Bolton 3-1 MK Dons: Bolton dismiss MK Dons
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 23/01/16 7:01pm
Bolton defender Rob Holding scored his first senior goal as his rock-bottom side boosted their survival hopes with a 3-1 Sky Bet Championship victory over fellow strugglers MK Dons at the Macron Stadium.
Holding, 20, fired Neil Lennon's team in front after seven minutes before skipper Darren Pratley's strike doubled Wanderers' advantage before the break.
Despite being second best for much of the game, Karl Robinson's visitors threatened to steal a point when Josh Murphy pulled a goal back in the final minute.
But a stoppage-time goal on his farewell appearance from substitute Shola Ameobi ensured back-to-back wins for Bolton for the first time since December 2014.
The cash-strapped Lancastrians remain adrift at the bottom and still face an uncertain future, but after another testing week in which administrative staff went unpaid despite the club escaping a High Court winding-up order, the Trotters ended it in the best possible manner.
Both teams kicked-off on the back of confidence boosting midweek FA Cup replay wins. Wanderers knocked out Eastleigh 3-2 and MK Dons earned a home tie with Chelsea courtesy of a 3-0 win over Northampton.
That victory came at a cost for Robinson's side with Matthew Upson and Nicky Maynard added to a lengthy injury list because of hamstring problems and was livid when Bolton went in front through the unlikeliest of sources.
Rookie defender Holding made the initial break to win a free kick from which Wanderers scored in debatable circumstances.
Gary Madine's challenge on 'keeper David Martin was not adjudged a foul and the ball bounced on to the bar and back into play for Holding to score.
MK Dons should have levelled with a free header from unmarked Joe Walsh but the defender's effort hit the crossbar and went over.
Despite being on the end of a string of free kicks, Bolton created the better chances with Jake Forster-Caskey clearing Madine's header off the line while Arsenal loanee Wellington Silva was foiled by Martin's save.
It was no surprise when Pratley squeezed home his third goal in five games, helped by a deflection off Jordan Spence, just before the break.
Wanderers threatened to put the result beyond doubt at the start of the second half when Madine tested Martin with a low shot as the Trotters looked to score three goals for only the second time in a Championship game this season.
They continued to squander chances while substitute Dean Bowditch forced Ben Amos into a rare stop and when Murphy curled in a right foot effort to halve the deficit, the Bolton fans feared the worst.
Instead, Ameobi, who now becomes a free agent after his short term deal with the club, rolled in Wanderers' third and left the home supporters singing in the rain.