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Match Reports

Report: Fleetwood Town 1-1 MK Dons

Robbie Muirhead's first-half goal not enough for Dan Micciche's men...

24 February 2018

Ashley Hunter’s well-taken second-half strike denied MK Dons three points at Highbury Stadium.

Dan Micciche’s men led from the 20th minute courtesy of Robbie Muirhead’s first goal of the season but Hunter struck early in the second half to earn his side a share of the spoils.

The result keeps the Dons 22nd in the Sky Bet League One table, five points adrift of safety.

Chuks Aneke returned to the starting XI as one of three changes to the Dons side. Muirhead and Callum Brittain also came in while Ethan Ebanks-Landell was back in the match day squad after serving his suspension.

The three new additions were involved early as the Dons worked their way into the Fleetwood box inside the opening minute. Aneke laid on for Brittain, whose first-time cross was almost met on the penalty spot by Muirhead.

Muirhead was able to get a shot away in the fourth minute as he produced a save out of Alex Cairns with a low drive from 20-yards out. The Dons’ number 16 started well and a few minutes later he went close to setting up Aneke after a driving run down the left - unfortunately, Aneke tripped his man while attempting to connect with the delivery.

Fleetwood’s first attempt on goal arrived on eight minutes as Conor McAleny sent a 25-yard drive over Lee Nicholls’ crossbar.

Soon after, the Dons put together another neat attack and had a decent penalty shout turned down when Ike Ugbo went down in the area after latching onto Brittain’s neat lay-off. The striker looked to be taking the ball around goalkeeper Cairns before being bundled over by a defender.

Micciche’s men were by far the better side in the opening exchanges and they were rewarded with a goal in the 20th minute. Cisse played a ball into the feet of Aneke, who teed up Muirhead first time. The Scotsman then took a touch before firing a low drive into the bottom corner of the net, giving his side the lead. 0-1.

Fleetwood almost produced an instant response but fortunately for the Dons, McAleny’s effort inside the area rattled the frame of the goal before bouncing away to safety. The hosts enjoyed a dominant spell after the goal and Nicholls kept his side ahead on 27 minutes with a strong diving save from Kyle Dempsey’s low effort.

The Dons goalkeeper produced an even better stop on the half-hour mark, as he got down quickly to tip Ashley Hunter’s close-range effort just wide of the right post.

His teammates responded and after a spell inside the Fleetwood half, Aneke forced Cairns into a save. Muirhead picked the striker out with a cross and he did well to create the chance with a defender draped all over him.

The Dons saw out their lead through to the break and started the second half on the front. Aneke went close to getting a head to Tymon’s cross on 48 minutes before the two combined again soon after in a move which resulted in Aneke having a close-range shot blocked.

Micciche’s side then put together an excellent attacking move on 53 minutes which resulted in Ugbo having a shot saved by the right foot of Cairns. It was a golden chance to double the lead and within 60 seconds they were made to pay as Hunter equalised for Fleetwood, curling past Nicholls from 25-yards out. 1-1.

The Dons, to their credit, fired straight back as they looked to restore their lead. Elliott Ward came within an inch of meeting Muirhead’s cross on 57 minutes. Tymon and Aneke then combined once again but the latter couldn’t trouble Cairns.

Cisse lifted a left-footed effort over the bar just past the hour mark before Brittain saw a deflected cross-turned-shot land on the roof of the net.

Fleetwood threatened from a 71st-minute corner but the Dons were able to eventually scramble the ball away. They then countered with Brittain, who sent a right-footed drive agonisingly wide of the far upright.
McAleny then dragged a shot wide for Fleetwood before being denied by another excellent stop from Nicholls, who got fingertips to his header to lift it over the bar.

Micciche brought on Kieran Agard with 13 minutes let to play while the Dons boss was forced to change Brittain later on after the youngster picked up a knock.

Nicholls was at it again with two minutes remaining, getting a hand to George Gledon’s curling attempt to keep it from finding the far corner. Muirhead then flashed a shot wide as the clash moved into stoppage-time.

Ashley Hunter went closest in the four additional minutes played, dragging a shot wide of the far post as the Dons were forced to settle for a second draw in as many games.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Wootton, Ward, Lewington (c); Cisse; Williams, Brittain (McGrandles 87), Muirhead, Tymon; Ugbo, Aneke (Agard 77).

Unused subs: Sietsma, Ebanks-Landell, Rasulo, Nesbitt, Thomas-Asante.

Goal: Muirhead (20)

Referee: E Ilderton


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