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Report: Barnstorming Batty finish earns all three points for Town

10 December 2022

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Fleetwood Town fought valiantly throughout this afternoon’s league clash against MK Dons and came out on top after a barnstorming last-minute winner at Stadium MK.

In a game that came alive in the second half, Warren O’Hora put MK Dons ahead just after the restart, but a leveller from Carl Johnston for the Cods and a birthday goal for Dan Batty won the game for Scott Brown’s side.

After starting the brighter of the two sides, Town’s first sight of goal came from some nice interchange play between Lewis Warrington and Johnston. When the ball fell to Carlos Mendes Gomes, his flash attempt was over the Dons’ bar.

Soon after that, Warrington won the ball back for the Cods in his own half, fizzed the ball into Ged Garner who found Callum Morton and it was his shot which won Fleetwood a corner in the 5th minute.

Johnston got away down the left-hand side for Town just after the ten-minute mark, after some nice footwork displayed by the Cods number 28. He couldn’t quite find anybody to slip the ball into and the hosts broke through Conor Grant but after striker Mo Eisa was dispossessed by a Fleetwood defender, the move ended.

MK Dons saw their first chance come in the 15th minute when a shot by Nathan Holland took a deflection. The resulting corner came to nothing as the Cods looked to keep their good start to the game going.

The game seemed a bit of a stalemate as for all the possession Town had, not much was being done with it and the same can be said for the home side.

Fleetwood were caught napping in the middle just shy of the half-hour mark and MK Dons got away, through winger Holland who was causing the biggest problems of any player in white. His shot was saved by Jay Lynch though.

With ten minutes to go until the break, the game had a bit of life as the game became slightly more end-to-end. The good start Town made began to fade as the hosts got themselves in the game a bit more with a few nice spells of possession.

As the first half ended, MK Dons won their second corner of the game after a header by Grant was put out by Toto Nsiala. Seconds later, Holland blazed an effort over Lynch’s goal as the hosts could and should have been ahead late in the first half.

After the break, MK Dons continued the good work they started at the end of the first half and it wasn’t the start to the second half Town were hoping for as the ball was whipped into the box, came off the head of Eisa and fell to home captain O’Hora who found the back of the net.

Town thought they had an equaliser when substitute Brendan Wiredu put the ball in the back of the net, but it was straight away ruled out for offside. The Cods struggled in the opening exchanges of the second period and the home side were showing why they shouldn’t be in the league’s relegation zone.

Town had a snapshot on goal when Omochere chanced his arm from close range, but his bobbling shot was picked up by Cumming in the Dons' goal.

A player who seemed to cause the Cods problems in the second half especially was on-loan Aston Villa striker Louie Barry whose effort was well over the bar – but he showed the threat he had midway through the second 45 minutes.

A slight showing of handbags as MK Dons defender Watson was reluctant to give the ball back to Lynch after the referee awarded a Fleetwood goal-kick. After that sequence was calmed down by the man in the middle, Town went on the search for an equaliser.

That elusive equaliser came eighteen minutes from time as Johnston, who’d been a threat all game, scored with a lovely curling effort after receiving the ball in a wide position.

The game always looked like it could have been a draw, the home side didn’t quite do enough to keep a hold of their lead and Town made sure they got themselves back into proceedings.

It wasn’t to be Johnston’s goal that earned a point for Fleetwood, on his birthday, Batty won the game at the death for the Cods with an absolute scorcher of a finish. With that finish from Batty, Town took all three points away in Milton Keynes.

MK Dons XI: Cumming (GK), Watson, Tucker, O’Hora (C), McEachran (Robson 85’), Eisa (Dennis 76’), Holland, Grant (Johnson 60’), Barry (Lawrence 76’), Harvie, Devoy (Grigg 85’)

Unused subs: Ravizzoli (GK), Jules

Cods XI: Lynch (GK), Mendes Gomes (J. Garner 86’), Vela (C), Morton, Warrington, Holgate (Wiredu 56’), G. Garner (Hayes 56’), Omochere (Batty 72’), Nsiala, Rooney, Johnston (Andrew 86’)

Unused subs: Stolarczyk (GK), Baggley.

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