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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 0-1 Shrewsbury Town

24 January 2023

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 0-1 Shrewsbury Town

24 January 2023

MK Dons suffered late heartbreak at Stadium MK as a 90th-minute goal saw them beaten 1-0 by Shrewsbury Town in a game they dominated.

Mark Jackson’s side were the better of the two sides throughout but were unable to find a way past a stubborn Salop defence despite good chances from Mo Eisa and Jonathan Leko.

In the end, the Dons were undone by a late finish from substitute Tom Bayliss – a defeat which doesn’t affect their standing in Sky Bet League One but a tough one to swallow after such a commanding performance.

Jackson named an unchanged starting XI from Saturday's victory over Forest Green Rovers, with new signing Paris Maghoma amongst the substitutes along with Matthew Dennis, who returned to the squad.

Shrewsbury threatened first with an audacious long-range effort from Taylor Moore inside the opening 30 seconds. It was a decent try from Moore despite the distance but Cumming was able to watch it land on the roof of his net.

The Dons responded by earning their first corner of the game just a minute later, following a Tennai Watson cross to the far post which was headed behind above a lurking Will Grigg. They weren’t, though, able to take advantage and threaten Marko Marosi’s goal.

Jackson’s side created another good attack, winning the ball inside their own half and quickly working the ball out wide to Mo Eisa. The striker cut inside and found Devoy with a reverse pass but the midfielder, who forced a save out of Marosi, was flagged offside.

Eisa was involved again as the Dons went close for a second time in three minutes. Jonathan Leko did brilliantly down the right and delivered a teasing cross which was met by Eisa but headed wide by the MK Dons number 10.

Bradley Johnson was the next to try his luck as he fired wide of the target from 25-yards out, after being teed up by his midfield partner, McEachran. They then had an opportunity to threaten from another corner but Devoy’s delivery was claimed by Marosi.

Marosi was called into action again on 23 minutes, diving to his left to keep out Eisa’s bending effort, after the striker had been picked out, on the edge of the area, by Devoy.

The Dons’ dominant start continued and just before the hour, Leko sent a fierce right-footed shot towards goal but he couldn’t keep his effort down from 20 yards out.

Shrewsbury’s first effort arrived on the half-hour – a counter-attack move which led to a chance for Rob Street, who blazed over from inside the area. Former Don Tom Flanagan then had a try from a corner but Watson got in the way of his strike.

Jackson’s men went back on the attack and saw a Leko cross cause some chaos in the Salop box, though the visitors were able to, eventually, clear their lines.

Despite a positive first 45 minutes, the Dons went into the break without a goal to their name. They almost changed that early in the second half but Eisa wasn’t able to direct Devoy’s deflected cross home and Harvie’s follow-up was sent wide of the post.

Jackson’s men were awarded a free-kick moments later after Devoy’s attempt on goal was blocked by the hand of Leahy, five yards outside the penalty area. Eisa took the set-piece but saw it deflect off the wall and over the crossbar.

A pair of strong defensive headers from Harvie and Watson prevented Shrewsbury testing Cumming from two quickfire crosses to the far post on 56 minutes.

Jackson then went to his bench for the first time as he replaced Grigg with Dennis in what was a straight swap in the centre-forward position. He watched on as his strike partner Leko fired a shot towards goal moments later, only for a defender to get themselves in the way.

On 68 minutes, Maghoma made his MK Dons debut when he was brought on for McEachran, while Matt Smith was also introduced as a replacement for Devoy as Jackson freshened up his midfield.

Smith was involved right away, delivering a free-kick which led to a half-chance for Tucker, though his header lacked the power to threaten Marosi and Dennis was unable to pounce on the loose ball.

With seven minutes remaining, Cumming was forced into action by Ryan Bowman but, in truth, it was a comfortable save that the MK Dons goalkeeper had to make from the striker’s header.

Darragh Burns for Leko was the Dons’ final substitution and it came with five minutes left in the 90 and after the winger had run himself into the ground on his Stadium MK debut.

Burns’ first action was to drive at the Shrewsbury defence and earn MK Dons a free-kick just outside the D. Johnson took responsibility for it but saw his left-footed drive blocked by the wall.

There looked to be only one side who would win the contest and that wasn’t the side who did – Shrewsbury snatching all three points in the dying embers through substitute BAYLISS, after they had won possession inside the Dons’ half. 0-1.

The Dons did have an opportunity to level the scores in the first of five minutes of stoppage time but, after Burns and Dennis combined, the latter saw his cutback to edge of the six-yard area cleared away.

They also had two corners and from the second, a Burns cross looped dangerously towards goal but was, in the end, claimed comfortably by Marosi.

That was the closest the Dons came to salvaging a result from a game they deserved something from. They will have to pick themselves up quickly ahead of the visit of Exeter City to Stadium MK this weekend.

MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Tucker, McEachran (Maghoma 68), Grigg (Dennis 61), Eisa, Leko (Burns 86), Johnson, Harvie, Devoy (Smith 68), Jules.

Subs: Ravizzoli, Grant, Lawrence.

Booked: Devoy

Shrewsbury Town: Marosi, Leahy, Pennington, Moore, Winchester, Phillips (Bennett 73), Street (Bayliss 46), Dunkley, Saydee (Bowman 80), Shipley, Flanagan.

Subs: Burgoyne, Pyke, Bloxham, Barlow.

Goal: Bayliss (90)

Booked: Winchester, Shipley

Referee: A Young

Attendance: 5,531 (267 away)

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