Ian Evatt disappointed to score three without winning as Bolton held by MK Dons

Posted Sunday, August 08, 2021 by PA

Ian Evatt disappointed to score three without winning as Bolton held by MK Dons

Ian Evatt was indebted to veteran defender Alex Baptiste for Bolton’s late point but believed his team did enough to mark their return to Sky Bet League One with an opening-day victory.

Baptiste’s equaliser in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage-time ended a roller-coaster contest that saw managerless MK Dons go 1-0 up, trail 2-1 and lead 3-2 before conceding in Wanderers’ last attack for a 3-3 draw.

“When you score three goals at home you should win the game but we conceded three soft goals,” said Wanderers manager Evatt.

“So, we are disappointed not to win but there were a lot of positives.

“They’re (MK Dons) are a good team: the way they move the ball and how they rotate and play from the back. It takes intelligence from our players, when to step in, when to jump, when to press.

“I thought we got that balance spot on.

“And we created a lot of opportunities where we nicked the ball in the final third and then we just didn’t really capitalise.”

Mo Eisa gave the visitors a 22nd-minute lead and Bolton levelled with a stunning 20-yard free-kick by debutant midfielder Josh Sheehan.

Amadou Bakayoko, another of Ian Evatt’s summer captures, handed the home side a 66th-minute lead but Scott Twine made it 2-2, while Hiram Boateng edged the Dons back in front before Baptiste came to Bolton’s rescue.

Evatt added: “We didn’t deserve to be behind and it was a bad goal to concede. But we got ourselves back in it with a brilliant free-kick from Josh (Sheehan).

“At the start of the second half, we dominated, we got the goal and then they looked a bit flat and feeling sorry for themselves.

“Then there was a free-kick and an equaliser and they had the impetus. We looked sorry for ourselves.

“They went ahead with another really poor goal to concede but the lads showed great character to come back.”

More than 16,000 watched Bolton’s return and Evatt added: “Our fans went through the mill but they have all been entertained.

“They created an unbelievable atmosphere and football is nothing without its fans.”

Dons caretaker boss Dean Lewington described Baptiste’s late equaliser as “heart breaking”.

He said: “It’s a good point against a good team but just the way it happened, it feels low.

“The boys did great and put their bodies in the way and overall I am very pleased.”

Lewington again confirmed he is not in the frame to replace former boss Russell Martin on a permanent basis.

“I just await a phone call to see if I am taking training on Monday,” he added. “I am doing the job to the best of my ability to keep things ticking over.

“It was a strange feeling. My heart rate was 180; it never stooped.

“I tried to embrace it and do it to the best of my ability and enjoy it as best as could. It is a pity we didn’t get the win.”

Lewington, however, was pleased for substitute Hicham Boateng whose 84th-minute goal looked set to be the winner.

Boateng was frozen out under Martin and celebrated wildly when he edged the visitors in front.

“Hiram had been in the wilderness previously,” said Lewington. “I said to him at training ‘you are back in the fold, and we want to use you’.

“I am really pleased for ‘H’ because it’s been a difficult 12 to 18 months.”


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