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Match Reports

MK Dons 1-1 Walsall

17 October 2017

Tyler Roberts’ second-half penalty earned the Saddlers a hard-fought point at MK Dons.

Chuks Aneke’s 24th-minute header gave the Dons a deserved half-time lead.

Walsall improved in the second half and restored parity when Roberts won and converted a 58th-minute spot-kick.

The visitors had chances to claim all three points, with Roberts, Amadou Bakayoko and substitute Erhun Oztumer all going close in the closing stages.

Robbie Neilson’s men did most of the running early doors, with Ethan Ebanks-Landell having a header deflected wide from a corner and Kieron Agard firing wide from 20 yards.

The Saddlers’ first real foray into opposition territory came on 16 minutes, Kieron Morris with a left-footed shot which deflected through for goalkeeper Lee Nicholls to gather.

MK opened the scoring midway through the first half when Ed Upson’s pinpoint free-kick was headed into the bottom corner with ease by Chuks Aneke.

The home side could have added a second just past the half-hour mark as Alex Gilbey headed over from Scott Golbourne’s excellent volleyed cross.

Goalscorer Aneke was causing problems and threatened to double his and the Dons’ tally moments later, bundling past two players into the area before blasting a rising effort over the bar.

The dominant Dons threatened again on the stroke of half-time, Joe Walsh with a looping header from Upson’s deep free-kick which a back-peddling Mark Gillespie just about kept out on the line.

The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with MK the main aggressors.

Gilbey had a shot deflected wide after some patient passing play and Ousseynou Cisse fired a speculative effort harmlessly over.

Walsall had offered precious little as an attacking force but were presented with a golden opportunity to level just before the hour.

Tyler Roberts was tripped by Ebanks-Landell in the area and the West Brom loanee calmly sent Nicholls the wrong way from the resulting penalty for his fourth goal of the season.

MK had a couple of half-chances to restore their lead; first, Gilbey’s low drive, under pressure from Adam Chambers, was held by Gillespie, before Upson curled a 30-yard free-kick over.

The visitors grew in stature in the final 20 minutes, with Roberts emerging as a real threat.

The Wales Under-21 international flicked an effort into Nicholl’s midriff and brought a smart diving save out of the Dons keeper with a placed shot from a narrow angle.

Roberts then met Zeli Ismail’s dangerous right-wing cross at the near post but could only steer his first-time effort wide of target.

The Dons spurned a glorious chance to seal victory with five minutes remaining as Osman Sow pounced on a Jon Guthrie mistake before firing badly wide when one-on-one with Gillespie.

We had chances to win it ourselves in the closing stages, with Erhun Oztumer drilling over from 20 yards and Bakayoko arrowing a low drive across goal and just wide of the far corner.

 

Team: Gillespie, Kinsella, Guthrie, Wilson, Leahy, Edwards, Chambers, Cuvelier (Kouhyar 79’), Morris (Ismail 74’), Bakayoko, T Roberts (Oztumer 86’).

Subs not used: L Roberts, K Roberts, Flanagan, Agyei.

 

Attendance: 7,258 (248 Walsall supporters).


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