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Report: Limerick 1-1 Dons

14 July 2015

The Dons played out a 1-1 draw with Irish Premier League side Limerick on Tuesday evening.

In their second Irish-based friendly, Karl Robinson's side took the lead courtesy of a Dean Lewington free-kick before half-time. However, they were made to share the spoils late on when Limerick forward Dean Clarke found the top corner from 10-yards.

The XI that started the clash was largely made up of those players that began on the bench in Monday’s win over St. James’s Park with Tom Hitchcock and David Martin the only exceptions – Hitchcock started the 4-0 triumph while Martin was rested as part of the pre-season goalkeeper rotation.

Just as they did in their opener on Monday, the Dons threatened goal inside the opening two minutes. Reeves played a ball through for Jennings to chase but the winger was just beaten to the ball by goalkeeper Freddie Hall.

Limerick then had two free-kicks but failed to truly test the Dons on either occasion. From the latter set-piece, the Dons were able to break but Church was flagged for offside after receiving a pass from Powell deep inside the box.

The men from MK1 went mightily close to an opener in the ninth minute when Lewington latched onto Potter’s chipped pass and crossed into the box. Reeves was there to meet it for the Dons but his low effort was saved by Hall.

Robinson’s side continued to control proceedings but offside flags and resolute defending from the Limerick back four prevented them truly testing Hall in goal.

That was until the 31st minute when Lewington stepped up to take a free-kick after Reeves was scythed down by Robbie Williams. The skipper, who scored in Monday’s friendly, drilled an effort towards goal and, with the help of a deflection, found the net and opened the scoring for the Dons. 1-0

If not for the leg of David Martin, however, the visitors’ lead would have lasted just five minutes – the Dons stopper stuck out a boot to prevent Ian Turner from finding the bottom corner after he had intercepted Joe Walsh’s pass.

Robinson’s starting XI remained the same for the start of the second half and the group almost added a second goal but Jennings’ effort, after collecting Spence’s chipped cross, rattled the crossbar.

On 53 minutes, the winger was replaced by Carl Baker, while Darren Potter, who is making his way back from knee surgery in the summer, was withdrawn for Samir Carruthers.

The Dons then made household changes with only those recently brought on remaining on the pitch and just Harry Hickford and goalkeeper Charlie Burns staying on the bench.

One of the many replacements, Tilney, went close to netting within minutes of entering the field but after being teed up by Rasulo, who his low shot was saved by substitute goalkeeper Tommy Holland.

On 79 minutes, Bowditch fired over from Tshimanga's lay-off before, at the other end, Cropper was called into action for the first time to prevent Turner's low shot from creeping in.

The American goalkeeper made an even better save minutes later when he managed to keep out a Limerick shot from point-blank range, but in the closing stages, he was beaten by Clarke, who broke through the Dons defence and fired into the top right-hand corner. 1-1.

Robinson's men did go close late on through Tshimanga but the whistled sounded without another goal scored.

Starting XI: Martin (Cropper 60); Spence (Hodson 60), Flanagan (McFadzean 60), Walsh (Kay 60), Lewington (Tilney 60); Potter (Carruthers 53), Reeves (Garvan 60); Powell (Bowditch 60), Hitchcock (Rasulo 60), Jennings (Baker 53); Church (Tshimanga 60)

Subs not used: Burns, Hickford

Goal: Lewington 30

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