Ten men of Accrington hold on to deny Dons first win of the year

Accrington Stanley 1-1 MK Dons

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 5:07 pm

MK Dons were held to a draw by a resolute Accrington performance after going down to 10-men in the first half, drawing 1-1 at Wham Stadium

MK Dons poked and probed but could not find a decisive goal to take home the win against 10-man Accrington Stanley on Saturday, drawing 1-1 at the Wham Stadium.

Mo Eisa’s sixth goal of the season on 24 minutes cancelled out Colby Bishop’s eighth minute opener with both sides looking lively and on the front foot.

But when Liam Coyle caught Daniel Harvie in the midriff 11 minutes before the break, earning him a straight red card, the hosts shut down and defended resolutely. Sitting deep, Accrington denied Dons any space in the final third, clinging on for a point as Dons left dejected at the final whistle.

After making eight changes to the side for Tuesday night's Papa John's Trophy game with Charlton Athletic, Liam Manning reverted to a more recognised starting line-up for the trip to the Wham Stadium, with just one change to the side which started the draw with Gillingham on New Year's Day. David Kasumu came into the centre of the park for Josh McEachran, while Friday's loan signing Theo Corbeanu was not registered in time to be eligible for the game.

Too many times this season Dons have fallen behind in games and despite making a promising start, with Mo Eisa having an effort deflected just wide, it was Accrington who took an early lead.

Keeper Andrew Fisher has been subject to speculation about his future this week, but he would have been disappointed with the way Stanley took the lead, when a deep free-kick from the half-way line was aimed at big striker Colby Bishop who headed over the Dons stopper from a long way out after just nine minutes.

The warning signs were already there when giant defender Ross Sykes headed over earlier, and Sykes was again the target as Accrington looked to double their lead, but Fisher got down well to deny him.

After the wobble though, Dons began to get back into the action and were level on 24 minutes when Eisa did well with Scott Twine's defence-splitting ball, cutting inside Sykes to find the bottom corner.

With Dons getting on top after drawing level, they were handed a huge boost when Liam Coyle caught Daniel Harvie high with his studs, referee Will Finnie wasting little time in sending the Stanley player off.

Dons could and probably should have gone in ahead at the break against the compact Stanley defence, with pantomime villain Harvie putting one on a plate for Matt O'Riley, but he could only slide it into Toby Savin's arms.

The second half would prove a frustrating one for Dons as they were met with Accrington's red wall as they looked content to sit deep and defend their point. The visitors poked and probed for the whole half but really found a clear opening hard to come by as the home defence remained disciplined. Such was Dons’ dominace in the second half, they had 92 per cent possession.

Efforts from range were all Dons could really carve for themselves, with Twine having a couple well-saved by Savin, while Harry Darling also chanced his arm from range but Sykes led the Stanley defence bravely, throwing himself on the line on more than one occasion as Dons failed to make the break-through.

Deep into stoppage time, Dons hit the base of the post when Lewington's cross hit a few players on the way through as the spoils were shared.

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 1,880 (217)

Accrington Stanley: Savin, Hamilton, Sykes, Butcher, O'Sullivan (Amankwah 46), Bishop, McConville, Nottingham, Leigh (Pell 46), Clark

Subs not used: Rodgers, Nolan, Malcoln, Mansell, Trafford

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O'Hora (Watson 75), Darling, Harvie, Kioso, Kasumu (McEachran 44), O'Riley, Twine, Parrott (Boateng 83), Eisa

Subs not used: Ravozzili, Jules, Robson, Ilunga

Booked: Lewington, Hamilton

Sent off: Coyle