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Match Reports

Report: Town dominate but have to settle for Dons draw

24 February 2018

Fleetwood Town ended their run of eight straight defeats with a 1-1 draw against MK Dons, in John Sheridan’s first match in charge.

A screamer from Ash Hunter levelled the scores in the second half after Robbie Muirhead had given the Buckinghamshire side the lead in the first period, and Fleetwood should have perhaps won the game after a strong second half performance. 

Conor McAleny had several efforts kept out by the excellent Dons keeper Lee Nicholls, but Town had to settle for a point at Highbury.

Sheridan made changes to the side that were defeated 2-1 by Portsmouth on Tuesday evening, as George Glendon, Toumani Diagouraga and McAleny were handed starts, replacing Nathan Pond, Harrison Biggins and Bobby Grant.

Town started well and were controlling the ball nicely in the opening 10 minutes. McAleny had the first effort of the game, as he looked to replicate his stunner on Tuesday, but he hit this one well over the bar.

There was little to separate the sides until the away side showcased some slick passing and took the lead. It came after some nice footwork on the counter attack saw the ball fall to Muirhead. The Scot turned well on the edge of the area and hit a low shot past Alex Cairns.

From the kick off though, Fleetwood should have been level as McAleny smashed a rocket of a ball against the post, after the receiving the ball from Paddy Madden’s burst into the area.

Town were throwing everything at the Dons and were dominating the play, with MK struggling to quell the swathes of Fleetwood pressure. Another chance to level went begging as Kyle Dempsey’s shot was saved by Nicholls.

Again the hosts went close, as next Hunter hit an effort agonisingly wide after McAleny’s cheeky flick put him through on goal. Nicholls’ goal was living a charmed life.

Fleetwood went into the break 1-0 down, but after thoroughly dominating proceedings, and were unlucky not to be going in level. A huge 45 minutes of football awaited Sheridan’s side.

It was the Dons though who started the brighter in the second half, which began with Cairns producing a stunning low save to deny to Chuks Aneke a second goal of the afternoon for the away side.

The away side were left to rue that chance as less than a minute later, Hunter challenged McAleny for February’s Goal of the Month, as he turned on the edge of the area and smashed the ball into the top corner to level the score.

That goal lifted the atmosphere at Highbury as the Cod Army searched for that elusive win.

McAleny had been lively all game, and he forced an error from Dean Lewington, which allowed Madden a shot on goal. A deflection saw the ball loop comfortably into Nicholls’ hands.

The game was soon end to end as Town had an effort cleared off the line, before Dons and broke and Callum Brittain fired wide from just inside the box.

McAleny then dragged wide after a Fleetwood counter attack of their own. Heroics from Nicholls then prevented Hunter from grabbing a second of the game as he saved a terrific volley.

Sheridan introduced Jordy Hiwula to the action with five minutes to go, and with the crowd now fully behind the team, Town pressed for a late winner.

It was to be an agonising finish for McAleny, who dragged his stoppage time shot wide from inside the area in the last effort of the game.

Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Eastham, Dempsey, McAleny, Bolger ©, Maguire, Diagouraga (Biggins), Madden (Hiwula), Glendon, Hunter.

Substitutes not used: Neal (GK), Pond, Burns, Grant, Jones.

MK Dons XI: Nicholls (GK), Williams, Lewington ©, Wooton, Cisse, Aneke (Agard), Ward, Muirhead, Tymon, Brittain (McGrandles), Ugbo.

Substitutes not used: Sietsma (GK), Ebanks-Landell, Nesbitt, Rasulo, Thomas-Asanke.

Referee: E Ilderton

Attendance: 2,773 (205 away)

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