REPORT: MK Dons 0-1 Fleetwood: The Cod Army marches past Dons

Chuks Aneke
Chuks Aneke

MK Dons were made to pay for their poor defending of set pieces as Fleetwood Town nabbed a 1-0 win at Stadium MK on Saturday.

Cian Bolger had one cleared off the line, as did Ashley Eastham, before heading home the only goal of the game on the hour mark, as the home side once again faltered in front of goal.

Harvey Barnes crashed one against the bar early in the match, but it was as close as Dons would come, with only a string of half chances to their name as they slipped to 16th in League 1.

After the goal-less draw in the week with Bury, Robbie Neilson welcomed back Nicky Maynard and Darren Potter from injury and suspension repectively. Dean Lewington also overcame his ankle injury, which ruled him out of the last four matches, to return to the subs bench.

Fleetwood hadn't lost a match in League 1 since November prior to their visit to Stadium MK, but found themselves hemmed into their own half for the first 20 minutes as Dons came out on the front foot. The home side were the width of the frame away from opening the scoring early when Harvey Barnes bent a beautiful effort over keeper Alex Cairns, only to see it slam against the bar in the best chance of the first half.

Dons' neat passing and early pressure though would ultimately come up short as Fleetwood began to find their feet. But they struggled to make any meaningful impact on David Martin's goal.

Half chances for Nicky Maynard and Chuks Aneke were just about the best of the action as the game coasted into half time.

While Fleetwood barely registered a shot in the first half, they almost took the lead four minutes into the second half when defender Ashley Eastham rose high above the Dons defence to send a header goalwards, only to be denied by George Baldock on the line.

They were once again cleared off the line five minutes later, this time Stuart O'Keefe acrobatically clearing Cian Bolger's header as Dons struggled to make headway at the other end.

Defending set pieces was proving to be a tough task for Dons, so it was hardly a surprise when Bolger finally got one over the line, powerfully heading in Fleetwood's opener on the hour mark.

Aside from their poor set piece work, Dons didn't really do an awful lot wrong, but lacked a spark. Aneke showed glimmers of an edge as he had a couple of ambitous efforts which were never troubling Cairns, while Barnes' trickery translated on both flanks, but with Fleetwood sat so deep, it made it neigh on impossible for the home side to break down.

The result means Dons are now three without a win, and indeed a goal, and drop to 16th in the table.

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley

Attendance: 8,278 (159)

MK Dons: Martin, Baldock, Downing, Williams, Tilney, Potter, O'Keefe (Agard 78), Barnes, Bowditch (muirhead 88), Aneke, Maynard (Ngombo 62)

Subs not used: Nicholls, Lewington, Powell, Brittain

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, McLaughlin (Epkolo 65), Bell, Brannagan (Ball 54), Eastham, Grant, Bolger, Glendon, Dempsey, Davies, Cole (Hunter 74)

Subs not used: Neal, Davis, Nirennold, Schwabl

Booked: Downing