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Match Reports

Match Report : 18/02/2014

18 February 2014

MK Dons 0 Preston North End 0

MK Dons and Preston North End played out a goalless draw on Tuesday evening as Karl Robinson's side extended their unbeaten run to three games.

Daniel Powell went closest for the Dons with a second-half chance which was blocked on the line by  defender Tom Clarke while Keith Keane hit the base of the post for Preston North End.

Neither side, though, were able to find a decisive goal and therefore Robinson and his men were forced to settle for a point, a point which sees them climb one place to ninth in the Sky Bet League 1 table.

Karl Robinson made one change to the side which beat Oldham Athletic on Saturday with youngster Dele Alli replacing Luke Chadwick. Alli slotted in alongside Stephen Gleeson in the centre of midfield with Ben Reeves moving back to his more familiar number 10 position.

With the game taking place just four days after the passing of Preston North End and England legend Sir Tom Finney, the two clubs urged supporters to join in with a minute’s applause in the seventh minute as a mark of respect for the great man.

Before that, Preston full-back Scott Laird troubled David Martin with a long-range effort which landed atop the roof of the net while, at the other end, Samir Carruthers had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Mark Heywood after he was downed latching onto a through-ball from Izale McLeod.

The best chance of the opening 10 minutes, though, fell to winger Daniel Powell but after beating the offside trap and controlling Ben Reeves’ pass, he shot straight at Lilywhites ‘keeper Declan Rudd.

Two minutes later, the Dons were dealt a blow when loanee Samir Carruthers was forced off with an injury. He was replaced by George Baldock, whose first bit of business was to help defend a corner from which Jack King headed narrowly over.

King’s header was the closest either side came to a goal before the half-hour mark when Scott Laird’s shot was blocked bravely by Lee Hodson after the Dons right-back had been wrong-footed by Kevin Davies’ cross-field pass.

McLeod then followed-up that chance with a speculative half-volley from 20-yards which sailed wide before Martin was called into action for the first time to palm Joe Garner’s away from goal.

On 35 minutes, Powell created an opportunity for himself on the corner of the Preston box but his off-balance effort trickled harmlessly wide and then, soon after, Martin climbed bravely to punch clear a deep cross while under pressure from Garner.

Very little was created from either camp in the seven minutes that remained of the first-half which provoked Dons boss Robinson into his second change of the evening; bringing Alan Smith on in place of Lee Hodson and changing the formation to 4-3-3.

Despite the change of system, it was the visitors who started brighter in the second period, with the experienced Davies going close on a couple of occasions in the first four minutes; first forcing Martin into a save with a long-range shot before he glanced a header just wide of the post from a free-kick.

Baldock then called Rudd into action on 50 minutes with a low, left-footed shot from the edge of the area while Keane, at the other end, wasted the chance of the match, to that point, when he drilled a close-range effort against the base of the post.

Shortly after Simon Grayson made his first change of the night in the 58th minute, his side went close through their captain John Welsh, who fired over the bar after the Dons failed to deal properly with a corner.

Then, just as Preston were beginning to threaten, the Dons broke into stride and they came within a whisker of opening the scoring on the hour-mark after some terrific solo play from Powell.

The winger, who had enjoyed a difficult afternoon out on the left wing, was able to beat Preston ‘keeper Rudd to a through-ball and make room for a shot inside the box but he was denied a certain goal by the head of Tom Clarke, who had managed to get back behind the play for the visitors.

From the resulting corner, Kay went close with a header which was well saved by Rudd, low down to his left.

Laird then fired into the side netting after shrugging off the challenge of Baldock before Reeves went close to capping off a superb counter-attacking move only for Rudd to claim at his feet when deep inside the box.

It was the Dons who looked more likely to nick a winning goal as the game ticked into it's final 10 minutes but despite numerous attacks they couldn't find a way past Rudd and his stubborn backline.

Final Score: 0-0

MK Dons: Martin; Hodson (Smith 46), Kay, Spence, Lewington (c); Gleeson, Alli; Carruthers (Baldock 13), Reeves, Powell; McLeod. 

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Chadwick, Rasulo, Hall, Hickford.

Preston North End: Rudd, Keane (Brownhill 74), Clarke, Wright, Laird, Kilkenny, Wiseman (Humphrey 58), Welsh (c), King, Garner, Davies (Beavon 74).
Subs not used: Stuckman, Buchanan, Hume, Gallagher.

Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire)

Attendance: 7,279 (516 away)

Goal-Don Treble Chance HT Draw results: 10-06-15-04

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