MK Dons Under-18s shared the spoils with Watford in an entertaining 4-4 draw at Woughton-on-the-Green on Tuesday.
The Dons dominated the first half and created a number of good chances and arguably could have taken the lead on 25 minutes after a square ball from Tshimanga across the box found Lawrence Vaughan.
Although it looked easier to score, Vaughan’s shot hit the Watford player that had worked his way back onto the goal-line and the visitors managed to clear the danger.
The hosts did eventually go in-front on 38 minutes after the ball came to Adam Hunt in the penalty area. Although his first effort was blocked, the ball came back to the centre-half who finished calmly giving the Dons a 1-0 advantage.
As they had done in their previous home game, the Dons scored just after the break when Tshimanga finished off at the third attempt to make it 2-0 after previous efforts had been blocked by the Hornets keeper and cleared from in front of the line.
Straight from the kick-off the visitors found a way back into the match with a goal scored from inside the box to make it 2-1 after a smart passing move upfield. On 54 minutes another good passing move was finished off inside the penalty area as the Dons were pegged back to 2-2.
The momentum of the game had completely switched and four minutes later the Hornets were ahead 3-2 as the ball was stroked home from inside the penalty area by the visiting striker.
After riding the Watford storm, the Dons slowly began to regain some control of the game and on 74 minutes they should have levelled after a real goalmouth scramble.
An initial shot from the left side of the penalty box from a Dons player clipped the post. The rebound was blocked by a Hornets player and ricocheted back to a Dons player whose shot rebounded off the upright before the follow-up was skewed wide by a yellow shirt.
Eventually, a deserved leveller came the home side’s way on 84 minutes as forward Kevin Owusu made it 3-3 with an impressive dipping half-volley right-footed from the edge of the box which flew into the net.
But, for a second time, the Dons were caught out from the kick-off and conceded an equaliser instantly. The visitors number nine again rolled the ball home from inside the box after a smart passing move up the left side of the pitch to make it 4-3 to the Hertfordshire side.
Once again the Dons did not allow their heads to drop and they levelled again on 89 minutes when Tshimanga finished from the edge of the box to make it 4-4.
As the match entered stoppage time the Dons looked the likelier to win it and could easily have done so in the 92nd minute, however after hat-trick seeking Tshimanga’s effort was blocked he was unable to finish the rebound off.
A typically frantic match for the Dons, who despite fighting back well after going behind twice in the second half, will reflect on missed opportunities and lapses in concentration which arguably stopped them from getting another home win.
After the match Director of Youth Mike Dove said: “In the first half we were by far the better team but we just weren’t ruthless enough in the final third.
“It should have been at least 3-0 at half-time and we would have been in a better position but we came out and got our early goal but then we completely switched off.
“I was frustrated by how we defended and also our attitude and mindset for that period. Overall, we made real hard work of the game and a couple of errors led to goals – missed chances and lack of concentration from us was very frustrating.”
MK Dons (3-4-1-2): McCorkell; Daffern, Hunt, Brittain (Steele 74); Vaughan, Wiltshire, Weston (Hadden 61), Tilney; Furlong; Owusu, Tshimanga.
Subs not used: Schulz, Kiosi, Osei-Bonsu.
Goals: Hunt 38, Tshimanga 47, 89, Owusu 84.