MK DONS 1-1 SWINDON TOWN (LEAGUE 1)
MK Dons will look back on this game as two points lost as ten man Swindon Town held on to a draw at Stadium:MK.
MK Dons manager Karl Robinson made four changes to the side that beat Northampton Town in midweek with David Martin, Luke Chadwick, Stephen Gleeson and Darren Potter coming in for Ian McLoughlin, Alan Smith, Dele Alli and Ben Reeves while Swindon boss Mark Cooper only made one change to his matchday squad with new signing Danny N’Guessan coming onto the bench for the first time.
Both teams are renowned for playing passing football and the opening to the game certainly didn’t disappoint. Both teams got the ball down but Swindon were the ones to start better, pressing the Dons high and playing some lovely stuff. It was the pressing that got Swindon the first chance of the game.
Yaser Kasim won the ball in the MK Dons half with a tackle and it ended up at the feet of Nile Ranger. The striker took the ball to the edge of the area before teeing up the onrushing loanee Alex Pritchard. Pritchard’s first touch wasn’t the best and all the winger could do was hit the ball at David Martin who turned it away. It was a sign of things to come as well.
Nathan Byrne, playing on the wing, came inside from the left hand side and struck a low shot from near enough 30 yards which Martin had to turn behind. The resulting Swindon corner was not dealt with properly and Darren Potter ended up tripping Massimo Luongo 25 yards out. Pritchard stepped up and curled an unstoppable free kick into the top corner. It was a beautiful strike from the Tottenham loanee and he was delighted with it.
Swindon were comfortable to let MK Dons pass the ball around at arms length and, if the home side did begin to threaten, they were stopped by the impressive duo of Kasim and Luongo in the centre of midfield. It was the duo that were the reason that it took Dons half and hour to get in behind. Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford played a nice one-two with Danny Green and was through on goal. The striker took a touch too many and when he did finally shoot, it was blocked behind by an excellent covering tackle by Kasim.
That was the home side’s only real chance of the first half but Swindon, with Pritchard sparkling, were causing all sorts of problems and it was the goalscorer who created a chance for Ranger. He skipped past two on the Swindon right before firing a cross in. Martin parried it out but it only went as far as Ranger who proceeded to hold the ball up, spin and force a good save from the keeper. It was the final chance of the first half as referee Stuart Attwell blew for half time soon after.
Swindon deserved their lead at half time and, no doubt, MK Dons were given a passionate team talk to say the least which showed at the start of the second half. Dons managed to work the ball down the right hand side of the box to Luke Chadwick and the former Manchester United man got a great ball across. It was barely cleared by Swindon and the ball looped up to Jason Banton who barely made contact with his volley. It was a huge chance for the home side to get level early but they were soon handed a lifeline by Swindon.
Byrne led a Swindon breakaway from an MK Dons corner down the left and he brought it a long way. However, he held onto it too long and was stopped by Shaun Williams. As the MK Dons defender cleared the ball, Byrne left his foot in with studs raised and caught Williams on the top of the foot. It wasn’t a pretty tackle and referee Attwell sent Byrne on his way immediately. It also completely changed the game as evidenced just four minutes later.
The ball fell to Potter in the centre of the park and the ex-Liverpool midfielder played a long, low pass through the centre of the Swindon defence. Neither Darren Ward nor Grant Hall were in any kind of good position and this allowed Bamford to run through on goal and poke it past Wes Foderingham. It was a poor, poor goal for Swindon to concede and it gave MK Dons all kinds of confidence.
The Dons were now dominating possession as Swindon began to sit in and the away team were almost undone. Chadwick brought the ball forward and laid it off to Bamford on the edge of the area. The young striker quickly moved it left to Green who came inside and fired in a great strike which had Foderingham at his best to turn it behind.
It was the last chance for a while as Swindon held off MK Dons as they simply just passed and pressed the Robins back. Neither goalkeeper had anything of note to do and no saves to make. There were a couple of nasty tackles as well as it heated up but it never threatened to boil over and, in truth, it didn’t look like either team was going to win until the final 90 seconds of normal time.
Subsitute Izale McLeod attacked down the MK Dons left before pulling the ball back to Bamford. The on loan striker completely mishit his shot but it fell perfectly for young subsitute George Baldock who finished coolly under Foderingham. However, before he could celebrate, the goal was ruled out for offside. Replays showed that it was the wrong decision and it was desperately unlucky for the young striker.
The Dons were buoyed by this and McLeod fired over from a low Baldock cross in the second minute of stoppage time. Yet, they were almost caught right at the death. Swindon substitute and debutant N’Guessan cut in from the right but his shot was charged down by captain Dean Lewington. It ended up being the final bit of action in the match as Attwell blew for full time.
It was a point gained for Swindon but it could have been so much better had they got a second and had eleven on the pitch for the whole game. As for MK Dons, it was a lot of possession without a lot of penetration and that could be a concern for Karl Robinson however they are still unbeaten in League 1 this season so it isn’t all bad for the Dons.
MK Dons: Martin, Ostemobor, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c), Potter, Gleeson, Green (Baldock 82), Chadwick (Alli 73), Banton (McLeod 73), Bamford
Subs: McLaughlin, Smith, Reeves, Galloway
Yellow: Green, Chadwick
Swindon Town: Foderingham, N.Thompson, Hall, Ward (c), McEveley, Kasim, Luongo (Harley 85), Mason, Pritchard (N’Guessan 73), Byrne, Ranger (Ajose 62)
Subs: Belford, L.Thompson, Storey, Barthram
Yellow: Hall, Mason, Kasim, N.Thompson
Referee: Stuart Attwell
MAN OF THE MATCH: MASSIMO LUONGO (SWINDON TOWN)