FORTY-five minutes of pressure finally told as Dons drew 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday, but remain unbeaten in five away from home.
Peter Leven opened the scoring for Dons from the penalty spot when Keanu Marsh-Brown was clipped by Owls keeper Arron Jameson. Dan Powell tapped in a second, putting Dons in wonderland, but it went down hill from there.
Gary MacKenzie collected two silly bookings before half time, and Wednesday set up to lay siege on Martin’s goal in the second period. Neil Mellor came off the bench to equalise and Clinton Morrison got the last touch from a corner to equalise for the home side, before Leven collected his second booking, but Dons held on for a well earned point, but dropped to seventh in the table.
After making an impressive beginning to his Dons career with 12 minutes at Bristol Rovers on Wednesday, Marsh-Brown made his first start as Lewis Guy dropped to the bench against a Wednesday side under new management.
Alan Irvine was sacked on Thursday morning after an unspectacular run of results, and was quickly replaced by Gary Megson who took over for his first game in charge at Hillsborough.
Both sides were feeling each other out in the opening 10 minutes, but the first action came when Gary Teale collected in midfield and fired low at David Martin, which the keeper spilt. Clinton Morrison threw himself towards the rebound but was beaten to it by Gary MacKenzie, and Dean Lewington comfortably cleared away.
Dons midfield was not yet in full flow, as both Gleeson and Leven were guilty of giving the ball away needlessly in the early part of the game.
Wednesday again threatened the Dons goal but Clinton Morrison, left unmarked, was just inches underneath Jermaine Johnson’s cross from the left flank and the ball sailed safely wide.
But in the 17th minute, Dons took first blood. Breaking forward, Chadwick played a neat pass through the central defence for Marsh-Brown to run on to. As he broke into the penalty area, Owls keeper Arron Jameson came to block the angle, but missed the ball with his dive and clattered the Fulham youngster to the ground, leaving referee McDermid no choice but to award the penalty and book the keeper. Peter Leven stepped up and calmly slotted into the bottom right hand corner to give Dons the lead.
Wednesday could have been level though, when a through ball arrived at the feet of Clinton Morrison, but he was bundled to the ground by Doumbe on the edge of the area, resulting in a booking for the defender. Fortunately for the visitors though, Teale’s freekick was straight at the wall, and O’Connor’s follow-up effort was narrowly over the crossbar.
But it was Dons though who doubled the lead just before the half hour mark, with Marsh-Brown integral once again. The winger found space in the area, and was allowed time to run to the byline. After a couple of step overs, he played a low ball across the six-yard box and Dan Powell, who scored in midweek, was once again on hand to get the slightest of touches to beat Jameson and put Dons 2-0 up.
The discipline of the Dons defence has been disappointing of late, and MacKenzie was the latest to be added to the referees book when Gary Madine tried to get in behind, and although it appeared Leven won the ball in the tackle, the referee signalled for a freekick on the edge of the area, and booked the big centre half. Minutes later, Doumbe was given his final warning by the referee for another silly foul.
And five minutes before half time, the inevitable happened. In a harmless area of the pitch, Morrison pulled off the shoulder of MacKenzie, and was hauled back by the big defender, leaving the referee with no option but to show him his second yellow card, and leave Dons with a tough task going into the second half.
Gleeson filled in at right back as Danny Woodards moved across to centre half, while Wednesday introduced their hat-trick hero from stadium:mk Neil Mellor for the second period as they tried to get back into the game. Paul Heffernan also came on at the break as the Owls switched to a 4-3-3.
The defensive curse struck again early in the second half when Woodards went to ground with an ankle injury, and was replaced by Adam Chicksen, as Dean Lewington then filled in the middle.
Keanu Marsh-Brown’s full debut came to an end on the hour when he was replaced by Lewis Guy as Dons enjoyed a spell of possession, aggravating the home fans no end.
Wednesday came close in the 63rd minute when Chadwick’s header was misjudged by Martin, handing the home side a corner, and from Coke’s delivery, Morrison’s deft touch was just out of reach of Mellor at the back post as Dons held on.
The home side were denied by both post and linesman’s flag minutes later when Morrison appeared to get in behind Lewington, but his shot came off the upright and the official had flagged him offside.
But they weren’t to be denied for long, as that man Mellor once again struck for Wednesday with 21 minutes to play. O’Connor ran powerfully towards the Dons defence without many pressure. As Leven stepped up to tackle, he left a hole in behind him to allow Mellor the space around the penalty spot to shoot calmly past Martin to reduce the deficit to one.
With the crowd now urging their side on, Wednesday threw everything forward. Mellor saw a header go just wide, and Daniel Jones had a freekick hit the defensive wall as time ran down.
They should have been level though with nine minutes to go. Mellor again had a shot blocked, and the rebound was deflected just over the bar. But from the corner, Wednesday were level. Coke’s corner evaded the Dons defence and found Clinton Morrison at the far post, who acrobatically put the ball back across Martin’s goal and it nestled in the far corner.
Then more drama. From a corner, Lewington found space at the far post but his volley cannoned off the cross bar and Wednesday countered with Mellor once more. As he closed in on goal, Leven threw himself into a challenge and clipped the heels of the former Liverpool man, and Dons were reduced to nine.
Martin was called into a spectacular save from Reda Johnson’s long range effort, tipping the ball over at full stretch as the fourth official indicated four minutes of stoppage time.
Dons looked exhausted, but Lewis Guy and Stephen Gleson still had enough in them to break with a two-on-one with Michael Morrison, but Gleeson’s legs just gave out when Guy played the ball allowing Wednesday to clear back up the field. But at the final whistle, Dons could look at the game as a point earned, rather than two lost.
Referee: Danny McDermid Attendance: 17,631
Sheffield Wednesday: Jameson, Buxton, Michael Morrison, Coke, Jones, O’Connor, Teale (Mellor, 46), Reda Johnson, Jermaine Johnson, Clinton Morrison, Madine (Heffernan, 46)
Subs not used: O’Donnell, Spurr, Reynolds, Beevers, Sedgwick
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Doumbe, MacKenzie, Woodards (Chicksen, 53), Gleeson, Leven, Marsh-Brown (Gy, 61), Chadwick, Powell (Stirling, 82), Ibehre
Subs not used: Searle, Amoo, Vine, G Baldock, Chicksen
Booked: Jameson, Doumbe, MacKenzie, Lewington, Guy, Leven, Stirling
Sent off: MacKenzie, Leven