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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Wrexham AFC

MK Dons draw in dramatic fashion at Stadium MK…

20 February 2024

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Wrexham AFC

MK Dons draw in dramatic fashion at Stadium MK…

20 February 2024

MK Dons shared the points at Stadium MK with James McLean’s opener and Dan Kemp's equaliser separated by just four minutes.

Mike Williamson handed Michael Kelly his first league start at Stadium MK after the Irish shot-stopper impressed at Swindon Town on Saturday.

Stephen Wearne also retained his spot in the starting XI after his quick-fire brace at the County Ground.

There was only one change from the weekend, with Dean Lewinton coming into the side in place of Kyran Lofthouse.

Striker Ellis Harrison returned to the squad and was named among the substitutes in place of Callum Tripp.

FIRST HALF
Wrexham had the opening chance of the first half, a ball into MK Dons territory found its way to Jack Marriot who was well jostled by Dean Lewington, allowing Michael Kelly to come and claim the ball.

MK Dons had the opening corner of the match in the sixth minute, but Jack Payne’s cross was cleared away from danger by Wrexham’s defence.

Wrexham had a great chance to open the scoring a few minutes later, Jack Marriott found space on the wing before charging at the Dons’ defence, his cross was met by Warren O’Hora and deflected awkwardly towards goal, but Michael Kelly was alert to it and pulled off a smart stop.

Marriott was heavily involved in the opening exchanges, finding another opportunity on the left-hand side of Dons’ penalty area, before lashing wide from a difficult angle.

Moments later Sam Dalby had an even better chance to score after latching onto a ball that deflected off Lewis Bates in the Dons half, but he rushed his shot from close range and fired straight into Warren O’Hora.

On 20 minutes Dean Lewington found himself with space on the halfway line and drove forwards into the Wrexham half, he then threaded a ball past the back line into Cameron Norman, but the ball had too much pace on it for the defender to catch up.

Moments later Wrexham took the lead, James McLean met Luke Young’s corner to head home from an extremely tight angle into the bottom right-hand side of the net. 0-1. 

It wasn’t long until the Dons had equalised.

Mike Williamson’s side passed the ball around brilliantly in the Wrexham half, before Jack Payne slotted a ball through to Joe Tomlinson on the edge of the Red Dragon’s area, his first time pass found Dan Kemp, who coolly lifted the ball above Arthur Okonkwo to level the score. 1-1.

With the Dons firmly in the ascendancy Alex Gilbey had a great chance to put his side ahead just moments later, the midfielder cut in from the left-hand side to get a curled effort away with his right foot, but a trailing Wrexham leg managed to block his shot and divert it away for a corner.

Daniel Harive then had a great opportunity from the set-piece, the Scot hung back at the the edge of the area for a low Jack Payne pass but his shot was again deflected away, this time off an MK Dons player for a Wrexham goal kick.

With ten minutes left of the first-half James McLean had another shot at goal, this time firing over from 35 yards.

Five minutes later Stephen Wearne pounced on some lapsed Wrexham passing in midfield to steal the ball away and start a counter-attack, the Dons’ number 24 looked sharp as he sprinted at the Wrexham defence before finding Alex Gilbey, who crashed his shot into the side netting from just outside the box. 

Just before halftime, Joe Tomlinson found himself with space from around 40 yards out, he checked to his right before firing off an unbelievable curling shot with his right foot which Arthur Okonkwo did very well to tip on the bar. 

An exciting first half ended level, with both teams well in the game.

SECOND HALF
McLean was involved early in the second half, the midfielder found himself in the MK Dons area after good work by Marriott but skewed his shot into the side netting.

Marriott had a good chance himself a few moments later, the number 11 was well-found by Luke Young on the edge of the area and had an opportunity to score from close range, but Michael Kelly was quick off his line to smother the forward and keep the score at 1-1.

Absolute carnage broke out at Stadium MK on the hour mark.

Joe Tomlinson had his initial shot saved by Arthur Okonkwo before the goalkeeper looked to have spilled the ball over the line, Stadium MK went up in celebration, only for the officials to decide the ball hadn’t gone in.

The MK Dons players remonstrated with referee Sam Purkiss, Dean Lewington was then shown a straight red card for something that was said in the aftermath of the decision. 

There was then a flurry of substitutions, Phil Parkinson made a triple change for Wrexham, while Mike Williamson brought on Matthew Dennis and Kyran Lofthouse for Stephen Wearne and Dan Kemp. 

Wrexham tried to make their one-man advantage count as the half progressed but the Dons stood firm, Michael Kelly was called into action again when Paul Mullin found his way into the box but did well to keep the striker’s effort out.

On the 75th minute, both sides found themselves down to 10 men. 

A cynical foul on Matthew Dennis by Will Boyle when he was through on goal was enough to earn the defender a second yellow card.

Joe Tomlinson stepped up to take the resulting free kick and sent a vicious shot just over the bar.

From there Wrexham looked to catch MK Dons on the break, Mullin ran at the defence with pace before forcing Michael Kelly into another good save.

With ten minutes to go the game was becoming increasingly stretched, Kyran Lofthouse flew down the right-hand side of the pitch before fizzing a ball across the face of Wrexham’s goal, although there was no MK Dons player there to meet it.

With ten minutes to go Mike Williamson made another change, bringing on MJ Williams for Jack Payne.

Not long after Cameron Norman went down for treatment in the Wrexham area, and was eventually replaced by Ellis Harrison.

With eight minutes of added time at the end of the 90 MK Dons pushed to find a winner, Kyran Lofthouse again caused the Red Dragons problems on the right before finding Matthew Dennis in the box, the striker struggled to control the ball though and Wrexham managed to clear.

Joe Tomlinson nearly won the match for the Dons in the 97th minute, the defender stabbed home from close range but Okonkwo somehow managed to get a hand to it.

An action-packed match at Stadium MK eventually finished level.

***

MK Dons: Kelly, Norman (Harrison 89), Lewington, O’Hora, Gilbey (C), Payne (Williams 79), Tomlinson, Harvie, Wearne (Dennis 63), Kemp (Lofthouse 63), Bate

Subs: Harness, Robson, Tezgel

Goals: Kemp 26

Yellow cards: Gilbey 90+4

Red Cards: Lewington 60

Wrexham AFC: Okonkwo, Young, Marriott (C) (Lee 63), O'Connell, Bolton (Mullin 63), Dalby (Palmer

77), Mendy (Barnett 63), Cannon, McClean, Boyle, Cleworth

Subs: Howard, Tozer, J. Davies

Goals: McLean 22 

Yellow cards: Boyle 48 + 75, O’Connell 61

Red Cards: Boyle 75

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Stadium: Stadium MK

Attendance: 11,282 (1,436)


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