Boateng is back with a bang after a long time in the cold
Bolton Wanderers 3-3 MK Dons
It was so close to being a fairy tale story for Hiram Boateng. Brought back from the cold by Dean Lewington after 20 months in the doldrums at Stadium MK and 20 seconds away from scoring the winner on his return.
Boateng was signed by Paul Tisdale in the summer of 2019, but was quickly cut from the side when Russell Martin took over. Having not kicked a ball in a Dons shirt since January 7 2020, Boateng spent last season helping Cambridge United secure promotion from League Two. Back at Stadium MK though, he barely kicked a ball in pre-season and was told he was surplus to requirements.
Not even issued with a squad number until Monday, Lewington knew he would need bodies this week, especially with the injury to David Kasumu ruling him out for six-to-eight weeks, and brought Boateng back into the fold during the week and naming him amongst the substitutes at Bolton in the opening day fixture.
Bringing him on with the game finely poised at 2-2 with 10 minutes to go, Boateng repaid the interim manager's faith with a goal just three minutes later, turning home Daniel Harvie's cross in what he thought was going to be the winner.
He would then head away a Bolton attempt deep into stoppage time, but Dons hearts would break with 20 seconds to go when Alex Baptise turned in Bolton's equaliser.
Despite suffering a difficult time under Martin, Boateng said his mentality never changed and he remained committed to helping Dons however he could.
"This week has been the same mentality I've had throughout," he said. "You have tests in your career and there will be managers who don't want you. It's down to you to put your all in and do it for yourself.
"I knew if I was called on, I'd give my all for the club. I've been here two years, it's the place I want to be and hopefully I can keep repaying the club and showing what I can do."
On the game, he said: "It was a crazy game. The intensity was mad, and the boys gave it their all today. IT's disappointing not to get the three points because we should've. It's testament to everyone after a tough week.
"We've got a lot of togetherness and team-spirit. It feels like a deeper bond in the team in the last week or so. Everyone put their all in. We made some mistakes we need to rectify but everyone gave a good account of themselves."
Lewington added: "I'm pleased for H. First of all, he's an excellent player with loads of qualities. For whatever reason under Russ, he wasn't fancied. That happens in football with certain managers. We were short on players, but he has so much quality we put him back in.
"I'm so pleased for him to get the goal, and you could see what it means for everyone for him to score."