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Match Report


Posted Fri 20 Jun 14 at 17:47 PM

Report: Walsall 1-1 Dons

Will Grigg scored against his former club as the Dons drew 1-1 with Walsall in an entertaining encounter at the Banks’s Stadium.

The Northern Ireland international cancelled out Tom Bradshaw’s opener as the men from MK1 ended a run of three straight defeats.

David Martin and Dean Lewington returned after a thigh injury and suspension respectively for Ian McLoughlin (dead leg) and Joe Walsh, while Ben Reeves replaced Devante Cole.

Reeves fired over from 25 yards while, at the other end, Jordy Hiwula’s cut-back was cleared as the opening exchanges were evenly contested.

However, it was the hosts who went ahead on eight minutes when Tom Bradshaw climbed highest in the box to head home from 12 yards. 1-0

The men from MK1 responded and, after nice build-up play involving Samir Carruthers and Reeves, Carl Baker forced a smart save from Richard O’Donnell.

Karl Robinson’s side had strong penalty appeals waved away on 20 minutes when Darren Potter appeared to be tripped as he tried to turn and cross for a team-mate. 

The offside flag saved the Saddlers on the half-hour mark when Grigg played a perfect pass into Reeves, who was clearly bundled to the floor inside the box.

They were level on 33 minutes though as Grigg turned home an inch-perfect cross from Dean Bowditch – his 13th goal of the season and one against his former side. 1-1

Grigg could have had a second six minutes later but the 23-year-old was thwarted by the legs of O’Donnell before the ball bounced up and struck the former’s hand, prompting the referee to blow his whistle.

Romaine Sawyers flashed an effort wide on a rare foray forward for the Saddlers, who almost found themselves 2-1 down on 43 minutes although Jordan Spence’s shot went agonisingly past the right-hand post.

The Dons started the second half in confident mood and Carl Baker crossed for Bowditch, who flicked it goalwards but it was blocked and the Saddlers survived.

Another dangerous Carl Baker had to be turned behind on 56 minutes as the Dons began to up the ante – Antony Kay headed the resulting corner over the top.

At the other end, McFadzean came to the Dons’ rescue, clearing Adam Chambers’ powerful header off the line before Potter got an important boot in during a good spell for the hosts.

Chances were coming at both ends now and Carl Baker curled an effort over the top after a quick counter-attack, which included a purposeful drive from the impressive Carruthers.

Kay flashed a shot wide from 25 yards before substitute Lewis Baker couldn’t get enough on Carl Baker’s cross and O’Donnell easily gathered with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Saddlers sub Anthony Forde forced a save from Martin while, at the other end, Powell pulled his effort just past the left-hand post on 83 minutes.

Martin ensured the Dons remained on level terms on 88 minutes, brilliantly pushing Sam Mantom’s 25-yard effort over the bar.

The Dons were the better team in injury-time and O’Donnell had to be alert to tip James O’Connor’s wayward header away from danger in front of substitute Devante Cole, who crossed when he perhaps should have shot when well placed in the final action of the game.

MK Dons: Martin; Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington (c); Potter, Carruthers; C Baker, Reeves (L Baker 77), Bowditch (Powell 69); Grigg (Cole 90).

Unused subs: Burns, Hodson, Green, Hitchcock.

Bookings: Potter, McFadzean.

Goals: Grigg (33).

Attendance: 3,887 (473 Dons fans)

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