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Report: MK Dons 1-1 Shrewsbury Town

Dons denied victory by late equaliser...

9 December 2017

A stunning 85th-minute equaliser from Shaun Whalley denied MK Dons victory at Stadium MK.

Whalley found the top corner of the net late on to cancel out Peter Pawlett’s goal, forcing Robbie Neilson’s men to share the spoils with second-placed Shrewsbury Town.

Osman Sow made his long-awaited return from injury as one of seven changes made by Robbie Neilson from the side which played Chelsea Under-21s in midweek. The striker had been out of action for over seven weeks due to an ankle injury he suffered in the 1-1 draw with Walsall.

Willed on by a vocal home support, the Dons made a positive start with both Sow and Chuks Aneke looking lively up top.

However, neither they nor their opponents could muster a shooting chance in the opening 15 minutes of play - the closest either team came was a goalmouth scramble in the Dons’ penalty which eventually ended up in the arms of Lee Nicholls.

Neilson’s men had a sighter in the 17th minute when Peter Pawlett collected the ball near the edge of the Shrewsbury area. He played a ball through for Kieran Agard but the striker wasn’t able to keep it in play.

The first shot on target didn’t arrive until midway through the half when Alex Rodman cut onto his right foot and produced a save out of Lee Nicholls with a low, 18-yard drive. Nicholls could only parry the effort but fortunately for him and the Dons, Stefan Payne sent the loose ball over the crossbar.

James Bolton headed over from a James Nolan free-kick during a spell of Salop pressure around the half-hour mark.

The Dons then had the best chance of the half through Ethan Ebanks-Landell on 38 minutes - the centre-back did well to meet Scott Golbourne’s corner but his header was blocked on the line by a defender.

Agard followed that effort up with a fierce drive from the edge of the area which Dean Henderson did well to keep out. At the other end, Shaun Whalley saw a left-footed curler saved by Nicholls.

On 41 minutes, Neilson’s men produced one of the moves of the season which almost led to the opening goal. Pawlett and Aneke exchanged passes brilliantly en route to goal before the former teed up Sow, whose first-time effort was brilliantly tipped wide by Henderson.

Having ended the first half in positive fashion, the Dons made a bright start to the second period, earning a free-kick just two minutes in. However, they were’t able to truly trouble Henderson, who collected the ball in from Upson with relative ease.

Sow completed 55 minutes in his return from injury before being replaced by Sam Nombe - the Dons’ first substitution of the afternoon.

The young striker made an immediate impact too, playing a part as the men from MK1 took a 56th minute lead through Pawlett. Nombe found Aneke with a pass and the Dons’ number 10 did brilliantly to keep hold of the ball and find an unmarked Pawlett, who confidently slotted home his second goal in seven days. 1-0.

Shrewsbury saw a lot of the ball in the aftermath of the goal but the Dons did well to repel the crosses that were being sent into the area. They also looked dangerous on the counter attack, with Nombe willing to chase every ball delivered forward.

He won the Dons a corner on 70 minutes and from that, Agard came close to a chance. Pawlett delivered a ball in low towards the striker, who was just unable to gain control and get a shot away.

Nombe had another opportunity with a quarter of an hour to play but his effort was blocked. Pawlett also threatened after bursting into the area - his shot, from a tight angle, went into the side netting.

The Dons were looking as though they were on course for a huge three points but with five minutes to play, Shrewsbury pulled themselves level and there was nothing any home player could do about it. Whalley the man who grabbed the equaliser courtesy of a stunning 20-yard drive into the top left-hand corner. 1-1.

Whalley’s equaliser set up an end-to-end final few minutes. Pawlett came close to a second from Agard’s teasing cross while Williams got in the way of an effort from Rodman.

However, neither side were able to find a winner meaning the points were shared at Stadium MK.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Walsh, Golbourne; Agard (Ariyibi 90), Upson, McGrandles, Pawlett; Aneke; Sow (Nombe 55).

Unused subs: Sietsma, Wootton, Seager, Nesbitt, Thomas-Asante.

Goal: Pawlett (56)

Booked: Aneke, Upson

Attendance: 8,355 (492 away)

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