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Report: Macclesfield Town 1-3 MK Dons

MK Dons make it five in a row...

9 March 2019

Match Reports

Report: Macclesfield Town 1-3 MK Dons

MK Dons make it five in a row...

9 March 2019

MK Dons moved into the Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion places courtesy of their fifth straight victory.

Paul Tisdale’s men fell behind at Moss Rose but struck back just before half-time through David Wheeler, who scored his first goal for the Club.

In the second half, Callum Brittain fired home his first of the campaign to put the Dons ahead and then Kieran Agard put the seal on a fine afternoon’s work with a looping header.

Boss Tisdale made just one change to his starting XI with Wheeler, fresh from his hat-trick for the Under-23s on Tuesday, replacing Jake Hesketh, who dropped to the bench. 

His side produced the first shot of the game, two minutes in. Following a run down the right from Wheeler, the Dons worked it into Alex Gilbey, who created space for an effort which flashed wide of the goal. 

Gilbey was involved again a minute later but he wasn’t able to tee up Chuks Aneke from Russell Martin’s ball into the area.

Macclesfield responded on seven minutes with Liandro Martis firing a shot towards goal. It took a deflection and Stuart Moore was able to gather. Martis tried his luck from a later corner but again saw his effort blocked. Zak Jules then headed wide from the resulting corner.

On 12 minutes, a ball in from Wheeler caused some chaos in the Silkmen penalty area. Eventually Gilbey was able to get a shot away but a Macclesfield defender got in the way. Soon after, the MK Dons number 8 teed up Wheeler, whose strike was also blocked. 

It was looking likely Dons would be the team to break the deadlock but it was, in fact, the hosts who struck first. A free-kick sent into the area wasn’t dealt with and Silkmen defender Nathan Cameron was on hand to fire in the loose ball from inside the six-yard box. 1-0.

Tisdale’s men went in search of an instant response. In the 22nd minute, Aneke flicked a ball on for Agard, whose tame half-volley was saved by Kieran O’Hara. Dons were then almost gifted an equaliser but O’Hara was able to deny Aneke, after he and Agard had pounced on a defensive error. 

The Dons' task at drawing level was almost made harder with nine minutes to play in the half when a cross-turned-shot from James Pearson landed on the crossbar before the defence were able to clear away. 

Moore then produced an excellent save at his near post to keep out Elliott Durrell while, at the other end, a diving header from Durrell prevented Conor McGrandles connecting with Wheeler’s cross.

That led to a corner which was played in quickly from the left by McGrandles. Wheeler raced onto his ball and beat two men in the air to glance home from the near post and draw his side level on the stroke of half-time. 1-1. 

Tisdale’s Dons returned from the interval with Jordan Houghton in place of Ousseynou Cisse. His first involvement, from the middle of a back three, was to intercept a through pass on the edge of his penalty area.

He then watched on as Agard went agonisingly close to putting the Dons ahead. The striker latched onto Aneke’s through pass but dragged his left-footed shot wide of the post. Agard thought he was in again two minutes later but O’Hara managed to grab Wheeler’s headed pass. 

From a Lewington free-kick on 53 minutes, Gilbey sent a low ball across the face of goal which was smothered by O’Hara as the Dons continued to threaten the Silkmen backline in search of a second goal. They found it a minute later.

Lewington’s cross made it through to McGrandles, whose ball back in was punched away by O’Hara. The loose ball fell to Brittain, 25-yards out, and he fired home a low drive to put the Dons ahead. 1-2. 

Their lead was almost extended on the hour mark but Agard was denied from close-range by O’Hara, following a scramble in the six-yard area. 

On 64 minutes, the Dons survived a scare which came from a deep corner sent in from the right. They then went close to doubling their lead through Wheeler, but his fierce strike was kept out by a diving O’Hara. 

Wheeler went even closer on 69 minutes but his low attempt was saved by O’Hara’s feet at his near post before the on-loan QPR man saw a header tipped away from the resulting corner.  

Martin threatened a third in the 73rd minute but couldn’t get his head to McGrandles’ chipped cross. Macclesfield substitute Harry Smith then blazed over with a quarter of an hour to play as the hosts provided a reminder of their attacking threat.

The Silkmen went close again in the 78th minute through a Reece Cole free-kick which flew a yard or two over Moore’s goal. They were made to rue that miss by Tisdale’s team as Agard extend their lead to two. 

Subsitute Jake Hesketh had the initial shot for the Dons which O’Hara did well to keep out. The ball, though, looped up into the air and Agard leaped high to meet it, before sending a header into the net for his 18th goal of the campaign. 1-3.

Rather than rest on their advantage, the Dons went in search of a fourth goal. They almost found it on 82 minutes but Gilbey, following a strong run down the left, was denied by O’Hara at the near post.

They weren't, though, able to extend their lead. Not that it mattered too much to Tisdale and his side, who march on to Tuesday's trip to Morecambe.

Starting XI: Moore; Brittain, Martin, Walsh, Lewington (c); Gilbey, Cisse (Houghton 46), McGrandles; Wheeler, Aneke (Hesketh 73), Agard.

Unused subs: Nicholls, Watson, Harley, Simpson, Walker. 

Goals: Wheeler (44), Brittain (53), Agard (79)

Booked: Aneke 

Referee: C Breakspear

Attendance: 2,017 (289 away)

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