Bolton Wanderers search for an opening win of the new season will go on after being edged out by a solitary goal against MK Dons at stadiummk on Tuesday evening.
Despite knocking on the MK Dons door for large periods, Bolton were unable to put the ball in the back of the net for the fourth consecutive game of the 2015/16 campaign.
In the end substitute Daniel Powell’s second half strike for the home side, arguably against the run of play, ensured Bolton and their 1,000-strong travelling support headed back up the M6 with nothing to show for their efforts.
Neil Lennon made a total of three changes to the starting line-up that had previously taken to the field against Middlesbrough.
Strike duo Zach Clough and Gary Madine were in from the off, as was full-back Lawrie Wilson, as Bolton reverted to a flat back four.
Bolton started the game on the frontfoot, snapping into a number of early tackles in the midfield areas.
The first effort on goal of any note from either side came in the 15th minute.
Dean Moxey received the ball 30 yards from goal, threw a marker off the ball with a clever feint, before letting fly with a stinging shot that was palmed over the bar by Dons goalkeeper David Martin.
Bolton came even closer from the resulting corner, as Prince Desire-Gouano headed within a foot of the far post from Liam Feeney’s delivery.
Moments later Christian Benavente cut infield from the left before seeing a curling effort comfortably saved by Ben Amos.
Bolton looked at their most dangerous when Clough assumed possession in the MK Dons half. On one occasion everyone inside stadiummk watched on open-mouthed, as the diminutive frontman slalomed beyond no fewer than four Dons defenders over a 40-yard space before being dispossessed by a last ditch challenge inside the area.
Carl Baker then engineered half-a-yard of space on the edge of the area before seeing a low shot once again gobbled up by Amos.
As half time approached, Clough brought a superb save from Martin, who somehow tipped a first-time shot onto the bar after a clever knockdown from Madine.
Bolton continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock after the interval.
On 55 minutes Madine expertly controlled a long pass forward from Wilson, shrugged off a couple of defenders before seeing a late tackle deny him an opportunity to shoot goalwards.
But on the hour mark the home side scored, arguably against the run of play.
Samir Carruthers slipped a clever ball in behind the Bolton backline to find substitute Powell, who after steadying himself curled an effort beyond Amos and into the far corner.
Dorian Dervite nodded a Feeney corner wide, as Bolton immediately went in search of a route back into the match.
Lennon then added further firepower to the frontline by introducing Emile Heskey from the bench.
But Bolton’s frustrations would only grow further, as Clough saw a sweeping first-time shot from Moxey’s low centre loop over the Dons crossbar.
Martin was then on hand to first beat away another Clough effort, with Heskey’s rebound somehow then gathered by the Dons stopper.
Heskey then saw a late header saved by Martin.
In the end that would prove the story of the night, plenty of opportunities but nothing to show for the team’s efforts.