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Memorable match: Walsall

4 June 2014 takes a look back at the 3-0 victory over Walsall at Banks’s Stadium in February as part of the memorable match series.

Karl Robinson’s side were without a win in five heading into the clash in West Midlands but two fine goals from striker Izale McLeod either side of a Ben Reeves penalty earned them a valuable three points.

McLeod was making his first start for the Dons in just over two months and he looked eager to impress early-on, going close to scoring inside the first ten minutes with a fierce left-footed shot which hit the side netting.

The Club’s all-time leading goalscorer then created another opportunity for himself soon after, controlling Gleeson’s high ball on his chest before beating Paul Downing for pace but, after fooling both he and Andy Butler with a cutback, his shot was saved by Walsall’s ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell.

The Dons were by far the better side in the opening half an hour and they eventually found the goal they deserved in the 29th minute courtesy of the cheekiest of goals from the lively McLeod.

McLeod, who had scored just one League goal for the side all season, showed great composure to, first, control a pass deep inside the Walsall box and then lift a delightful chip over O’Donnell and into the corner of the net. 

Robinson’s men refused to take their foot of the gas after breaking the deadlock and midfielder Reeves had a chance to double the advantage from the edge of the area straight from kick-off but his shot was blocked by Butler.

Reeves did, though, add his name to the scoresheet from the penalty spot after the visitors were awarded a penalty just before half-time following a foul on McLeod inside the area which also saw the culprit, Butler, dismissed.

After the re-start, the Dons’ Aston Villa loanee Samir Carruthers dragged a right-footed shot just wide of the post before the same man forced a good save out of O’Donnell after cutting inside.

Walsall, however, began to grow into the contest and they put the Dons under heavy pressure as the game entered the final half an hour.

First, Craig Westcarr blasted a shot over the crossbar before Sam Mantom curled a shot just wide of David Martin’s right-hand upright.

The Saddlers then introduced the giant Michael Ngoo but it was the striker at the other end of the field that was stealing all the headlines and in the 70th minute he sealed the contest with his second of the afternoon.

It was Lewington who this time provided the assist with a defence splitting ball which McLeod, much to the adulation of the 362 travelling supporters, controlled and fired past O’Donnell to make it three-nil.

Walsall did have a late chance to reduce the deficit when Antony Kay was adjudged to have fouled Ngoo inside the area but the Liverpool loanee, who took the penalty himself, was denied by a fantastic Martin save from 12-yards.

Match stats
Walsall: O'Donnell, Purkiss, Butler (c), Chambers, Mantom, Lalkovic, Westcarr (Ngoo 64), Downing, Benning, Sawyers (McQuilkin 81), Brandy (Featherstone 77).

Subs: Lewis (GK), Hemmings, Baxendale, Hewitt.

Sent off: Butler 43

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Hodson, Spence, Kay, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Carruthers, Reeves, Powell; McLeod.

Subs: McLoughlin (GK), Chadwick, Smith, Alli, Baldock, Galloway, Hall.

Goals: McLeod 29, 70; Reeves (pen) 44

Attendance: 4,136 (362 away)

Click here to watch full highlights courtesy of MK Dons Player

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