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Thomason & Johnston form, set piece goal, top six – Five ups from Bolton’s win over MK Dons

Wanderers took the lead when Gethin Jones was brought down in the box by Dawson Devoy. Dion Charles stepped up to thump home from the penalty spot and give the Whites the advantage.

The visitors doubled their lead after the break when Jones rose highest to head home from Jack Iredale's free-kick. The win could have been by a greater margin but Wanderers picked up a valuable three points which sees them rise to fifth in the table.

Here, we analyse the win from a Wanderers perspective and pick out the positives from an impressive performance on the road.

Ups

Charles off the mark in the league

No strikers had scored for Wanderers in League One so far this season before yesterday evening. Fortunately, the pressure had been eased by goals coming from other areas of the pitch.

But when Wanderers were correctly awarded a penalty on the half hour mark, Charles stepped up and ended the goalscoring drought for Bolton's strikers in the league. It was so well struck it nearly took the net out.

Charles perhaps could have had a hat-trick last night too. He took a touch before being challenged by Jake Tucker before he opened the scoring as an opportunity came and went.

He was denied by Jamie Cumming in the second half as well as meeting a Conor Bradley cross. Though he perhaps could have scored more, Charles is fully fit and firing now and is off the mark in League One.

Set piece goal scored

If there has been a criticism levelled at Wanderers since Ian Evatt took charge, it is that they do not score enough from set pieces. Wanderers went a little towards changing that last night.

Iredale's delivery earlier in the encounter had been off key. But this one was spot on as he whipped in a brilliant delivery into the box.

Bolton vice-captain Jones rose highest to thump home a header off the bar. It was his first goal since May 2021.

Wanderers need to continue with this area of goals as it is a valuable source of strikes and can well decide matches. But the one scored against the Dons showed they can get to grips with them and take advantage of those situations.

Thomason impresses again

Evatt had suggested pre-match that the game against MK Dons was a similar one to the clash against Charlton. It was therefore not a surprise to see almost the same team named.

Within that was George Thomason, who impressed against the Addicks and was given another opportunity against the Dons. It was a chance he grabbed with both hands.

He was impressive in possession once more, combative and eager to press, and won free kicks for Wanderers on several occasion. He even came close to scoring in the first half.

Thomason remains in a hugely competitive area of the squad for Evatt. However, with performances like this continuing to be shown, it will be a brave call to drop the youngster as he shows all what he is capable of.

Johnston Evatt's undroppable so far

George Johnston has played every single minute of the season for Wanderers. That is not just League One too, but also the cup competitions as well.

He has not been dropped so far this season by Evatt, even to preserve freshness. But his performances on the pitch have shown why.

The young defender has had a great start to the season and his abilities at the back have rarely been called into question. His one on one defending and his ability to time tackles to perfection was on show at Stadium MK.

Clean sheet and back in the top six

The victory moved Wanderers back into the play-off places. The Whites had been just outside them heading into the fixture.

But three points combined with results elsewhere saw Bolton move back into the top six. They sit fifth in the table and six points from top spot now.

Next up is hosting Peterborough United at home on Saturday. A win against a side relegated from the Championship last season who have lost their last five games in all competitions would be another big boost to Wanderers' promotion credentials in the early stage of this campaign.

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