Healey rescues a point as Dons draw with Shrewsbury
Rhys Healey scored his ninth goal of the season to salvage a 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury to move MK Dons 10 points clear of the drop zone.
A bizarre chain of events in the first half saw Dons awarded a penalty and then a corner instead, and then thump the post through Louis Thompson but a mistake from Jordan Moore-Taylor gifted Shrewsbury the lead on the hour mark as Omar Beckles capitalised.
But back came Dons as Healey fired in with 12 minutes to go after Joe Murphy saved Sam Nombe's initial effort. They could have gone on to win it late on, twice hitting the woodwork, but their winless run away from home goes on.
After fears earlier in the week over their fitness, both Rhys Healey and Carlton Morris were declared fit for the trip to Shrewsbury as Russell Martin named an unchanged side from the one which started against Wycombe a week prior.
Dons knew a win over their opponents would see them jump ahead in the table, and it looked as though they would be given a golden opportunity after 22 minutes to take the lead when keeper Joe Murphy clattered Morris over, and referee Peter Wright pointed to the penalty spot. But within a few seconds, he had changed his mind and awarded a corner instead.
Chances were few and far between but the majority of chances came courtesy of Dons keeper Lee Nicholls. Having looked comfortable recently with the ball at his feet, the keeper suddenly looked all at sea when the ball was played back to him. And on three occasions in the opening half, his poor distribution went straight to Shrewsbury players with the goal wide open. Fortunately, he was let off the hook with a combination of poor finishing and good recovery play from his defence.
But Dons should have gone in at the break in front when Louis Thompson danced through the Shrewsbury defenders, but saw his strike come back off the upright and into the grateful arms of Murphy.
It felt as though it would need a mistake to separate the sides, and that's exactly what happened 16 minutes into the second period when Jordan Moore-Taylor allowed the ball to bounce over him, but also Josh Laurent to burst pass him and in on goal. After first rounding Nicholls, the ball fell to Callum Lang, who had only been on a matter of seconds, but the keeper recovered to deny him. The ball though was swept out to Omar Beckles who blasted it into the empty net.
But far from letting their heads drop, Dons piled forwards to seek out an equaliser. Healey twice narrowly drew the offside flag, but when the vital moment came, he pulled his side level. Regan Poole, on for Callum Brittain, won the ball brilliantly in midfield and set Sam Nombe through on goal. His strike drew a fine stop from Murphy, but the lose ball fell to Healey who fired high into the net, 12 minutes from time.
As the final whistle loomed though, the woodwork would twice deny Dons a dramatic winner, with first Healey thumping the bar from 30 yards, before Nombe then turned Alex Gilbey's cross onto the post in the final minute.
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 5,791 (447)
Shrewsbury: Murphy, Pierre, Edwards, RS Williams, Beckles, McAleny, Ramsay (Goss 52), Udoh, Ebanks-Landell, Laurent, Cummings (Lang 61)
Subs not used: O'Leary, Golbourne, Sears, Love, Hart
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Moore-Taylor, Williams, Brittain (Poole 71), Houghton, Thompson (McGrandles 65) , Gilbey, Healey, Morris, Nombe
Subs not used: Fisher, Walsh, Reeves, Gladwin, Kasumu
Booked: Houghton, Lewington