A second half fight back saw Dons rescue a point against 10 man Swindon Town on Saturday, drawing 1-1 at stadium:mk.
In the day’s early kick off, fans and TV viewers were treated to a spectacular opener from Alex Pritchard, who bent a free kick around the wall and into the top corner after 17 minutes.
Dons had no response in the first half, but looked a different side in the second. They were aided heavily by Nathan Byrne’s straight red card seven minutes after the restart though. And Dons wasted no time in making their advantage count as Patrick Bamford scored his fifth of the season to equalise.
It was all Dons in the closing stages, but they couldn’t break down the stubborn Swindon defence.
After Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Northampton, Karl Robinson reverted back to his more recognised League 1 line-up, with David Martin between the stick and Darren Potter and Stephen Gleeson in the middle of the park. Lee Hodson played for Northern Ireland against Portugal on Friday night, so Jon Otsemobor took over at right back.
Both sides started well in the opening 15 minutes, but it was Martin who was the busier of the two keepers. First, he needed to be on his toes to keep out Alex Pritchard after Jason Banton gave the ball away on half way, and he did well to stop Nathan Byrne’s effort.
But there was nothing he could do to even get close to Pritchard’s 16th minute free kick as it bent into the very top corner to fire Swindon into the lead.
After that, the game settled into an even affair. Dons saw more of the ball, but barely made Wes Foderingham work. The shots they did manage to get off were well defended by the Swindon back four, throwing themselves bravely in front of the ball.
Swindon looked more likely to add to the scoring though, and Martin again had to be at his best to prevent them from going 2-0 up just before the interval. Pritchard skinned Lewington on the Swindon right and burst into the area. His cross-come-shot was palmed away by the diving Martin, but as Dons failed to clear, the ball fell kindly to Ranger who looked to bend it into the far corner. But Martin again managed to get across to push the ball out for a corner.
Dons carved themselves their first decent chance barely a minute into the second half when Chadwick managed to get in behind the Swindon defence and cut back for Banton. But the winger’s torrid afternoon continued as his strike was scuffed up showhow into his own chest before being bundled over the line for a corner.
The home side were dealt a huge helping hand just six minutes into the second half though, as Swindon were reduced to 10 men. After a brilliant run from Byrne, he was dispossessed by Williams on the edge of the Dons box. As Williams broke forward, Byrne appeared to stamp down on Williams as he attempted to clear. Referee Stuart Atwell wasted no time in flashing the red card to the Swindon man.
And Dons wasted no time in making their man advantage count. With Swindon still trying to reorganise after Byrne’s dismissal, Dons broke forward and Potter slid in Bamford. With his first real sight of goal, he shrugged off the challenge of Grant Hall and rolled the ball nicely past Fodingham into the bottom corner to tie things up at 1-1.
From there, it was all Dons. Swindon took off Ranger and the dangerous Pritchard to shore things up at the back, while Robinson threw on Izale McLeod and Dele Alli to put the squeeze on them up front.
But with Swindon sat back, Dons simply couldn’t create anything clear cut. With the introduction of McLeod, Bamford filled in in the hole behind but couldn’t be such a potent threat.
Substitute George Baldock had the ball in the net with two minutes to go, but was deemed to be offside when Bamford got his initial shot away, which was deflected into Baldock’s path.
McLeod came within inches of a long pump up field too with just the keeper to beat, but there just wasn’t enough to separate the sides.
Dons’ unbeaten record remains in tact with the draw, but they should have put to bed the side with fewer men.
Referee: Stuart Atwell
Attendance: 7,738 639
MK Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, Lewington, Williams, Kay, Gleeson, Potter, Banton (McLeod 74), Green (Baldock 81), Chadwick (Alli 74), Bamford
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Smith, Reeves, Galloway
Swindon Town: Foderingham, Thompson, Byrne, Luongo (Harley 85), Hall, Mason, Ranger (Ajose 62), Pritchard (N’Gusson 73), McEverley, Kasim, Ward
Subs not used: Belford, Thompson, Storey, Barthram
Booked: Green, Chadwick, Hall, Mason, Kasim
Sent off: Byrne