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Plymouth Argyle 1 MK Dons 1

21 July 2013

A late goal from Daniel Powell helped preserve MK Dons' unbeaten run in pre-season and earn a 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle.

Powell's deflected finish four minutes from time cancelled out 17-year-old Ryan Lane's brilliant second-half goal to make it seven games without defeat for Robinson's men this summer.

Playing in their first friendly on home soil against Football League opposition, the men from MK1 arrived at Home Park eager to extend their unbeaten run heading into the final two weeks of pre-season.

And the Dons boss named a very strong starting line-up which included goalkeeper David Martin, who missed the match away at Brackley Town earlier in the week with a thigh injury, Lee Hodson, who agreed terms to join the Club late on Saturday night, and also Jason Banton, returning to his former club on his debut for the Dons.

And it was Banton’s ex-employers who had the first chance of the game through Reuben Reid but after the striker drove past Shaun Williams, he couldn’t beat Martin with a cross-goal effort. The Dons soon responded, with right-back Lee Hodson trying to make an immediate impression on his debut with a long-range effort which flew harmlessly over Luke McCormick’s goal.

Argyle came forward once again minutes later, Rommy Boco eventually heading wide, before Banton just missed the target when trying to bend a right-footed shot into the top corner. 

The best chance of the opening 15 minutes, though, fell to Pilgrims centre-back Maxime Blanchard who, after meeting a high ball 8 yards from goal, could only direct a header onto the crossbar much to relief of Martin in between the sticks.

The fiery start, in the sweltering conditions down in Devon, seemed to take it’s toll on the players as the tempo dropped considerably following Blanchard’s miss.

Nonetheless, Powell managed to create a decent chance for himself on 25 minutes but the Dons man, whose cut back completely fooled his marker, couldn’t get his left-footed shot past McCormick.

Robinson was then dealt a blow mid-way through the half when he was forced to withdraw Antony Kay following a collision with Argyle striker Marvin Morgan.

Tom Flanagan was Kay’s replacement and it was his defensive partner Dean Lewington who tried his luck with a 25-yard free-kick soon after the change, which just skimmed the crossbar. The Dons ‘skipper then forced a save out of McCormick from the edge of the box seven minutes later.

With half-time fast approaching, and the score still goalless, the Dons were presented with a great chance to break the deadlock but Alan Smith’s fierce half-volley was somehow turned wide by the impressive McCormick. After controlling Luke Chadwick's neat chip through with his heel before pulling the trigger, the former England international could only watch on as McCormick pulled off a terrific point-blank save.

Unlike the first half, the second period took a while to get going although the Dons did continue to dominate possession, keeping the ball well in and around the first and middle third.

Banton, who was arguably the Dons' only real threat in the first half, eventually sparked the second 45 into life ten minutes in when he jinked past Argye full-back Durrell Berry before picking out Chadwick with a cross. Chadwick, though, failed to squeeze his shot around substitute goalie Jake Cole, who palmed the ball away from danger.

Soon after, Banton once again got the better of Berry down the left-hand side, this time deciding to go it alone, but unfortunately his low shot was blocked amongst a crowd of players.

The Devon outfit then responded with their first chance of the half through Reid, who forced Martin into an awkward stop with a powerful effort just inside the area. The Pilgrims then had another chance five minutes later with a free-kick just outside the box but Reid couldn't beat the five-man wall.

John Sheridan then made a host of substitutions during the last of two drink breaks, introducing several youngsters eager to impress ahead of the new League season, and one of them, Luke Harvey, called Martin into action with a low shot straight from the bench, although the effort was comfortably held by the Dons' number 1.

Argyle's young side continued to create chances every opportunity they got and if not for a terrific one-handed save by Martin at the near post, Isaac Vassell could have had his name on the scoresheet.

Robinson then brought on some fresh legs in Ben Reeves, Dele Alli and Izale McLeod, the former straight into action, linking up play alongside Gleeson and Darren Potter in the middle of midfield.

However, it took a moment of brilliance from one of hosts replacements to break the deadlock and give the League 2 side the lead with just ten minutes remaining - Ryan Lane, an apprentice at Home Park, spotting Martin off his line before curling a peach of a shot around him and into the top corner.

The Dons pushed for an equaliser late on and they eventually found it four minutes from the end courtesy of Daniel Powell. The winger, who earlier threatened with a mazy run in which he took and beat four Pilgrims defenders, fired a shot on goal from the edge of the area and, after it took a wicked deflection off a defender, it bounced past the helpless Cole to preserve the Dons' unbeaten pre-season heading into Wednesday's game against Rayo Vallecano.

Plymouth Argyle: McCormick (Cole 46); Nelson, Wotton (Purrington 63), Blanchard, Berry; Boco (Richards 68), Hourihane (c) (Young 63), Blizzard, Alessandra (Lane 63); Reid (Vassell 63), Morgan (Harvey 63).

Subs not used: None

Goals: Lane 77

Martin; Hodson (Baldock 81), Kay (Flanagan 24), Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Banton (Alli 71), Chadwick (Reeves 71), Powell; Smith (McLeod 71).MK Dons (4-2-3-1):

McLoughlin (GK)Subs not used:

Powell 86Goals:

1,686 (42 away)Attendance:

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