Jamie Pollock rendered the catalogue of missed chances all the more frustating by sweeping his side ahead after 91 minutes. Wimbledon's fate was sealed when their central defender Brian McAllister helped Peter Beardsley's cross into his own goal.
Wimbledon's early assurance and adventure might have given them control of this tie before Bolton could gather themselves, but by half-time Colin Todd's team were ruing a carelessness in front of goal that has so far blighted their Premiership life at their splendid new home.
John McGinlay was particularly profligate, spurning two extra second- half opportunities, and paid with his place in the team seven minutes from the end of normal time.
This competition may have scant appeal for some of the Premiership's more sophisticated members, but these two sides patently relished an opportunity to find relief from the pressures of League football.
The Dons set about their job with the vigour of a team intent on heading back to the motorway as quickly as possible. Vinnie Jones rumbled forward in the sixth minute only to shoot like a juggernaut, but his colleagues got the message.
Efan Ekoku ran at and passed the Bolton defence with rather more menace than conviction, and Keith Branagan was thankful to field his low cross shot at the second attempt. Stewart Castledine ventured still closer before having his path blocked.
At the other end Beardsley began to play himself into the game and engineered a channel into Wimbledon's area. He was repelled by weight of numbers. Alan Thompson wanted too much time and Beardsley's drive was deflected over.
Thompson threatened, Pollock threatened and Beardsley probed incessantly, but McGinlay's profligacy meant Bolton had to wait to celebrate.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Branagan; Bergsson, Todd, Taggart, Whitlow; Pollock, Frandsen, Thompson, Sellars; McGinlay (Gunnlaugsson, 83), Beardsley. Substitutes not used: Ward, Phillips.
Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Perry, McAllister, Thatcher; Euell (Kimble, 104), Ear le, Jones, Castledine; Ekoku (Cort, 72), Gayle (Clarke, 72).
Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).Reuse content