Report: MK Dons 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
Wanderers picked up a point away at MK Dons on Saturday afternoon.
The game was played in front of a record league attendance for the club, but they were silenced on the stroke of half time when Jay Spearing found the back of the net with a free-kick from distance.
But a goal from Kieran Agard after the interval ensured honours were even.
The Whites were also forced to play the final ten minutes with a man down when Lawrie Wilson limped off with an injury after Phil Parkinson had used all his substitutes.
New signings Chris Long and Filipe Morais were in the starting line up alongside the returning Derik and Dean Moxey while Adam Le Fondre and Viv Solomon-Otabor were named among the substitutes as manager Phil Parkinson made four changes from the side that lost to Charlton Athletic seven days earlier.
Tom Thorpe and James Henry dropped to the bench. Andrew Taylor was named in the original starting XI but was withdrawn prior to the start.
After a frantic opening spell which saw both teams win early corners, the tempo soon settled.
Stadiummk had a large crowd due to a free ticketing initiative to celebrate the town’s 50th year. Wanderers were backed by over 1,200 travelling supporters and played their role in a buoyant atmosphere.
The two new boys, Morais and Long, combined to create Wanderers’ first chance. Alnwick comfortably gathered a Dons corner and immediately dispatched the ball to Morais who broke into the host’s half. The Portuguese’s cross found Long whose glancing header went wide of target.
The move and effort sparked the visitors into life and they looked the more likely of the two to break the deadlock.
Ed Upson’s 20-yard free kick had Alnwick scrambling just after the half hour mark but the ball was just a little too high.
Vela had a great opportunity just before the half time break when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box. However, he was unable to control his volley and the ball sailed over Martin’s bar.
Wanderers had Mark Beevers to thank for maintaining the stalemate as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close. A last ditch challenge by the big centre-half as Harvey Barnes went clean through on goal.
But deep into injury time, the visitors took the lead in bizarre circumstances. Morais was fouled over on the far touchline. Spearing took the free-kick and his intention was simply to put it into the danger area.
But somehow the ball curled beyond Martin and into the back of the net as it evaded touches from either team and nestled into the bottom corner to silence the majority of the crowd.
Spearing and his team-mates ran the length of the field to celebrate in front of the travelling army.
Wanderers emerged from the dressing rooms with confidence which showed in their play. Morais, impressive in the first half, continued in the same manner, putting in dangerous balls from the left.
One such effort resulted in Madine heading just over while Morais was replaced ten minutes of the restart by Clayton.
The equaliser came just before the hour mark when Wanderers failed to clear their lines. The ball fell to Agard on the edge of the box and he rifled home through a sea of legs to give Alnwick no chance.
Wanderers made their second substitution with Viv Solomon-Otabor replacing fellow debutant Long.
The hosts were dominating possession and Parkinson made his final change on 79 minutes with Le Fondre coming on for Derik.
Wanderers changed shaped with Le Fondre partnering Madine in a 4-4-2 system.
The visitors were forced into playing with ten men for the final ten minutes with Wilson going off injured. Captain Spearing dropped to right back.
Wanderers were hanging on for the point as the Dons were sensing victory, but some last gasp defending and a solid display from Alnwick ensured that Wanderers went back to BL6 with a point.