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Report: Rochdale 0-1 MK Dons

20 August 2016


Report: Rochdale 0-1 MK Dons

20 August 2016

Scott Wootton scored a last-minute header on his MK Dons league debut to secure a dramatic victory at Rochdale.

Wootton powered home Ed Upson’s free-kick to make it three away victories on the bounce for Karl Robinson's men, who could have gone ahead earlier but the returning Ben Reeves saw his penalty saved.

Nicky Maynard and Kabongo Tshimanga also went close before Wootton won it, while David Martin was in fine form between the sticks including making a stunning save to deny Ian Henderson in the final 10 minutes.

Kieran Agard (thigh) and Darren Potter (hip) missed out due to injury while defender Paul Downing was ill, but Reeves was back in the squad after recovering from a calf injury. Youngsters Ben Tilney, Giorgio Rasulo, Brandon Thomas-Asante and Kabongo Tshimanga were on the bench.

After riding out some early pressure, the Dons began to exert themselves and created a number of chances in the process.

Dean Lewington saw a free-kick blocked before Nicky Maynard’s flicked header was saved by Conrad Logan after Joe Walsh had helped on Ed Upson’s corner.

Shortly afterwards, two further opportunities fell to Maynard, who almost got on the end of a George C Williams cross before he fired over in a crowded penalty area. These came either side of a header from Joe Walsh which was blocked.

Logan then kept out Upson’s 20-yard free-kick as the men from MK1 continued to ask questions while, at the other end, Walsh dealt with a rare Dale attack thanks to a strong header.

Walsh’s centre-back partner – Scott Wootton, who was making his league debut for the Dons, also made an equally-important clearance just past the half-hour mark.

David Martin made his first save of the afternoon five minutes later when he got down well to block Matthew Lund’s low drive from 15 yards as the game began to even out.

With the half-time whistle approaching, Daniel Powell beat his man and whipped in a cross but it was cleared in front of the lurking GC Williams.

Martin was called into action early in the second half, comfortably pushing away Lund’s 20-yard free-kick after Upson had fouled Ian Henderson.

Upson, himself, curled a set-piece not too far over the top two minutes later before his team-mate Walsh blocked a goal-bound effort from Lund.

The Dons went close on the hour mark when Maynard was denied by Conrad Logan after controlling Powell’s cross and getting a shot off. GC Williams couldn’t turn home the rebound before penalty appeals were waved away for a potential foul on Samir Carruthers.

At the other end, Lund headed over prior to bringing a save out of Martin from 25 yards – the Dons were limiting Rochdale to half-chances.

Reeves made a welcome return to action on 70 minutes and he almost made an immediate impact but he was tackled at the crucial time after Maynard had been brilliantly denied by Logan. Very close to an opener.

Rochdale also went close on 76 minutes when, after Robinson’s men had failed to clear, Jamie Allen fired over from 15 yards.

Two minutes later, the Dons were given a golden opportunity to take the lead but, after winning the penalty himself, Reeves saw his penalty saved by the legs of Logan.

The men from MK1 had Martin to thank on 84 minutes when he made a stunning stop to deny Henderson’s close-range header finding the back of the net.

Man-of-the-match Logan then pulled off a superb double save to deny Powell and substitute Tshimanga while, at the other end, Calvin Andrew put wide from inside the six-yard box.

However, the Dons won it in the final seconds when Wootton rose highest at the back post to spark wild celebrations.

Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Walsh, Wootton, Lewington (c); Upson, Carruthers; GC Williams, Bowditch (Reeves 70), Powell; Maynard (Tshimanga 87)

Unused subs: Nicholls, GB Williams Tilney, Rasulo, Thomas-Asante

Bookings: Upson

Goal: Wootton (90+5)

Attendance: 2176 (212 away)

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