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Report: MK Dons 1-1 Tranmere Rovers

Chuks Aneke on target for MK Dons, who are held to another home draw...

29 September 2018

MK Dons and Tranmere Rovers shared the spoils at Stadium MK after Chuks Aneke’s fourth goal of the season cancelled out Jonny Smith’s opener.

Paul Tisdale’s men made a dominant start but fell behind to Smith’s finish in the 37th minute which came after Lee Nicholls brilliantly denied James Norwood.

Aneke, though, equalised on the stroke of half-time from a Dean Lewington cross and that proved to the be the final goal of the game, resulting in a second successive 2-1 draw for MK Dons at Stadium MK.

They now sit 13th in the Sky Bet League Two table, one point adrift of the top seven.

Boss Tisdale made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Yeovil Town earlier in the week, bringing Chuks Aneke and Ousseynou Cisse back into his starting XI in place of Kieran Agard and Jordan Houghton.

His team started well and registered two shots in the opening five minutes - both courtesy of Rhys Healey. First, the loanee forced Scott Davies into a save with low left-footed shot after MK Dons worked the ball into the Tranmere penalty area. Then, Healey dragged an effort wide after latching onto Aneke’s through ball.

In the sixth minute, MK Dons earned their first corner of the game and from that set-piece, Aneke produced another save out of Davies.

An even better opportunity to open the scoring arrived in the eighth minute when Healey collected a ball unopposed inside the Rovers box. His effort was parried by Davies but Aneke, on the follow-up, could only send his header onto the crossbar.

The Dons’ dominant start continued and Baily Cargill found himself on the edge of the Tranmere box in the 10th minute - however, he couldn’t muster enough power on his shot to trouble Davies.

Tisdale’s side maintained their control of the game but they didn’t threaten the opposition goal again Davies was forced into a save from an in-swinging Cisse cross. Another delivery from the right soon after led to a chance for Aneke but he was denied by what the referee adjudged to be a push.

Aneke then went agonisingly close with an ambitious effort from all of 40-yards - a shot which Davies watch land on the roof of his net.

Tranmere didn’t really trouble Nicholls until midway through the half when a speculative shot from Ollie Banks flew harmlessly wide of the goalkeeper’s left upright.

That chance was followed up by an improvised attempt from Connor Jennings, who tried to beat Nicholls with the outside of his boot from 20-yards out but only managed to clear the crossbar.

MK Dons were back in the driving seat shortly afterwards and Healey flicked a header wide from Ryan Watson’s free-kick in the 34th minute.

Aneke and Healey then linked up on the edge of the area, with the latter then seeing a curling strike blocked.

Tisdale’s side were looking the more likely to break the deadlock but it was, in fact, their visitors who did so in the 37th minute courtesy of Smith, who reacted quickest after Nicholls had denied Norwood to fire into an empty net. 0-1.

MK Dons had several opportunities to grab themselves an equaliser before the whistle and it wasn’t until the final seconds of the half that they drew level.

Their visitors dealt well with three balls into the box but they weren’t able to clear a deep delivery from Lewington - the ball fell kindly to Aneke, who swept home his fourth goal of the campaign. 1-1.

Tisdale kept the same XI on the pitch for the second half and they almost rewarded him with an equaliser within 60 seconds of the re-start but Davies was able to gather Watson’s deflected cross.

Healey then headed wide from another Watson cross before Cargill met a free-kick from Watson and forced a save out of Davies.

MK Dons went close with a third header in the 55th minute - this time it was Gilbey who got his forehead to a cross from Williams but he couldn’t direct the effort on target.

Davies was called into action again three minutes before the hour mark as he pulled off a terrific save to keep out Healey’s strike, which looked destined for the top right-hand corner of the net.

Nicholls matched him with a fine stop of his own moments later, keeping out Adam Buxton’s ferocious effort from the right corner of the penalty area.

In the 67th minute, Aneke produced a bit of individual brilliance but, after fashioning space for a shot, he wasn’t able to find the target from an acute angle.

Tisdale then made his first two substitutions, bringing Houghton and Robbie Simpson into the contest with 15 minutes to play.

Simpson was unlucky not to see a parried effort from Aneke fall to his feet moments after his introduction. Aneke did well to get behind the Rovers defence and bring the save out of Davies, who was able to parry it to safety.

At the other end, Houghton was called into action to prevent Norwood connecting with a cutback deep inside the MK Dons penalty area.

Agard was then introduced with 83 minutes on the clock in an attempt to grab a winner. His side, though, were let off with two minutes left to play when Rovers forward Jennings somehow missed the target from close-range.

That was the only notable chance in the closing stages, leaving nothing to be separated between the two sides at the final whistle.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Williams, Moore-Taylor, Cargill; Brittain (Houghton 75), Gilbey, Cisse (Simpson 75), Lewington (c); Watson; Aneke (Agard 83), Healey.

Unused subs: Moore, Hancox, Walsh, Thomas-Asante.

Goal: Aneke (45+2)

Attendance: 7,048 (751 away)

Referee: L Colloins

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