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Match Report


Posted Sat 13 Mar 10 at 20:45 PM


MK Dons were made to settle for a point in a six-goal thriller at Brentford, despite taking a third lead in stoppage time at Griffin Park.

Aaron Wilbraham's 50th Dons goal had put Paul Ince's side in front early-on before Sam Wood raced through to equalise halfway through the first period. Jermaine Easter restored the Dons' advantage from the penalty spot shortly after half-time following Mark Phillips' foul on Luke Chadwick, but Ben Strevens' close-range finish levelled for the Bees.

Wilbraham then thought he'd snatched a fortunate winner in the second minute of stoppage time, only for Brentford substitute Carl Cort to slot home at the death. Having won their last two games to keep their hopes of reaching the League 1 play-offs alive, the Dons might have settled for a point on a ground where only two sides have left with more this season.

But having put themselves in a winning position so close to the end, Ince's side left the capital feeling like a fantastic opportunity had passed them by. Brentford may have been fortunate to record a 1-0 win at stadiummk back in December - a result that gave new meaning to the term 'smash-and-grab' - but this was a far more assertive performance from Andy Scott's men.

Indeed, Wilbraham's would-be-winner - converted after a second poor mistake by on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny - would have been hard on the home side at the end of an even contest. But after two games against the Bees this season - dominating the first and leading thrice in the second - the Dons will ultimately disappointed not to take more than the one point they claimed here. They were out of the traps quickly on this occasion - Easter seeing a close-range effort blocked inside two minutes before Wilbraham reached his landmark. Szczesny came a long way to drop a James Tunnicliffe throw-in and Wilbraham was behind him to rap his 12-yard shot inside the far post.

Wilbraham celebrates his 50th goal in Dons colours.   Easter and the increasingly-impressive Mark Randall went close to extending the advantage before Brentford levelled with their first meaningful attack. With Dons bodies committed forward for another Tunnicliffe special, Brentford broke quickly and on-loan Peterborough midfielder Toumani Diagouraga found Wood charging into space from the right to stab under the advancing Willy Gueret. Charlie MacDonald, scorer of the winner back in December, saw a deflected shot saved by the Frenchman shortly afterwards, but Brentford struggled to find an end product to match their undoubted endeavor.

; The visitors' weaponry looked sharper - Peter Leven drawing a decent save from Szczesny before drilling a brilliant pass into Wilbraham that Easter fizzed just wide off his strike partner's chest. The tempo didn't cease after the break as Randall set up Leven for a shot that was well blocked before the Dons regained the lead. Chadwick's rapier-like exchange with Wilbraham on the edge of the box carved a gaping hole the Bees defence and Phillips' tug on the winger's shirt was right under the nose of referee Mike Russell.

 Phillips was lucky to avoid further punishment, Chadwick undeniably through on goal, but Easter did the necessary from the spot to notch his 18th goal of the season on 54 minutes. Brentford upped the ante and enjoyed their best spell after that as Gueret was forced to earn his corn in the ensuing minutes. MacDonald drew a solid save from the former Swansea man from a tight angle on 58 minutes.

 And after repelling Myles Weston's powerful header 12 minutes later, Gueret might have hoped for a reactive clearance from his defence. Instead the ball fell back to Weston, who headed across goal for Strevens to stab home on the stretch. Tempers began to flair momentarily as Strevens, Easter and Danny Woodards were all booked in the space of six minutes.

But Gueret's head was still clear as he produced a genuine world class reaction save to keep out a point-blank header from the disbelieving Tommy Smith. As Dean Lewington blocked brilliantly from Strevens and Cort headed onto the top of the bar just moments after his introduction, the Dons would probably have taken a point. Wilbraham challenges the Bees 'keeper to give the Dons a stoppage time lead.

But when Szczesny flapped horribly at Tunnicliffe's deep cross from the right, Wilbraham was convinced he'd won it as the ball bounced fortunately off both him and Phillips into the net. Ince appealed for concentration as the players trotted back to their own half for the restart. But he didn't get it, as several bodies were drawn to a long throw from the left and Cort had time to control and finish to leave Dons defenders on their knees.

Brentford (4-4-2): Szczesny; Phillips, Legge, Smith, Dickson; Wood, Diagouraga, O'Connor (c), Weston; MacDonald, Strevens (Cort 89).
Subs not used: Price, Bean, Foster, Saunders, Hunt, Ainsworth.
Goals: Wood 27, Strevens 70, Cort 90+4 Booked: Phillips, Dickson, O'Connor, Strevens.
MK Dons (4-3-3): Gueret; Woodards (Doumbe 80), Tunnicliffe, McCracken, Lewington (c); Randall (Gleeson 57), Leven, Carrington; Easter (Morgan 82), Wilbraham, Chadwick.
Subs not used: O'Hanlon, Gobern, Davis, Howell.
Goals: Wilbraham 11, 90+2, Easter 54 pen
Booked: Woodards, Randall, Easter
Attendance: 5,209 (431 away)
Referee: Mike Russell (Hertfordshire)

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