Dons held to a goal-less draw by Walsall
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Mo Eisa missed a sitter in stoppage time to deny MK Dons a win against Walsall on Tuesday night, with the sides sharing the spoils of a goal-less draw.
With Dons chasing their first win in six League Two matches, Eisa got on the end of substitute Jonathan Leko’s cross in the final knockings of the game at the Poundland Bescot Stadium, but somehow fired over the bar for Graham Alexander’s side.
It was a solid performance from the visitors, who had plenty of chances to break the deadlock prior to Eisa’s chance - the best of them falling to Ellis Harrison who’s dramatic overhead kick was well-saved by keeper Owen Evans.
At the other end, a stand-out showing from Anthony Stewart limited Walsall to efforts from range, with the result seeing Dons remain 11th in the standings ahead of Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.
After withdrawing late on Saturday through illness, Cameron Norman returned to the side to face Walsall as the only change made to Graham Alexander's side from the one which lined up against Harrogate Town. Brooklyn Ilunga, who replaced the former Newport man, dropped to to the bench, with Conor Grant missing out.
The opening half at the Bescot showed real promise for Alexander's side. From the opening whistle, Dons looked bright and popped the ball around well. Norman, returning from illness, found acres of space on the right flank against his former club, with pockets of boos from his old fanbase not putting him off his stride.
Ellis Harrison and Mo Eisa both had early sights of goal but neither could really test keeper Owen Evans, while defenders Daniel Harvie and Warren O'Hora had the stopper scrambling despite missing the target.
Harrison, who was still looking for his first goal for the club since signing on transfer deadline day, saw a header acrobatically denied by Evans, who was by far the busier of the two keepers in the opening 45 minutes.
Craig MacGillivray's powder was kept relatively dry thanks in large part to Anthony Stewart. The defender on loan from Aberdeen had a storming first-half, winning everything coming in his direction, earning the plaudits of the visiting fans who chanted his name with every challenge.
The second-half followed much of the same script, with Dons having the better of the chances, with scatterings of Walsall efforts which did just enough to keep the game on a knife-edge.
A scrappy midfield fight broke out which prevented a good flow to the affair, but chances continued to come at both ends.
Harrison's hapless start to life at Dons continued but he had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring with his final involvement 22 minutes from time with a brilliantly struck overhead kick which keeper Evans did well to palm away.
Walsall were limited to half-chances and efforts from range for the most part thanks to Stewart leading the defence, but Isaac Hutchinson and substitute Tom Knowles forced MacGillivray into saves as the game edged towards the conclusion.
Dons could and should have won it in stoppage time though, when Eisa got on the end of substitute Jonathan Leko's ball into the six yard box, but somehow angled his shot over the bar.
Referee: Christopher Pollard
Walsall: Evans, Gordon, McEntee, Daniels, Riley, Hutchinson, Draper, H Williams, Oteh (Knowles 72), Stirk, Tierney (Matt 88)
Subs not used: Smith, James-Taylor, Foulkes, Johnson, Griffiths
MK Dons: MacGillivray, O’Hora, Stewart, Harvie, Tomlinson, Norman, Williams, Gilbey, Payne (Leko 68), Harrison (Dennis 68), Eisa
Subs not used: Kelly, Tucker, Ilunga, Robson, Dean
Booked: Harrison, McEntee, Hutchinson, Williams, Gilbey, Norman