REPORT: MK Dons 2-2 Millwall: Agard makes his mark immediately
Record signing Kieran Agard made an immediate impact for his new club as MK Dons came from 2-0 to draw 2-2 with Millwall on Saturday.
After a tight start, Dons found themselves trailing 2-0, as Ed Upson turned into his own net against his former club, before Aiden O’Brien rattled home a second.
But for the second time in a week, Dons reversed a 2-0 arrears to draw level and they had their new record signing to thank.
Agard’s first came from a low drive from the edge of the box just two minutes after O’Brien had doubled the lead, while his second - a looping header over Jordan Archer - came 11 minutes from half time to restore parity.
The second half saw both sides have a series of half chances, but Dons keeper David Martin made two fine stops to prevent the Lions taking the spoils.
Agard went straight into the starting line-up as Karl Robinson made 11 changes to the side which played at Newport County in the EFL Cup. Agard replaced injured Samir Carruthers in the only change from the side which started the League 1 opener against Shrewsbury a week ago.
With both sides heavily tipped to be in or around the promotion battle this season, it was a decidedly tight affair in the opening 25 minutes, but it took a huge slice of luck for the visitors to take the lead. From a corner, Millwall skipper Tony Craig rose about Joe Walsh to win the initial header, but in a bid to head away, Ed Upson, playing against his former club, put into his own net.
Stunned, Dons found themselves 2-0 barely two minutes later when David Worrall found himself totally unmarked at the far post to roof Aiden O’Brien’s cross.
Incredibly though, Dons would come from two goals down for the second time in as many games, and the home fans would be celebrating their new record signing. Agard notched up his first goal for the club to get Dons back into it just two minutes after Worrall doubled the lead. Bringing the ball down on the edge of the box, he fired in a low driving effort, which went through a crowd of players and beat Jordan Archer as it speared into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
And he added his second of the game six minutes later, but questions had to be asked of keeper Archer’s indecision. Chasing Upson’s long ball forward, Archer looked the favourite for the dropping ball, but inexplicably let it bounce in the area, allowing Agard to lob a header up and over him into the unguarded net to equalise.
Now with the wind in their sails, Dons dominated the remainder of the half, with Millwall desperate to get into the changing rooms. Daniel Powell, who dominated full-back Mahlon Romeo, saw a shot just wide of the upright, while GC Williams, who played a mere cameo in the half really, put the ball into the danger area but couldn’t pick out a Dons shirt.
Having chucked away their advantage, Millwall had the better of the play early in the second half as Dons lost all their momentum at the break. Penned in their own territory for long periods, the home side had to thank keeper David Martin for keeping it level as he tipped O’Brien’s shot just wide after he picked up a loose header in midfield.
Dons had a few chances of their own in the closing stages, but Nicky Maynard and Darren Potter couldn’t steer their efforts on target.
With the match finely balanced, David Martin was called into action again seven minutes from time to acrobatically deny Tony Craig, tipping his header over the bar.
A late chance for 17-year-old Brandon Thomas-Asante forced a fine stop from Archer, but both sides had to eventually settle for a share of the spoils.
Referee: Simon Hooper
MK Dons: D Martin, Lewington, Walsh, Downing, Baldock, Potter, Upson, Powell, GC Williams (Bowditch 61), Agard (Thomas-Asante 87) Maynard
Subs not used: Nicholls, Wootton, GB Williams, Jackson, Tshimanga
Millwall: Archer, Craig, S Williams (Abdou 29), Worrall (Onyedinma 82), Thompson, Gregory, Romeo, Webster, Ferguson (J Martin 81), Morison, O’Brien
Subs not used: King, Martin, Wylde, Nelson, Philpot
Booked: Potter, Romeo