Town: Chris Weale, Cameron Gayle, Joe Jacobson, Darren Jones, Yado Mambo, Marvin Morgan (Purdie, 76), Matt Richards (c), Dave McAllister, Luke Summerfield, Tom Eaves (Porter, 90), Jon Taylor (Parry, 87)
Subs: Joe Anyon, Connor Goldson, Luke Rodgers, Steve McGinn, Paul Parry, Rob Purdie, Chris Porter
MK Dons: Ian McLoughlin, Dean Lewington (c), Mathias Kouo-Doumbe (Gleeson, 38), Shaun Williams, Darren Potter, Dean Bowditch, Adam Chicksen, Izale McLeod (Bamford, 54), Ryan Lowe, Chris Lines (Smith, 82), Antony Kay
Subs: Jon Otsemobor, Stephen Gleeson, Alan Smith, Tom Flanagan, George Baldock, Patrick Bamford
Referee: D. Phillips
Assistants: N. Hair & M. Mellor
Fourth Official: C. Hicks
Attendance: 6,672 (233 from Shrewsbury)
Martin Wild reports from stadium mk
Graham Turner made one change to his starting line up with Marvin Morgan preferred in attack to partner Tom Eaves. Chris Porter had to be content with a place on the bench in an otherwise unchanged Town 18 from the side that lost at home to Leyton Orient on Saturday.
The temperature gauge in Buckinghamshire wasn’t much higher than zero with plummeting temperatures expected later on. But undersoil heating at stadium mk would at least protect the playing surface against frost and allow it to take a decent stud. A small, but hardy band of travelling Salopians were gathered away to our left, and they were hoping to see their team arrest a slide that has brought about defeats in each of their last three outings.
The first attempt on goal drew warm applause from the home fans as Adam Chicksen lined one up from fully 25 yards but the ball didn’t dip enough and went a yard or so over the top of Chris Weale’s crossbar.
With most of the possession taking place in the Town half, the visitors took the lead against the run of play after 16 minutes. Tom Eaves did well to shake off the attentions of a defender to create a little bit of room for himself and only had one thing on his mind. He simply crashed the ball past Ian McLoughlin and into the corner from outside the box to give Shrews an unlikely lead.
If that was a decent strike, the next one from the Bolton loanee was even better - from similar range but from more of an angle. Eaves used a defender as a shield this time before curling a beauty with pace to pierce the corner of Dons’ net for a second time!
It was an incredible few minutes for Turner’s side. They’d barely been seen as an attacking force in the opening quarter of an hour but two opportunist efforts inside three minutes had already got the home fans extremely twitchy.
The two goal lead though was halved from a set play after 26 minutes. Dean Bowditch swung over a corner which Antony Kay flicked on and the ball struck an unmarked and unsuspecting Ryan Lowe inside the 6 yard box to bounce into the net off the ex-Town striker’s knee. It was slightly fortuitous and got the supporters behind their side again.
Town had picked up a couple of bookings at this point with Joe Jacobson and Eaves entering the referee’s notebook for niggly fouls on either flank around the halfway line.
It looked like the game was full of goals and a clever flick by Eaves put Jon Taylor in behind 10 minutes before the break. The winger chose to take on the right foot shot early and it brought a good stop out of McLoughlin who went full stretch to push the ball out.
A few minutes later MK chief Karl Robinson made what looked like a tactical switch with Mathias Kouo-Doumbe withdrawn for Stephen Gleeson.
Shrews were moving the ball well and creating a good number of openings but the hosts almost levelled when Izale McLeod connected well with a volley but could only fire straight at Weale from the edge of the box.
Eaves and Morgan combined again as Town went on the offensive again and although the ball was headed out, it fell kindly for Luke Summerfield. The midfielder took aim from distance but rather dragged the effort and it bobbled harmlessly wide of the upright.
The wall did its job in keeping out a Lowe free kick in added on time, and Yado Mambo got in a timely block to thwart Gleeson with the seconds ebbing away to preserve Salop’s lead at the halfway stage.
Half Time: MK Dons 1 Town 2
Both managers resisted the urge to make changes during the interval with Town attacking the goal behind which their fans are gathered for the second half.
The half got off to the worst possible start with the hosts levelling from their first attack on 47 minutes. A needless free-kick was conceded by Mambo level with the 18 yard line and Shaun Williams’ deep floated cross left Lowe with the simplest of tasks to nod home unopposed at the back stick. Turner’s half time brief would have been to keep things tight but the defenders switched off and once the cross had eluded Weale there was no protection to deny Lowe his second.
McLeod might have made things worse two minutes later with Town visibly shaken by the equaliser, but his shot flew wide much to the relief of everyone in blue and amber. Robinson soon put the crook round McLeod’s neck with Patrick Bamford joining the fray in the host’s second change of the evening.
The goal had altered the dynamics of the game with MK now comfortably on top and Shrews rueful of some slack marking at dead ball situations. The corresponding fixture at the Greenhous had ended 2-2 but with half an hour left, it looked unlikely that the scores would stay deadlocked here. As the Dons pressed again, Gleeson almost caught out Weale with a speculative punt but the keeper breathed a huge sigh of relief as the ball clattered the net support behind the goal.
Town went back in front after 69 minutes with a goal right out of the comedy club. Matt Richards launched a hopeful ball forward just inside his own half and it was miles away from a team mate. Step forward Kay who cushioned the neatest volley past his keeper who was stood right behind him as he’d come to collect at the edge of his area. The ball rolled into the unguarded net right in front of the visiting fans as the unfortunate Kay pulled his white jersey over his head to hide his crimson face.
With Town now somehow back in front, Eaves was a whisker away from a treble when he shot across the face of goal after being teed up by Taylor.
Credit to the home side, they looked like scoring every time they came forward, and they were coming forward in waves. Town had 15 minutes in which to hold out and Rob Purdie was introduced for Morgan as Turner sacrificed a striker in a bid to shore up the defence.
Former Leeds, Manchester United and Newcastle man Alan Smith came on for MK with eight minutes left and the home supporters had gone noticeably quiet since the horror own goal. It had come at a time when their side had looked odds on to complete the comeback.
Taylor’s night was up and Paul Parry had three minutes plus at least the same again in additional time in which to help his teammates over the line.
Jacobson’s fresh air swing at the ball almost let in Bowditch bang on the whistle but Weale kept out the close range effort with his legs just as four minutes were signalled for Town to hang on.
Porter’s introduction for Eaves used up some precious time a minute before MK were denied a last gasp leveller when Weale spectacularly kept out Smith’s goalbound header.
Town defended the corner and managed to rack up another highly impressive away victory – a fourth on the road this year.
Full Time: MK Dons 2 Town 3