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Match Report


Posted Sat 17 Dec 11 at 19:20 PM


Paul Parry's seventh minute header was enough for managerless Preston North End to beat MK Dons 1-0 at stadiummk, ending their run of seven successive victories and their unbeaten home record.

The Dons had not been beaten at stadiummk in the League for eight months, but a tough, resolute Preston side were able to get the solitary goal needed and keep a clean sheet despite having their backs against the wall throughout the second half.

Stephen Gleeson and Jabo Ibehre both called on saves from Thorstem Stuckmann yet a barrage of bodies prevented the Dons from finding the equaliser that they desperately wanted.

The two teams could not have been more different in terms of form and stability entering the game with the Dons announcing Karl Robinson and John Gorman have signed new deals on the back of seven successive wins, while Preston had seen their manager Phil Brown depart after a poor run of form.

However, it was the visitors that started the game the brightest with Ian Hume finding himself in the right place at the right time to get on the end of Paul Coutt's cross from the byline, but the difficult chance evaded him as he knocked the ball over.

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Preston captain for the afternoon Coutts then found himself in the referee's book for diving in the fifth minute when there appeared to be minimal contact with Dean Lewington just inside the box.

The majority of the phases were played in the Dons' half and Preston's intent in the game was made clear when a cross from the right flank came in for Paul Parry to powerfully head past David Martin to give them the lead with only seven minutes on the clock.

Some sloppy play on the halfway line almost cost the Dons a second goal when David Mayor raced on the counterattack and with Coutts making a run into the box it seemed a certain goal, but Stephen Gleeson had found the pace to track back and made a telling challenge that was enough to disrupt the shot which hit the outside of the post.

The high defensive line played by the Dons encouraged Preston to attack and with the pace and delivery of Mayor it caused a few heart-in-mouths moments for Dons fans, no more so when the winger again was able to cross into the six-yard box but Mark Beevers was able to intercept before Neil Mellor could tap in at the far post.

A foul on Adam Smith in the 20th minute offered the Dons a shot at goal, and the gladly took theopportunity yet Dean Lewington's delivery lacked the power to truly cause problems and it was an easy collection for Lillywhites' goalie Thorsten Stuckmann

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The game opened up allowing the Dons to come more into the play and they began to create the chances that could provide an equaliser when Dean Bowditch's curling shot fell just wide.

Desperate to get back on level terms the Dons piled forward and when Charlie MacDonald raced to get his outstretched foot on the end of Bowditch's cross, which had been whipped in at pace, he collided with Stuckmann, much to the anger of the Preston keeper.

Preston were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark when Mellor, who had scored a hat-trick against the Dons for Sheffield Wednesday a season early, went off injured

Another chance from a free-kick came to the Dons, but they failed to take advantage again when Bowditch struck the ball with too much lift and left Stuckmann untested. The Dons finished the half on the ascendancy with two corners in quick succession, neither of which Preston handled particularly well and a driven shot from close range from MacDonald was well closed down by the visitors' back four

The Dons burst out of the blocks in the second half to get back on level terms, when Jamie McCombe fouled MacDonald it offered another free-kick for Lewington. This time he whipped the ball in for MacKenzie but David Gray took the ball out for a corner, which provided no rewards for the Dons.

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The hosts continued to threaten a goal when Adam Smith, who had been quiet by his own high standards, lofted in a cross to MacDonald to get the slightest nod on but Jabo Ibehre couldn't manage the final touch needed to beat Stuckmann

They did manage to test the Preston goalie minutes later when Luke Chadwick somehow managed to keep the ball in at the byline to cross back into the left of the box where Gleeson struck with a fine volley only for Stuckmann to produce a fine save.

Some wonderful football from the Dons, starting from the back like their normal style, moved them ever close when some great interplay between MacDonald and Chadwick paved the way for Ibehre to get the ball a yard inside the box only to fire straight at the goalie.

MacDonald was having a torrid time up front, not due to his play but the physical nature of the game apeared to have an impact on stopping him play. When the forward was pulled back with no foul being noted, the Dons management were left fuming on the bench

Adam Smith came within inches of the leveller ten minutes from time when he was alert enough to take a free-kick, tucked tight to the right touchline, quickly and his dipping direct shot went just over the bar.

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The second half had been all Dons, but Preston's continued ability to stop play began to frustrate the home side and the fans inside stadiummk.

It appeared it would not be the Dons' day as the opportunities they carved continued to evade them when Gleeson's drive from 18-yards picked up a slight touch on Mark Beevers, and the ball was dragged wide of the post.

Pushing everyone forward in the closing minutes was a risky tactic, when Juvhel Tsoumou picked up the ball just inside the Dons' half he was all but clear through to goal. However, Martin was alert and able to smother the ball to kill the threat.

Conor McLaughlin also rattled the upright in the final minutes but Dons have every right to feel hard done by to walk away without reward.

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Smith, MacKenzie, Beevers, Lewington (c); Gleeson, Potter; Chadwick (O'Shea 86), Ibehre (Balanta 65), Bowditch (Powell 74); MacDonald.

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Kouo-Doumbe

Booked: Potter

Preston North End: Stuckmann, Gray, Morgan, Hume (Tsoumou 66), Coutts (c), Smith, Mayor, Parry (McLaughlin 82), Mellor (Barton 31), Doyle, McCombe.
Subs not used: Turner, Carlisle.

Booked: Coutts, McCombe, S Smith, McLaughlin

Goal: Parry 7

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

Attendance: 8,009 (392 away)

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