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Report: MK Dons 0-0 Northampton Town

Stalemate under the lights at Stadium MK...

26 September 2017

MK Dons and neighbours Northampton Town played out a stalemate under the lights at Stadium MK on Tuesday evening.

Aaron Tshibola went closest for the Dons, who were unable to make it three wins on the bounce after victories over Rochdale and AFC Wimbledon.

Robbie Neilson named the same starting XI that won at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Friday night, meaning Ryan Seager and Osman Sow once again began up top.

The in-form Gboly Ariyibi was on the front foot from the first whistle, looking to take on the Cobblers’ defence down the left-hand side – he got in on seven minutes but his delivery was cut-out.

Former Don Daniel Powell threatened on 13 minutes when he brought the ball down, shifted the ball onto his left and shot wide, however, Lee Nicholls was across to cover in case if had been on target.

As the game ticked past the midway point of the first half, the game continued to be being evenly contested but defences were on top and both were finding it difficult to create clear-cut chances.

In truth, the visitors looked the more likely during that spell but Alex Gilbey saw a shot blocked and Seager almost reached a Scott Golbourne cross as the Dons fought back.

George Williams had to be alert on 34 minutes and was to clear away a cross Brendan Moloney, who was looking for ex-Don Alex Revell in the middle.

Ariyibi almost sparked the game into life on 37 minutes but his powerful 30-yard effort was narrowly wide of Matt Ingram’s right-hand post – so close to giving the hosts the lead in style!

In the last real action of the half, Revell fired over the top from 20 yards before Matt Crooks shot into the side-netting after good pressure from Callum Brittain.

Powell shot straight the throat of Nicholls in the opening minute of the second period, but Aaron Tshibola really tested Ingram with a 25-yard thunderbolt two minutes later.

Dons were forced to do some more defending on 51 minutes, Williams picking up a perfect position to head over his own bar.

A powerful run from Gilbey provided an outlet for the Dons and he was found but Ingram was up to the task from the edge of the area while, at the other end, substitute Dean Bowditch, another former Don, forced a fine save from Nicholls.

Dons’ substitute Aidan Nesbitt came even closer to the opener on 62 minutes as the game lifted in tempo at both ends but his touch took him just too far around the visitors’ keeper and the chance went begging.

Williams was again on hand to beat Aaron Pierre to the ball midway through the second half – the captain was really putting in a captain’s performance.

The game continued to ebb and flow but neither side were looking clinical in front of goal, which led to Neilson introducing Kieran Agard on 72 minutes.

Nicholls comfortably caught Revell’s shot before Ash Taylor headed a right-wing corner off target as the fixture entered the final 15 minutes.

Clever play from Ariyibi created a crossing opportunity for Nesbitt, who saw his ball turned behind for a corner but the Dons couldn’t make anything of it.

Shortly afterwards, some trickery from Nesbitt set up Gilbey, who saw his shot blocked after shaping up with some real purpose on the edge of the box.

The Dons ended the stronger of the two teams but Agard couldn’t direct a difficult header past Ingram, while the minute before saw him round the keeper but not quite able to pick out substitute Robbie Muirhead.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain, Williams (c), Wootton, Golbourne; Tshibola (Agard 72), Cisse, Gilbey, Ariyibi; Seager (Nesbitt 55), Sow (Muirhead 79).

Unused subs: Sietsma, Lewington, Ebanks-Landell, Upson.

Attendance: 11,340 (2,566 Northampton fans).

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