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Report: Orient 0-0 Dons

18 October 2014

The Dons were held to only their second goalless draw of the season in East London.

Karl Robinson’s men went close through Benik Afobe, who hit the crossbar, and Mark Randall, but they were unable to find the breakthrough.

Antony Kay, Mark Randall and Dean Bowditch replaced Tom Flanagan, Darren Potter (ill) and Will Grigg in the starting line-up from the Dons’ last league outing before the international break – a 2-0 win at Yeovil Town.

The Dons started the brighter of the two teams, with Daniel Powell being denied by Gary Woods after beating the offside trap in the second minute.

Powell was again involved shortly afterwards when Dean Lewington picked him out, but the winger’s touch let him down at the crucial time.

At the other end, Kyle McFadzean was in the right place at the right time to deny Jay Simpson’s cut-back finding Darius Henderson on the penalty spot.

Dele Alli, back from a stint with England U19s, almost produced a moment of magic to find Afobe with a 60-yard pass, but his pass, after an exquisite turn, was slightly over-hit.

The hosts were beginning to grow in confidence and the lively Batt flashed a shot wide of David Martin’s goal.

As they have all season, Karl Robinson’s men continued to look dangerous on the attack and they came mighty close to taking the lead on 20 minutes. Randall’s long-range effort was parried by Woods, who bounced up quickly to push Afobe’s rebound on to the crossbar.

Randall then fired a volley just over the top as the midway point of the first-half approached, before the competitive battle between McFadzean and Henderson continued on Orient’s next foray forward.

Simpson saw a back-post header deflected behind from a corner on 31 minutes and, after the set-piece was cleared, Shane Lowry brought the best out of Martin from fully 35 yards. A stunning shot and save.

Martin was again called into action on 36 minutes, thwarting Batt with his legs after the O’s had caught the Dons on the counter-attack.

Meanwhile, Randall was continuing to pull the strings for the men from MK1 and, after breezing past one player and nutmegging another, he found Ben Reeves, who won the Dons a corner, which came to nothing.

The Dons keeper ensured his side went in level at the break when he produced an excellent diving save to deny Henderson from the edge of the area in the final minute of the half.  

Batt fired the first chance of the second half well wide of the target while, at the other end, Bowditch’s right-wing cross landed on the roof of the net.

After a surging run forward, Jordan Spence sent an effort past the left-hand post on 53 minutes, before Powell couldn’t quite latch on to Randall’s delicate through-ball three minutes later.

The Dons’ best move of the half so far arrived on 65 minutes when Alli received the ball, drove at the O’s defence and laid on Bowditch, whose low cross was well gathered by Woods with Afobe lurking.

Having already been booked, Randall was replaced on 71 minutes by Carl Baker, who was joined on the field seven minutes later by Will Grigg after he came on for fellow Northern Ireland international Reeves.

Robinson made his third and final change with nine minutes to go, introducing Samir Carruthers for Powell as the Dons looked to snatch all three points.

Baker brought some late spark to the Dons’ play and his good work helped earn a corner with five minutes remaining, which McFadzean headed narrowly over the top.

Mathieu Brandy was sent off in the closing stages for two yellow cards however, despite some strong pressure, the Dons were unable to make their numerical advantage and had to settle for a point.  

MK Dons: Martin; Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington (c); Randall (Baker 71), Alli; Bowditch, Reeves, Powell; Afobe.

Unused subs: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Carruthers, Grigg, Hitchcock.

Bookings: Randall, Kay, Grigg.

Attendance: 5,014 (713 Dons fans).

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