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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 25 Jun 16 at 05:59 AM

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Walsall

Dean Bowditch struck late to deservedly hand MK Dons a share of the spoils at Stadium MK.

Bowditch finished superbly from just inside the box to cap a strong spell of pressure and, ultimately, earn a point.

Scott Laird’s first-half header had given the visitors the lead, but the Dons fought back and went close through Ben Reeves and Ryan Colclough, while Bowditch hit the post before his goal.

George Baldock and Samir Carruthers returned to the starting XI after suspension and injury respectively, while Paul Downing went head to head with his former side.

The Dons started the better of the two teams, with both Kieran Agard and Colclough having shots in the opening exchanges.

Reeves then tried his luck after a lovely turn away from his marker but he fired wide when under pressure from just inside the Saddlers’ box.

The men from MK1 maintained their dominance in terms of possession and territorial advantage however they were finding it difficult to create clear-cut chances against a stubborn defence.

Walsall came back into it as the game approached the half-hour mark and they went in front when Scott Laird headed home Josh Ginnelly’s cross at the back post.

Some superb defending from Paul Downing and then Jack Hendry denied the visitors doubling their lead in quick succession.

There was little further in terms of chances before the break, but the Dons started the second half with a spring in their step and Colclough forced Neil Etheridge into a smart save.

Bowditch came even closer to an equaliser on 52 minutes but his well-directed header came back off the far post.

At the other end, David Martin was alert to push away a free-kick which was had been dangerously flicked on goalwards.

After Walsall stole possession and drove forward, Erhun Oztumer curled one just wide of the post as the game past the hour mark.

The Dons responded and Colclough saw a shot deflect into the side-netting, but Walsall should have made it 2-0 when Oztumer put wide from 15 yards after a swift counter attack.

Reeves forced a fine save out of Etheridge from distance before Laird cleared Jack Hendry’s header off the line – the Dons were getting closer.

With 75 minutes on the clock, Adam Chambers brilliantly blocked Colclough’s drive after Reeves had delivered the ball into a dangerous area.

Colclough was again involved on 81 minutes when Etheridge had to expertly tip over the winger’s dipping effort from 25 yards.

The Dons’ pressure was rewarded in the final minute of normal time when Bowditch across Etheridge into the far corner – his seventh of the season.

Richie Barker’s side pressed for the winner but they couldn’t find it and had to settle for a point.

Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Hendry, Downing (GB Williams 79), Lewington (c); Upson, Carruthers (Maynard 66); Agard, Reeves, Colclough (Tshimanga 85); Bowditch.

Unused subs: Nicholls,GC Williams, Powell, Thomas-Asante.

Bookings: Carruthers, Downing.

Attendance: 8,188 (500 Walsall fans).

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