Reeves (Powell 86), Colclough (Maynard 90); Agard.
Unused subs: Nicholls, GB Williams, GC Williams, Tshimanga, Maynard.
Bookings: Lewington, Upson, Walsh, Carruthers.
Goal: Colclough (53).
Attendance: 12,727 (210 Dons fans).