REPORT: MK Dons 1-1 Walsall

Dean Bowditch scored in the last minute against Walsall to rescue a point for Dons

Dean Bowditch scored in the last minute against Walsall to rescue a point for Dons

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A late Dean Bowditch equaliser couldn't prevent MK Dons from dropping into the League 1 relegation zone as they drew 1-1 with Walsall.

Having fallen into the bottom four courtesy of Swindon's earlier 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic, Scott Laird's header after 28 minutes only piled on the misery for managerless Dons, as they huffing and puffing looked to me amounting to precious little.

But Bowditch's strike in the final minute forced a nervous six minutes of stoppage time for the visitors, though a point would be the only reward.

As Richie Barker took charge of his fourth game since the departure of Karl Robinson, he could welcome back George Baldock (suspension) and Samir Carruthers (injury). Having failed to score again last week against non-league Spennymoor, Nicky Maynard dropped to the bench, with Dean Bowditch leading the line.

The opening half's action almost perfectly reflected the weather at Stadium MK - grey, grim and miserable as both sides fairly cancelled each other out. Few chances were created, neither goalkeeper much tested and there was little action really to speak of.

That barely changed even after Josh Ginnelly's cross was powered home by Scott Laird as he out-jumped George Baldock at the far post to give the visitors the lead after 28 minutes.

The managerless Dons looked lost in the attacking third as they played without a recognised front man again. With Bowditch's fine through the middle going unnoticed, Kieran Agard was rotated into the line, but he too struggled to make an impact as the match coasted towards the interval.

Dons started the second much brighter though, and were the width of the post away from an equaliser when Bowditch managed to get something on Ryan Colclough's cross, sending keeper Neil Etheridge scrambling across his line but unable to get to it, only to have his blushes spared by the upright.

At the other end, David Martin did well to deny Ginnelly as his free kick took a brush off the wall, forcing the keeper to fly to his left to punch it away.

They should have put the game to bed when Erhun Oztumer snatched the ball from Carruthers and squared up Jack Hendry, but saw his snap-shot go just wide of the post with Martin beaten.

Another Oztumer chance going just wide acted as a much-welcomed wake-up call for the home side, and saw them begin to put pressure on Walsall. Ben Reeves forced Etheridge into a good stop as he tried his arm from range, while Hendry saw his header from the resultant corner cleared off the line by Joe Edwards.

It looked like another defeat was on the cards until Bowditch cut inside from the right to bend the ball past Etheridge's outstretched hand to salvage a point.

Dons threw everything at it in the six minutes of stoppage time, but they were unable to carve out a winner, leaving them to remain in the League 1 drop zone.

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 8,188

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Downing (GB Williams 80), Hendry, Baldock, Carruthers (Maynard 66), Upson, Colclough (Tshimanga 84), Agard, Reeves, Bowditch

Subs not used: Nicholls, GC Williams, Powell, Thomas-Asante

Walsall: Etheridge, Edwards, Laird, McCarthy, Chambers, Jackson (Bakayoko 76), Oztumer, Preston, Ginnelly (osbourne 84), Toner, Moussa

Subs not used: MacGillivray, O'Connor, Dobson, Sangha, Cockerill-Mollett

Booked: Carruthers, Downing