Report: Bolton 1-1 AFC Wimbledon
Wanderers were forced to settle for a point against AFC Wimbledon at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Returning to the starting line-up following a lay-off through illness, Gary Madine broke the deadlock with 15 minutes on the clock with a diving header from a corner kick that gave James O’Shea no chance.
The Dons were level with seven minutes of the first half remaining however courtesy of Tom Elliott’s header with the scoreline remaining the same come full time.
Ben Alnwick returned between the sticks for Wanderers, while Gary Madine and Tom Thorpe were also included from the off after being forced onto the sidelines in recent weeks.
Wanderers, forced to attack against the North Stand for the first period unusually, started brightly and almost had the opener inside three minutes as James Shea somehow denied David Wheater’s header from close range.
It was certainly an impressive showing from the Whites early on, with the Dons struggling to keep tabs on Phil Parkinson’s men inside the opening stages.
The visitors were keen to make their own mark on the game however, although their forays into Bolton territory weren’t of much note.
With 15 minutes on the clock however, the deadlock was broken and it was Madine with the effort, powering home a diving header from a Filipe Morais corner for his ninth of the season.
Deserved on Wanderers’ part, they continued in a similar vein following their opener with them visibly not happy to settle for the one goal.
Despite Bolton’s dominance however, Wimbledon were almost level just before the half hour mark as George Francomb saw an effort inside the box blocked at the death with nobody able to turn the ball home as it pinged around in the area.
It was certainly a more open game inside the last 15 minutes of the half than it had been in the first quarter-hour, but the Trotters were dealing with any pressure that came their way with ease.
With seven minutes of the half remaining however, the visitors were level against the run of play as Elliott headed home from a Francomb cross past Ben Alnwick.
Visibly boosted by their leveller, Wimbledon proceeded to throw men forward inside the closing stages of the first period with Dominic Poleon scuffing an effort inside the 18-yard box soon after.
Come the half time whistle however, the scores were level.
With no changes for either side at the break, proceedings got back underway.
And Bolton almost retook the lead courtesy of a Morais free-kick from 25 yards, only to see his effort tipped onto the post somehow by Shea.
Wanderers were in the ascendancy, while Thorpe saw a snap-shot flash agonisingly wide of the post in the 50th minute and Le Fondre drilled the ball down the throat of Shea on the counter.
It was pretty much one way traffic for the most part come the hour mark, with Wimbledon having to be on their guard.
Shortly after meanwhile, Bolton made their first change with James Henry replacing Thorpe.
And two chances went begging for the Whites in the minutes that followed, with nobody able to turn the ball home inside the six yard box while Shea’s palms were stung by a Morais curled effort which he gathered at the second attempt.
Bolton were knocking on the door, although Will Nightingale did squander a glorious chance for the Dons with his header from an unmarked position from eight yards out.
With the final ten minutes of the game looming, it was all hands to the pump for Wanderers while Morais somehow put the ball over from ten yards after great work from Vela.
Henry was next to try his luck, only to see his drive from the edge of the box fly just wide of the post.
With three minutes of additional time indicated, it was now or never for Bolton, but they just couldn't find a winner as the game came to its conclusion with the spoils shared.