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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Oxford United

Late heartbreak at Stadium MK...

27 February 2021

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Oxford United

Late heartbreak at Stadium MK...

27 February 2021

Elliot Lee’s 97th-minute header saw MK Dons denied victory over Oxford United at Stadium MK.

Russell Martin’s men looked to have done enough to secure all three points thanks to Andrew Surman’s 18-yard strike but U’s frontman Lee headed in a late leveller for the visitors to see the spoils shared.

The draw saw MK Dons fall one place to 14th in the Sky Bet League One table. They remain 14 points clear of the drop zone and seven off the play-off spots.

Scott Fraser returned and Charlie Brown was handed his first MK Dons start as Russell Martin made four changes from the midweek loss at Shrewsbury Town. Daniel Harvie and Joe Mason also come in to the XI, with Cameron Jerome, Will Grigg, Zak Jules and Ben Gladwin making away.

There wasn’t much in the way of goalmouth action during the first 10 minutes, aside from a fierce strike by Alex Rodriguez which was blocked brilliantly, and bravely, by Harry Darling.

Ethan Laird had MK Dons in the penalty area a minute later. His deflected cross was collected by Brown but, with his back to goal, the striker wasn’t able to fashion a shooting chance.

Oxford were making it their aim to prevent the Dons playing out from the back but they couldn’t stop Martin’s men on 13 minutes when they went from back to front to open the scoring.

Fisher started the move, which involved Surman, O’Riley and then, eventually, Laird. The wing-back’s cross into the box was blocked but the loos ball fell kindly to Surman who, from the edge of the area, caressed a left-footed shot beyond the outstretched arm of Jack Stevens and into his bottom right-hand corner. 1-0.

Laird was heavily involved early on. Two minutes after the goal, he cut in from the right and had a 20-yard effort saved by Stevens. Then, the Man Utd loanee delivered a cross from which Mason had a goal-bound volley blocked by a U’s defender.

Fisher was called into action midway through the first half to save a spectacular effort by Elliot Lee and then show strong hands to claim a dangerous right-wing cross.

At the other end, Brown went close to connecting with Mason inside the Oxford box but they were denied by a sliding block. Two combined again on the half-hour, with the latter sending an eventual shot over the bar with his left foot.

Laird soon had another opportunity, this time on his right inside the box, but saw it blocked. Oxford then went close through Rodriguez, whose rasping effort from distance fell wide of Fisher’s right post.

The Dons continued to have joy down the right-hand side as the first-half drew to a close. On 40 minutes, they created a chance for Fraser, but from the edge of the D, the MK Dons number 10 sliced off-target.

Martin was then grateful to his number 6, Darling, who produced a stunning last-ditch sliding tackle to prevent Brandon Barker from troubling Fisher from close range with the last real action of the first half.

MK Dons were forced into a sub at the break due to an injury for Harvie. Jules replaced him on the left flank.

The second half took some time to get going, with the first real shot on goal not arriving until the hour mark when Oxford’s Matty Taylor fired into the side netting from just inside the box.

Hearts were in mouths again a minute later when Taylor charged down Fisher and blocked the goalkeeper’s clearance – fortunately for the Dons, the ball looped up and over the bar.

Martin then made a triple substitution, with Jerome, Grigg and Jordan Houghton all coming off the bench.

Jerome had an effort within three minutes of his arrival – a fierce right-footed strike which was deflected over. From the resulting corner, Grigg also cleared the crossbar with an audacious overhead kick.

Another O’Riley corner on 70 minutes produced a headed effort from Jerome which, in truth, was comfortable for Stevens.

Controversy struck with six minutes to play when Fisher brought down Agyei five yards from the edge of the area. Despite being the last man, the MK Dons goalkeeper was shown only a yellow card – much to the frustration of the visitors.

Fisher certainly made amends for his foul by producing a diving save from the resulting free-kick, keeping out Lee’s on-target attempt. He then came up with a terrific point-blank save to deny Agyei, before Oxford hit the post with a deflect shot two minutes from time.

Time was then extended by six minutes due to stoppages and in the final seconds of those stoppages, Oxford snatched a point courtesy of Lee, who was alert in the box to convert from Agyei’s header back across goal. 1-1.

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, Darling, Fraser (Gladwin 85), Brown (Grigg 63), Laird, O’Hora, Surman (Houghton 62), O’Riley, Mason (Jerome 62), Harvie (Jules 46).

Subs: Nicholls, Sorinola.

Goal: Surman (14)

Booked: Mason, Fisher, Laird

Oxford United: Stevens, Ruffels, Moore, Rodriguez (Forde 88), Brannagan, Taylor (Winnall 71 (Sykes 78)), Long, Atkinson, Shodipo (Henry 71), Lee, Barker (Agyei 71).

Subs: Eastwood, Grayson.

Goal: Lee (90+7)

Referee: J Oldham

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