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Match Report


Posted Thu 14 Oct 10 at 12:13 PM


Hero-Helper-in-Chief Peter Leven marked stadiummk's Armed Forces Day with a goal, as MK Dons ended a run of four straight defeats against Yeovil.

Midfielder Leven smashed home a second-half penalty as Paul Ince's side twice came from behind to secure their first draw in three-and-a-half months. Their afternoon couldn't have got off to a worse start when Glovers striker Dean Bowditch fired home a Gavin Tomlin pass before a minute had registered on the clock.

And even after Sam Baldock's near-immediate response, Tomlin was again allowed to set up Shaun MacDonald to restore Yeovil's lead before the break. But on the day the Dons set aside to support Football League charity partner Help for Heroes, it was fitting that it should be Leven, whose fundraising mission for the cause prompted the day's celebration, that secured the home side a point after Terrell Forbes' foul on Aaron Wilbraham in the area.

While many Dons fans will have seen this as a winnable home game, after four successive defeats, a point offers a block for the Dons to build on as they approach the busy festive season. Leven salutes the attending Armed Forces as Jason Puncheon arrives to congratulate him.   Yes, there were still improvements required, as Ince rightly pointed out in his post-match press conference, but their refusal to be rolled over from losing positions in recent weeks depicts a team determined to put its deficiencies right.

Representatives from RAF Halton brought the matchball out prior to kick-off as part of the day's military celebrations, and it was Yeovil that got the flying start with a goal inside 40 seconds. Tomlin rode the challenge of Leven in midfield before sliding in behind for Bowditch, who nipped between Darren Powell and David McCracken to fire a shot past the exposed Willy Gueret. But even without suspended leading scorer Jermaine Easter, the Dons, particularly with livewire Baldock in attack, had the firepower to level almost instantly.

Aaron Wilbraham, whose understanding with Baldock seems telepathic at times, flicked Gueret's long clearance right into the little front-man's path and Baldock sped round Forbes to fire a low shot past 'keeper Alex McCarthy from a tight angle. It was a seventh goal in seven games for Baldock since his reintroduction to the starting eleven less than a month ago, and he looked the Dons' most dangerous weapon throughout.
But Tomlin continued to threaten a Dons defence clearly short on confidence and when he robbed Darren Powell halfway inside the Dons half, danger loomed ominously. Luke Howell did his best to hold Tomlin up, jockeying on the edge of the box, but the overload on that side of the penalty box left him with the impossible task of stopping Tomlin to his left and MacDonald to his right. Tomlin fed his team-mate and MacDonald fed the net.

 It could, and perhaps should, have got worse for the home side when Sam Williams was denied a clear run on goal by McCracken's trip on the edge of the box on 22 minutes, but referee Paul Tierney mercifully produced only a yellow card for the Dons defender. It was a decision that understandably enraged Glovers boss Terry Skiverton, and one that would have been compounded had Powell kept his header on target from a Jason Puncheon free-kick shortly afterwards.

Ince told his defenders to play higher up the pitch in the second half, an instruction which gave right-back Howell licence to bomb forward and, largely through his endeavours, the Dons started to mount the pressure they needed. Nigel Quashie ticking things over from midfield and Chadwick slicing dangerously through defenders in black and green, the home side started to look a big threat and when Puncheon swung over the latest of a succession of corners on the hour, Quashie climbed highest to pound a header against the underside of the bar.

Forbes fouls Aaron Wilbraham to concede a penalty.   It was becoming too much for Yeovil to keep out and when Quashie took over corner duties a few minutes later, his delivery was headed back by Powell and Wilbraham was hauled backwards by the struggling Forbes. Penalty given, Leven's moment looming, the ball flew straight and true into the roof of the net. Bowditch fired just wide from a well-worked free-kick as Yeovil threatened to snatch back their lead immediately, but it was the home side looking more likely by the end.

McCracken headed straight at McCarthy after Powell had won another header from a Puncheon corner, while Baldock's clever link-up play with any Dons player in his vicinity continued to worry the Glovers.

But a point was their reward for twice coming from behind - a point they will feel was hard-earned and well-deserved.

MK Dons (4-4-2): Gueret; Howell, Darren Powell, McCracken, Lewington (c); Puncheon, Quashie (Gleeson 89), Leven, Chadwick (Devaney 75); Baldock, Wilbraham.
Subs not used: Carrington, Gobern, Searle, Chicksen.
Goals: Baldock 4, Leven 65 (pen) Booked: McCracken, Puncheon, Leven Yeovil Town (4-4-2): McCarthy; Alcock (c), Forbes, Caulker, Smith; Mason (O'Callaghan 62), Kalala, Tomlin, MacDonald; Williams, Bowditch (Obika 74).
Subs not used: Martin, Stam, Welsh, Murray, Hutchins
Goals: Bowditch 1, MacDonald 17
Booked: Forbes, Kalala Attendance: 8,914 (341 away)
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

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