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Report: Mansfield Town 1-1 MK Dons

Houghton's screamer earns the Dons a point...

27 October 2018

MK Dons picked up a hard-fought point away at courtesy of a 1-1 draw with the Stags.

Mansfield went into the match having lost just once at home this season and they took the lead courtesy of an excellent strike from Jacob Mellis.

However, Paul Tisdale's men equalised before half-time with Houghton equalling Mellis’ level of finish. The goal proved to be enough to see the Dons maintain their unbeaten run and stay second in the Sky Bet League Two table.

Boss Tisdale named an unchanged starting XI for the third game in succession, sticking with the teams which beat both Northampton Town and Notts County. The only alteration to the matchday squad came on the bench and saw Dylan Asonganyi return in place of Brandon Thomas-Asante.

Their hosts made a strong start and forced Lee Nicholls into a save after just two minutes - the MK Dons number one was equal to Tyler Walker’s drive.

The Stags kept the pressure on with several corners before MK Dons forced their first attack of the game through Rhys Healey, who burst down the right flank and delivered a low cross towards Kieran Agard which was intercepted by Bobby Olejnik.

Olejnik then produced a save to deny Chuks Aneke before the Mansfield stopper kept out a header from Joe Walsh, who had met a free-kick sent in by Dean Lewington.

Mansfield the went back on the attack and in the 17th minute they broke the deadlock courtesy of stunning long-range strike from Jacob Mellis. MK Dons dealt with an initial free-kick delivered into the area but Preston pounced on the loose ball and fired into the top right-hand corner from 30-yards out. 0-1.

Walker went close to doubling the advantage on the 20-minute mark but, from Otis Kahn’s pass, he drilled a low shot wide of the far post.

Looking for an equaliser, MK Dons won themselves a free-kick midway inside the Mansfield half. The Stags dealt cleared away the cross in but Tisdale’s men recycled possession and from that they drew themselves level.

Alex Gilbey brought the ball under control and set up Houghton, who took a touch and then sent an unstoppable long-range drive past Olejnik to make it 1-1 - his first MK Dons goal on his 100th league start.

Nicholls kept out a speculative attempt from Mal Benning as the hosts went in search of regaining their lead. At the other end, Healey forced Olejnik into a diving save with a fierce right-footed strike.

The Dons then worked another attack down the right and Agard came close to turning home a cross from Williams, who had been set away down the wing by Aneke, who later had a terrific chance to continue his goalscoring run, only to hit the post with a right-footed shot when well placed in the centre of the penalty area.

Moments after, Walker broke into the area for Mansfield but was denied by an excellent tackle from Walsh. The home supporters wanted a penalty for the tackle but referee Sebastian Stockbridge was unmoved despite the appeals.

CJ Hamilton flashed a shot wide in the 39th minute before his teammate Mellis also missed the target with an effort from distance. Aneke then threatened for the Dons, beating his man down the left but failing to beat Olejnik with a left footed attempt.


At the break, Tisdale was forced into a substitution with Moore-Taylor unable to return due to a knock he picked up in the first half. Callum Brittain replaced him - he slotted in at right wing-back with Williams sliding inside to the centre of defence.

Mansfield started the second half much like the first, putting MK Dons under pressure. They almost grabbed an unlikely goal inside the first five minutes but substitute Calum Butcher’s defected cross landed a yard wide of Nicholls’ goal.

The Dons also went close in bizarre circumstances with Lewington’s clearance on the half-way line almost looping over Olejnik and into the goal - unfortunately, his attempt landed on the roof of the net.

In more routine fashion, Healey forced Olejnik into action with a left-footed drive which the Mansfield keeper did well to palm wide. The Dons then thought Agard was in but the linesman’s flag prevented him from having a go at goal from Aneke’s through pass.

Agard and Aneke combined again int he 64th minute and the former was denied by a strong diving save. Gilbey followed up with a low shot of his own which was also kept out.

MK Dons kept threatening and a driving forward from Gilbey led to a chance for Aneke on 69 minutes but the striker wasn’t able to get a shot away deep inside the Stags area.

The hosts responded and Hamilton struck the side netting with an 20-yard attempt. Benning then saw a free-kick of his blocked by the wall and a follow-up strike saved by Nicholls.

With 13 minutes remaining, MK Dons fashioned a decent opportunity for Brittain but he fired over from 15-yards out after being set up by Aneke.

The MK Dons number 10 was withdrawn with seven minutes to play and was replaced by Ryan Watson as Tisdale looked to inspire his team to a late victory.

Both sides created openings in the closing stages but weren't able to grab a winner. A point arguably a good result for the Dons, who secured an unbeaten October as a consequence.  

Starting XI: Nicholls; Walsh, Moore-Taylor (Brittain 46), Cargill; Williams, Houghton, Gilbey, Lewington (c); Agard, Aneke (Watson 84), Healey.

Unused subs: Moore, Hancox, D’Ath, Simpson, Thomas-Asante.

Goal: Houghton (24)

Booked: Brittain, Aneke, Watson

Referee: S Stockbridge


Attendance: 4,329 (294 away)


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