BEFORE Daryl Murphy stepped up to the spot against MK Dons on Saturday, Wanderers had waited an amazing 54 games to get a penalty in regulation time.

The last person to grab the ball and head for the spot was Josh Magennis in October 2018 but, alas, he too failed to make the chance count.

You have to go back 71 games – or nearly four-and-a-half days of continuous football – for the last time a Bolton player scored a penalty in 90 minutes, and that was Adam Le Fondre at Barnsley in April 2018.

Murphy’s miss proved to be a footnote after he struck the winner a few minutes later in injury time to hand Keith Hill’s side a third successive league success.

But in a season in which we have already seen two unsuccessful shootouts in the Trophy, Wanderers might do well to get themselves a regular taker for the months ahead.

Back in the Premier League days, one man stood out head and shoulders above the rest as the penalty king.

The late, great Gary Speed was successful with every one of the seven spot kicks he took for the club, eclipsing even Jay-Jay Okocha’s record (five scored, two missed).

By 2009, however, two players were vying for the job of Bolton’s penalty taker.

Matty Taylor boasted a 100 per cent record over the 09/10 season with three successful attempts against Arsenal, Sunderland and Portsmouth. Kevin Davies also blasted one past Chris Kirkland in a 4-0 victory against Wigan Athletic.

It was at that stage Davies, now club captain, seized the penalty reins, and the following season he scored five out of the six spot kicks he took. The solitary miss was in a 2-1 win against Arsenal, so no real damage done.

By 2011/12 there was another change. Davies missed a penalty against Wigan in a 3-1 win at the DW Stadium in October and the following month Ivan Klasnic assumed the role, netting Wanderers’ consolation in a 2-1 defeat at West Brom.

The man who stood out from the spot that season was Martin Petrov. The Bulgarian winger had already scored one against Norwich City in September and followed it up in away wins against Wolves and Aston Villa, plus the disappointing home draw against West Brom that left Owen Coyle’s side needing a win at Stoke to avoid the drop.

The 2012/13 Championship campaign had no fewer than six different penalty takers. Petrov was sold early in the season but kept up an unblemished record by scoring against Cardiff.

Craig Davies scored a winner form the spot in a 2-1 victory at Bristol City and David Ngog stepped up to slip a spot kick past Kasper Schmiechel in a 3-2 defeat to Leicester City.

Marvin Sordell doesn’t look back fondly on his time at Bolton but his record from the spot was untouchable – three from three against Sunderland, Watford and Middlesbrough.

The same can be said of Keith Andrews, who managed a credible four from four, including two in a memorably manic 5-4 defeat at Peterborough United. The Irish midfielder also scored from the spot in a draw with Millwall and a 3-1 home win against Birmingham City.

But 2013/14 was not all about penalty success. Just as Chris Eagles.

His balloon over the bar at Millwall effectively called time on Owen Coyle’s reign, with Wanderers beaten 2-1 at The Den, and two months later Eagles saw one saved by Huddersfield Town’s Alex Smithies in a 2-1 defeat at the John Smiths Stadium.

From 12 penalties in 2013/14, Wanderers got just two the following year, also bowing out of the League Cup at Tranmere on a shootout.

Andre Moritz netted one past Scott Carson in a 3-2 Championship defeat against Wigan but also missed from the spot at Prenton Park, alongside Alex Baptiste.

Matt Mills and Jermaine Beckford had scored their penalty – but the misery continued a few months later when the normally-reliable Lukas Jutkiewicz missed one at Millwall, now becoming somewhat of a graveyard for Bolton penalty takers.

Thankfully, form was restored somewhat in 2014/15, as Eidur Gudjohnsen came back to the club to score two from two against Leeds and Liverpool, in the FA Cup.

Craig Davies scored twice from the spot, one in defeat at Middlesbrough, the other a last-minute escape act to beat David Flitcroft’s Bury in the League Cup. The former Wales international did miss one, however, as Neil Lennon chalked up a win in his first game in charge at Birmingham.

Chung-Yong Lee was successful with his one and only Bolton penalty in a 3-1 win against Wigan, and by the end of the season Adam Le Fondre, then on loan from Cardiff, had taken on the mantle, netting from 12 yards against Forest.

The only blot, for Bolton, came at Molineux. Owen Garvan’s Wanderers career never recovered after Carl Ikeme saved his spot kick to level the game, and Nouha Dicko’s goal proved decisive on the day.

Young Zach Clough was the penalty success story of 2015/16, scoring all three of his efforts against Derby, Brentford and Wolves.

Elsewhere, four other takers had mixed success. Stephen Dobbie completed a memorable comeback against Ipswich with a spot kick in the 97th minute. Trailing 2-0 on 73 minutes, Lawrie Wilson scored a spectacular effort before Wellington Silva was tripped deep into stoppage time to give the veteran Scot – still banging them in for Queen of the South – his finest hour.

Liam Feeney also scored a penalty for Bolton that season, beating Wanderers old boy Ali Al-Habsi in a 2-1 defeat at Reading.

But the news was not as good for Gary Madine, who missed one in a 1-1 draw with Forest, nor Shola Ameobi, who saw his spot kick saved from Bristol City’s Frank Fielding in a 0-0 home draw. Relegation to League One brought an upturn in penalty taking as Zach Clough and Adam Le Fondre maintained a 100 per cent record with the four earned by Phil Parkinson’s side in 2016/17.

Clough – who now boasts an unblemished six from six in a Wanderers shirt – netted twice against Bury at Gigg Lane, having earned the penalties himself. The homegrown youngster also scored from the spot in a 2-2 draw with Coventry City.

Le Fondre’s solitary penalty that season was an important one, putting Bolton back on level terms against Northampton at home before Fil Morais grabbed an 82nd minute winner.

Back in the Championship for 2017/18 and Wanderers scored five from five as they stayed up by the skin of their teeth.

Le Fondre continued his spotless record, scoring against Barnsley at Oakwell and Leeds United on the opening day, while Madine also atoned for his one earlier miss with successful spot kicks in home wins against Barnsley and Cardiff.

Loanee Adam Armstrong also walked away from Wanderers with a 100 per cent record, his penalty coming in a frantic 3-2 win against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup.

The one and only penalty of last season rather summed things up at Wanderers. Rotherham’s Marek Rodak saved from Josh Magennis just after half time at the New York Stadium – although Chris Doidge did grab a late equaliser to save his blushes.

Wanderers have had just one penalty shootout in the last decade, yet two came along at once in the group stages of the Trophy.

After Harry Brockbank, James Weir and Ronan Darcy netted against Bradford City, Adam Senior and Jordan Boon’s miss meant a marginal defeat against Bradford.

Adam Chicksen then had one saved by ex-Bolton keeper Jay Lynch at Rochdale, after Ali Crawford, Dennis Politic and Thibaud Verlinden had scored from the spot.

The long wait since Le Fondre’s successful penalty at Barnsley continues for Wanderers, now stretching in 6,390 minutes of football. But will Murphy be the man to break the deadlock next time one is awarded?