Report: Leeds United 1-1 Dons
Rob Hall deservedly put the men from MK1 in front on the half-hour mark, a lead which could have been extended on a number of occasions.
However, in total control, Karl Robinson’s side were found themselves level in the 87th minute, Antony Kay heading into his own net.
Heartbreak but plenty of positives to take from a strong performance against an in-form side.
Karl Robinson made five changes for the clash in Yorkshire, which included recalls for Darren Potter and Nicky Maynard. After making his first appearance since August just four days previous, Joe Walsh started on the substitutes’ bench.
Carl Baker was the first to threaten when he drove at the Leeds defence two minutes in, only to be stopped in the tracks on the edge of the box. Shortly afterwards, Baker delivered for Nicky Maynard, who saw a close-range effort blocked.
The Dons continued to look bright in the opening exchanges, playing some nice football and pushing back their hosts back, with Leeds’ only attack being easily dealt with.
After an impressive beginning, unfortunately Baker had to come off due to injury – Dean Bowditch replaced the winger in a straight swap on 14 minutes.
Referee Jeremy Simpson waved away strong penalty appeals 10 minutes later when Rob Hall went down in the box under a challenge from Charlie Taylor, shortly before Samir Carruthers saw a shot blocked.
Hall then threatened with a curling 25-yard free-kick, but he went one better on the stroke of half-hour, brilliantly finding the bottom corner with a cool finish after meeting Maynard’s cut-back. The energetic Carruthers started the well-worked move.
Robinson’s men maintained control on proceedings until the break, carrying a threat when going forward and dealing comfortably with what the hosts threw at them, which was very limited due to the Dons’ dominance.
Leeds started the second half on the frontfoot as they aimed to find a way back into the game, but the Dons were still looking dangerous every time they went forward.
The men from MK1 were almost caught on the counter 55 minutes in, however, Carruthers got an important touch on Lewis Cook’s pass which slowed up the attack.
Charlie Taylor came very close to levelling matters for the hosts on 56 minutes but, fortunately for the Dons, his curling 25-yard free-kick hit the outside of the post.
David Martin was alert to gather Mirco Antenucci’s deflected cross just after the hour mark while, at the other end, the Dons couldn’t quite unlock the Leeds defence following some smart build-up play.
Hall fired over from 25 yards after a Jordan Spence knock-down before Maynard was magnificently denied by Marco Silvestri, the Leeds keeper at full stretch to push the striker’s fierce effort behind.
The Dons were now trying to soak up pressure and hit Leeds on the counter – something they were almost successful with as the game entered the final 10 minutes but Murphy was halted after latching on to Carruthers’ clever cross-field pass.
At the other end, Robinson’s men were continuing to comfortably deal with Leeds’ offensive threat, which was minimal due to the Dons’ pressing and work rate.
However, after dominating proceedings, heartbreak was to follow for the Dons when Kay inadvertently heading into his own net on 87 minutes.
MK Dons: Martin; Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington (c); Potter, Carruthers; Baker (Bowditch 14), Hall (Walsh 90+1), Murphy; Maynard (Church 84).
Unused subs: Cropper, Hodson, Walsh, Reeves, Gallagher.
Bookings: Murphy, Carruthers, McFadzean, Hall, Kay.
Goals: Hall (30).
Attendance: 24, 356 (407 Dons fans).
Referee: Jeremy Simpson.