REPORT: Hull 1-1 MK Dons: Dons take vital point at Hull

MK Dons celebrate Milton Keynes Dons midfielder Antony Kay(6) scoring goal to go 1-0 up  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164531002
MK Dons celebrate Milton Keynes Dons midfielder Antony Kay(6) scoring goal to go 1-0 up during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164531002

Dons extended their unbeaten run to three games after picking up a remarkable point on the road at Hull on Saturday, drawing 1-1.

After a finely balanced opening half, Antony Kay headed Dons into a shock lead five minutes into the second half. But the advantage would last just three minutes as Sam Clucas’ brilliantly taken free kick levelled things up.

Hull City midfielder Sam Clucas (11) during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164553002

Hull City midfielder Sam Clucas (11) during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164553002

With results elsewhere looking threatening for Dons, they were dealt a blow when keeper David Martin had to hobble off, but replacement Cody Cropper made a fine stop near the end to deny Adama Diomande and keep Dons level.

Rotherham’s incredible comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 means Dons are still just a point outside the relegation zone.

Daniel Powell was handed his first start since late December to counter the speed of Moses Odujabo on the left-hand side as Dons went with a pacy front line which also featured Josh Murphy and Rob Hall. Alex Revell returned to lead the line, with Nicky Maynard, Dean Bowditch and Jonny Williams dropping to the bench. Injured Jake Forster-Caskey missed out again with a foot problem.

Despite the gulf in league positions, there wasn’t much to separate the two sides in the opening 45 minutes. Dons set out their stall early, and looked to use Revell as the hold-up man to allow Hall, Murphy and Powell to buzz around him to cause problems for the Hull defence.

Hull City striker Abel Hernandez (9) dispares at his missed shot at goal  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164542002

Hull City striker Abel Hernandez (9) dispares at his missed shot at goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164542002

The home side though were playing some nice stuff in the attacking third, but were stifled as Dons’ wingers dropped back in to support Dean Lewington and George Baldock from being doubled up on.

With the defences very much on top, it meant neither David Martin nor Allan McGregor had much to do to earn their keep - though the Dons stopper could at least watch Curtis Davies and Chuba Akpom’s strikes safely into the stands behind him.

But the game burst into life in the second half, and it was sparked by an unlikely source. Having barely played in recent weeks, Antony Kay rose highest to meet Rob Hall’s corner five minutes after the restart to head Dons into the lead.

But their advantage would last just three minutes. While Dons wanted handball from Odubajo on the touchline, play went on and Hull were able to win a free kick on the edge of the area as Samir Carruthers upended Abel Hernandez, earning himself a yellow card. Catching Martin by surprise though, Sam Clucas bent his free kick into the near post, completely wrong-footing the keeper and equalising for the home side.

Milton Keynes Dons midfielder Antony Kay(6) scores to go 1-0 up during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164459002

Milton Keynes Dons midfielder Antony Kay(6) scores to go 1-0 up during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Milton Keynes Dons at the KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England on 12 March 2016. Photo by Ian Lyall. PNL-161203-164459002

Now with a fire lit under it, the match was balanced on a knife edge. Tempers were flaring all over the pitch as Dons tried to absorb the Hull pressure as they piled forwards in search of a winner.

Dons were dealt a blow on 70 minutes though as Martin slumped to the ground after a kick upfield, forcing Robinson into his first change, replacing the stricken keeper with Cody Cropper. He’d be in for a long 20 minutes as Hull threw everything at the visitors. The defence though was holding firm, and though at sixes and sevens at times, a definitive chance never came for the home side.

While he mopped up, Cropper’s only real save came in the final minute of normal time when he had to be at full stretch to keep out substitute Adama Diomande’s effort from range.

And after eight minutes of stoppage time, Dons were able to hold on to take an unlikely point to remain outside the relegation zone.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attenance:

Hul City: McGregor, Odubajo (Diomande 89), Dawson, Davies, Robertson, Hayden (Aluko 73), Diame (Huddlestone 78), Elmohamedy, Clucas, Akpom, Hernandez

Subs not used: Jakupovic, Bruce, Maguire, Meyler

MK Dons: Martin (Cropper 70), Lewington, Kay, McFadzean, Baldock, Potter, Carruthers, Murphy, Hall (Bowditch 76), Powell (Williams 83), Revell

Subs not used: Spence, Reeves, Emmanuel-Thomas, Maynard

Booked: Hayden, Carruthers, Kay, Huddlestone