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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Notts County

9 September 2023

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Notts County

9 September 2023

MK Dons and Notts County shared the spoils at Stadium MK, as two of Sky Bet League Two early pace-setters drew 1-1.

Daniel Harvie puts the Dons ahead early in the second half with an excellent angled finish but County captain Kyle Cameron levelled the scores just past the hour.

Both teams had chances to win it late but had to contend with a point - one that maintains MK Dons' unbeaten start at Stadium MK.

Max Dean was handed his first MK Dons start as Head Coach Alexander made one change to his starting XI. Michael Kelly, signed late in the week on a short-term deal, replaced an injured Nathan Harness on the bench while Deadline Day recruits Ellis Harrison and Anthony Stewart were also amongst the substitutes.

A first-minute set-piece, following a foul on Jonathan Leko, gave the Dons an early chance to send a ball into the box. They did, but Ethan Robson’s delivery was claimed by goalkeeper Aidan Stone.

Notts County had a period of sustained possession after that early opportunity but it was Alexander’s men who would register the first shot of the game on eight minutes – a 20-yard effort from Leko, cutting in on his right foot, which was saved by Stone.

Daniel Harvie was the next to take MK Dons into the opposition penalty area, though his low ball into centre of the box was behind Dean and too short for Cameron Norman to latch onto at the far post.

The visitors threatened for the first time with 18 minutes played but interceptions from Warren O’Hora and Cameron Norman saw MK Dons deal with the danger. Moments later, O’Hora almost picked out Leko with a forward pass through the lines – the striker was just unable to bring the ball under control with only Stone to beat.

County created an opportunity for Stone just prior to the half-hour mark – he met Richard Brindley’s deep cross but looped his header wide of the target. The Dons responded with a sweeping counter-attack, involving Leko and Dean, which saw Robson flash a ball across the face of goal, just out of the reach of O’Hora, who had made his way forward from the back.

It took a vital defensive header from O’Hora and a brave block from Gilbey to prevent Notts from troubling MacGillivray with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. The Dons then went up the other end and worked a shooting opportunity for Robson, on the edge of the D, but he couldn’t keep his right-footed effort down.

Dean’s deflected strike moments later did appear to be heading for goal, up until Stone got down to his left to divert the attempt wide of the post. There was then a glorious opportunity for Macaulay Langstaff to break the deadlock but, despite connecting with Aaron Nemane’s cross, he somehow failed to find the target from close range.

Langstaff’s missed meant both sides went into the break level but it didn’t take long for the scoreline to change – a minute, to be precise, as MK Dons took the lead with their first chance of the second period.

Collecting the ball on half-way, Robson spotted the run of HARVIE and sent him through on goal with a perfectly-weighted pass. The Scot carried the ball into the Notts penalty area before beating Stone with an excellent angled finish. 1-0.

There was a brief moment where Stadium MK thought Gilbey was set to double the lead from half-way but his attempt, with Stone caught out of his goal, was blocked by a Notts defender before anyone could see whether it would find the net.

An excellent covering tackle from Tucker prevented Austin from threatening an equaliser for the visiting side on 52 minutes. A piece of brilliance from Dean then saw MK Dons go close to a second but, after beating his man and driving into the box, the young striker saw his fierce, low drive kept out by Stone.

The Dons were back in the County penalty area shortly after with Robson, whose cross into the mix cannoned off a Notts defender and flew just past the post with Stone stranded. Stadium MK then watched on as a terrific long-range strike from Gilbey flew just wide of the right upright.

On 65 minutes, Norman got himself in the way of Kyle Cameron’s volley to divert it into the side netting. CAMERON would have another go a minute later and this one, the Dons could do nothing about – the Notts captain rifling into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. 1-1.

Alexander made a triple change at the stoppage, introducing Ellis Harrison for his MK Dons debut alongside fellow summer signings Joe Tomlinson and Jack Payne, making their first Stadium MK appearances.

It took a vital interception from Tucker to prevent Langstaff from being able to connect with a low cross inside the six-yard area. Soon after, Alexander made his fourth change – replacing Dean with the returning Mo Eisa in attack.

One of Alexander’s earlier changes, Payne, almost got himself on the scoresheet in his home debut but his left-footed shot from the edge of the area fell wide of the post. Former Don Aden Baldwin then tried his luck for County, but Craig MacGillivray swallowed up his effort.

Seven minutes of stoppages were added on at the end of the 90 and in the second of those, County were awarded a free-kick, five yards from the edge of the area – Palmer’s effort, however, never troubled MacGillivray.

MacGillivray was troubled moments later but the MK Dons goalkeeper produced a stunning save at point-blank range to deny Langstaff, who looked for all the world to put County in front his header from six yards.

The Dons, too, had a great chance to win the match at the death but Harrison wasn’t able to convert from Gilbey’s cross, lifting his first-time effort over the bar.

There was final opportunity for the visitors in the 98th minute from a free-kick but Bostock’s delivery was comfortably gathered by MacGillivray, who had barely claimed the ball before the full-time whistle sounded.

MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker, O’Hora, Leko (Harrison 66), Gilbey, Smith, Robson, Dean (Eisa 78), Harvie (Tomlinson 66), Devoy (Payne 66).

Subs: Kelly, Lewington, Stewart.

Goal: Harvie (46)

Booked: Smith

Notts County: Stone, Brindley, Cameron, Rawlinson (Baldwin 58), Crowley, Austin (O’Brien 79), Langstaff, Nemane, Bostock, Palmer, Chicksen (Adebayo-Rowling 58).

Subs: Slocombe, Randall, Morias, Tipton.

Goal: Cameron (66)

Referee: C Kavanagh

Attendance: 8,011 (2,762 away)

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