The long awaited League 1 win continues to elude MK Dons as they failed to beat bottom club Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Tuesday night, drawing 1-1.
Fans won’t be flocking to the club shops to buy the game on DVD, with neither side really showing any intent to go on and earn a much-needed victory – misplacing passes and giving up possession cheaply were on the menu for the 9,815 fans in attendance.
Karl Robinson made three changes to the side that drew at Carlisle on Saturday – out went Ryan Lowe, Chris Lines and injured keeper David Martin, replaced by Daniel Powell, Izale McLeod and Ian McLoughlin – making his first league start for the club.
The Fratton Park surface was to play a key part in the game. It’s bobbly nature meant passing along the ground was almost impossible and Darren Potter’s usual midfield influence on Dons’ play was somewhat muted.
The long ball in behind for former Pompey man McLeod to chase seemed to be Dons’ tactic of choice in the early stages, but the first chance fell to Luke Chadwick as he latched onto a ball beyond the home defence, but struck over the crossbar.
McLoughlin’s kicking looked a bit shaky early on, but he did well to keep his cool during a goalmouth scramble, throwing himself at Patrick Agyemang’s feet as the battle ensued, before the ball was eventually hacked clear.
Pompey didn’t have to wait long to seek out an opener though, just four minutes in fact as Jed Wallace’s free kick from the left was flicked on by David Connolly. The ball looped up and over the head of the hapless McLoughlin, and into the far corner.
The lead though lasted just five minutes. A deep free kick was flicked on by McLeod to Shaun Williams, who neatly controlled before lashing home an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net to equalise for the visitors.
It was a scrappy start to the second half, and one which McLeod will probably want to forget. After shanking an early chance well off the mark from a good position inside the box – much to the delight of the home supporters – the striker then produced one of the most bizarre misses.
After some great work by Powell on the flank, he worked himself some space to chip the ball into the danger zone and pick out the unmarked McLeod at the far post. All the ball needed was a touch, but incredibly, McLeod watched it float past him and out of play. He was withdrawn just two minutes later, with Lowe taking over up front.
After removing the pantomime villain, the drama and excitement ebbed away from the encounter. Neither goalkeeper was really tested in the second period, though Dons were in the ascendency and penned Portsmouth into their own half, desperately trying to pass their way around the unpredictable pitch.
Without Dean Bowditch on the left flank, Dons appeared to be devoid of ideas, playing a much more narrow game than they’re usually known for and they lacked a creative spark.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth looked intent on settling for a draw as Agyemang tried his hardest to beat McLeod’s miss of the season with just eight minutes remaining.
After Connolly’s shot was blocked by Gary MacKenzie, the ball came to Agyemang stood on the goal line. Perhaps he knew that he was offside, because he rolled the ball back along the line into the arms of McLoughlin. It summed up the game perfectly.
Promotion looks a long way off for Robinson’s side at the moment, and wins will need to materialise soon if they still harbour dreams of a play-off place. It’s now seven League 1 games without a victory.