Martin 'absolutely gutted' after late Bolton winner

Russell Martin could not hide his disappointment after his side conceded a stoppage time goal to lose 1-0 to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 5:53 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th November 2019, 5:54 pm
Russell Martin

After playing for the final 24 minutes with 10 men and seeing keeper Lee Nicholls save a penalty in the 89th minute, Daryl Murphy swept home in time added on to move Wanderers into positive points, while Dons' dismal run continues.

"Everyone's absolutely gutted," said the manager afterwards. "I think even a 0-0 would have lifted everyone. I wanted us to give the fans something. This is a good team, by the way. Ignore all the nonsense at the start of the season, they're not a bad side at all. I'm disappointed, but if we play like that every week, add some courage and bravery, we'll be more than ok.

"I think we were the better team for a long time, created the two best chances but didn't score. Even at 10 men, we showed a real courage and strength and a difference in our mentality. I felt it was enough for us to hold on. We just need to have more belief when we have the ball. Performance-wise, it was the best we've been for a long time but we just need more composure."

Dons' performance at the University of Bolton Stadium was the best it has been for a long time. Joe Mason, making his first start of the season, could have opened the scoring but his the post in the first half, while Jordan Bowery and Joe Walsh both missed good chances too.

But after George Williams' red card with 24 minutes to go left Dons with an uphill battle, it looked as though their resolve would break when Baily Cargill handled in the penalty area, handing the home side a spot kick. Daryl Murphy though would see his penalty saved by Nicholls, only to beat him again two minutes later to win it.

Martin continued: "(Williams) is devastated. I didn't see it, I'd turned away, but he's held his hands up, It's out of character, it's not like him. He's apologised, we have to learn from it and move on. It's a shame because he was having a great game. The game changed when he went off, we were just beginning to dominate. But the complexion changed.

"We had two chances after that, and I honestly thought we would see it out. We looked like we were enjoying it out there. I honestly thought once Lee saved the penalty, we'd see the game out. We've got eight players in the box, and somehow their striker ends up with the ball at his feet. We have to look at that. But I'm proud of what they gave me today."