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Match Report


Posted Sat 15 Oct 11 at 17:03 PM


Clinton Morrison's third goal in as many games rescued a point for MK Dons as they were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw by AFC Bournemouth. The on-loan Sheffield Wednesday striker bundled home the equaliser ten minutes from time, but the return of a solitary point would have been disappointing for the Dons who had led the game through Angelo Balanta's first-half goal and looked comfortable with their advantage. However, slack defending allowed the lively Wesley Thomas find a leveller and 13 minutes later a mistake from birthday boy Gary MacKenzie gift wrapped his second and a possible winner for the visitors. A late rally from the Dons, showing character in the process, saw Morrison find the all important second to ensure Karl Robinson's men weren't left empty handed from an absorbing game against a Bournemouth side who were solid, organised and hard working. Welcoming back Adam Smith from international duty, and with Charlie MacDonald available from the bench for the first time in over a month, the Dons had a strong team on show. Inside the opening minute the Dons had displayed their touches of class as Clinton Morrison, who took an early knock but quickly shook it off, showed good vision to release the home side and Luke Chadwick's neat flick on found Angelo Balanta on the edge of the box. The creative midfielder took several high touches as he attempted to fully control the ball, only to misfire with the final effort. To combat the Dons' fluid style Bournemouth set up with a five-man midfield, which worked well for the visitors as they pressed high up the pitch and tried to stop Darren Potter and Stephen Gleeson from controlling the tempo of the game. The Cherries had the pace of lone striker Wesley Thomas to work in their favour when they had the chance to attack, but it was a fine ball from Stephane Zubar into the path of Adam Barrett that caused the Dons problems. Picking up the ball on the edge of the box, Barrett curled a superb first time effort with his right boot to call on a fingertip save from David Martin.
There was little to separate the two sides, although the Dons were having more of the possession in the final third Bournemouth were solid in their defensive duties in a game that was played at a good tempo. While the Dons may not have had the space they are normally afforded, they were still able to play the intricate football to create the pathways needed to see through to goal. As always, the Dons committed men forward with Adam Smith pushing down the right flank to fire through at goal. The strike was intercepted by Morrison with a deft touch before pulling the ball back to Potter. The movement was impressive, but when Potter pulled the trigger it was inches off target. The absorbing game had action at either end with Angelo Balanta in particular finding himself in the thick of it when he fired over after good work from Smith and Luke Chadwick on the right. On the counter-attack Balanta was again released into space, with his sight at Darryl Flahavan's goal blocked, he dragged the cross into the path of Chadwick, whose clever dummy allowed Gleeson to shape up only to take his shot wide. The pairing of Harry Arter and Thomas was a continued threat to the Dons and when the two eased through the defence it was left to a difficult and last-ditched tackle from Smith to take the ball from the feet of Thomas when a goal for the Cherries seemed certain. Patience was the key for the Dons and it paid off two minutes before the interval when Lewington fizzed a terrific cross in and Balanta ghosted through to apply an intelligent finish at the near post to break the deadlock. There was an argument that the Dons should have had the opportunity from the penalty spot when a clumsy challenge from Purches brought Dean Bowditch to ground, but appeals were waved away. Dons exploded out of the blocks in the second half, almost catching Bournemouth cold in the process as Lewington once again burst down the left side to deliver another pinpoint-perfect cross for the Bowditch. The forward's brilliant run was greeted by an even better first touch; from an impossible angle he rattled a shot against the post only for Barrett to clear the lines before the ball could trickle over the line. Bowditch's play throughout indicated he was hungry for a goal and the frustration was written all over his face when Smith's incredible cross from the byline was matched at the opposite side of the box with a diving header from Bowditch, but he couldn't steer it past Flahavan. The Dons were on the up, even centre-back Mark Beevers wanted a slice of the action and his 30-yard drive was fumbled for a corner by the Cherries keeper. However, it was a mistake by Robinson's men that resulted in the next game at stadiummk. A free-kick deep from the left shouldn't have carried much threat, but as Warren Cummings' delivery was played into the box the Dons remained static and failed to track the movement of Thomas who was able to head the equaliser past Martin. The Dons had been in control until the leveller was found, at which point Bournemouth found their rhythm and quickly turned the screw. As is the risk with playing football from the back, MacKenzie made a fatal error as his pass was intercepted by Thomas and the Bournemouth striker had bags of energy, taking the ball on his right foot and rifling the ball home to take the lead. The Scotsman helped make amends for his error ten minutes from time when he acted as the perfect foil to head a wonderful diagonal cross from Balanta on for Morrison. The Sheffield Wednesday loanee has a habit of being in the right place at the right time and that showed as he knocked the ball beyond Flahavan to square the score. Charlie MacDonald, on as a sub after a month-long lay-off, came close to marking his comeback with a winner when his great skill allowed him to turn in the box to connect with a deflected cross, unfortunately for him his clever attempt to chip the keeper was well read by Flahavan. But that was to be it in terms of goals as honours remained even. MK Dons (4-3-2-1): Martin; Smith MacKenzie, Beevers, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Chadwick (MacDonald 74), Balanta, Bowditch (Powell 71); Morrison Subs unused: Kouo-Doumbe, Williams, McNamee. Goals: Balanta 43, Morrison 80 AFC Bournemouth: Flahavan, Cooper (Symes 46), Thomas (Partington 76), Peters (Fogden 90), Pugh, Gregory, Purchs, Cummings, Barrett (c), Zubar, Arter. Subs unused: Jalal, Fletcher. Goals: Thomas 60, 73 Referee: James Adcock (Nottingham) Attendance: 8, 927 (487 away)

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