Whalley stunner rescues a draw
Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey (Louis Dodds 71), Mat Sadler (Lenell John-Lewis 80), Omar Beckles, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo ©, James Bolton, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman, Stefan Payne
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Carlton Morris, Louis Dodds, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Bryn Morris
MK Dons: Lee Nicholls, George Williams ©, Joe Walsh, Ed Upson, Osman Sow (Sam Nombe 54), Chuks Aneke, Peter Pawlett, Scott Golbourne, Kieran Agard, Conor McGrandles, Ethan Ebanks-Landell
Subs: Wieger Sietsma, Scott Wooton, Gboly Ariyibi, Ryan Seager, Aidan Nesbitt, Sam Nombe, Brandon Thomas-Asante
Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistants: Alix Pashley and Gregory Read
Fourth Official: Michael Webb
Attendance: 8355 (492)
Shaun Whalley’s stunning 86th minute strike rescued a point for Shrewsbury Town against MK Dons. Town had the better of the first-half, but it was the home side that would take the lead shortly after half-time when Chuks Aneke played in Peter Pawlett for the opener. That goal appeared to be giving MK Dons the victory until five minutes from time as Whalley curled an effort into the top corner from 30 yards. The draw means that Town remain in second-place in Sky Bet League One.
Paul Hurst makes five changes to the side that started Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy game against Port Vale, although there is only one change when compared with Town’s last league game against Bradford City with Captain Abu Ogogo returning after his three game suspension. The changes from Tuesday night see Dean Henderson, James Bolton, Ben Godfrey, Jon Nolan and Stefan Payne all return with Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Bryn Morris, Louis Dodds and Carlton Morris all dropping to the bench.
It was a very quiet opening 10 minutes as neither side managed to test the opposing ‘keeper. Town were looking to play through midfield, whilst the hosts were more inclined to get the ball forward early towards the powerful front pair of Aneke and Sow, but both sides were cancelling each other out.
In the 12th minute Town were awarded the first corner of the afternoon and it led to a slight moment of chaos in the MK Dons six yard box, but Lee Nicholls got down well to keep out Omar Beckles’ diving header.
Apart from that Beckles header, neither side had even attempted an effort on goal until Town created good chance 25 minutes in when Alex Rodman cut inside from the left-hand side and shot from the edge of the box. Nicholls got down to make the save but he couldn’t hold onto it and it fell to Stefan Payne six yards out tried to hammer it home but his shot went a few yards over the bar.
Town were now starting to get on top and James Bolton went close when he headed a deep free-kick from Mat Sadler just inches over the bar, although Nicholls probably had it covered in any case.
Shrewsbury were starting to look really assured in possession and played some lovely triangle passes, particularly down the right where the likes of Whalley, Nolan, Godfrey and Bolton were combining well, but the final was just off and Town weren’t able to really test Nicholls.
At the other end, Stefan Payne was forced to clear off the line as Ethan Ebanks-Landell headed an MK Dons corner towards goal and 30 seconds later Dean Henderson was called into action to keep out a powerful Kieran Agard volley from 25 yards.
Town managed to weather that slight storm and then created a chance of their own when Shaun Whalley cut inside onto his left foot, but his shot was weak and Nicholls comfortably held it.
Dean Henderson then made a world class save to keep out Osman Sow just four minutes before the break. A combination of Shaun Whalley and James Bolton lost the ball in the MK Dons half and the home side broke quickly through Chuks Aneke. Aneke fed it through to Peter Pawlett who then played it across to Kieran Agard who shot first time from just inside the box, but Henderson got down brilliantly to his right and tipped it round the post.
Half Time: 0-0
The second-half started with far more zip than the first-half had stated with and Alex Rodman made a good early run, taking the ball 50 yards before playing in a cross towards Payne, but he couldn't quite stretch his leg out enough to make a connection and Milton Keynes cleared.
With 56 minutes on the clock MK Dons took the lead against the run of play. A ball forward caused Town problems and the second ball dropped to Chuks Aneke who slipped through a lovely little pass to Peter Pawlett who kept his cool to neatly finish past the onrushing Dean Henderson from 10 yards.
That goal really seemed to take the sting out of the game and Town were creating very little, so Paul Hurst turned to his bench and brought on Louis Dodds for the final 20 minutes in place of Ben Godfrey.
However, it was the home side that looked the more dangerous as they decided to play on the break and Toto Nsiala had to get in a brilliant block to keep out Sam Nombe’s shot after Chuks Aneke’s brilliant run.
As the game ticked into the final 10 minutes Paul Hurst rolled the dice and decided to go to three at the back by bringing on Lenell John-Lewis in place of Mat Sadler.
It didn’t look like the changes would make much of a difference until five minutes from time as Town scored a goal out of nothing. The ball came out to Shaun Whalley on the right-hand side and he appeared to be steadying himself in order to deliver the ball into the box, but instead he went for goal from 30 yards out and it went into the top corner beyond the despairing dive of Lee Nicholls.