By Martin Atherton
In a game subject to some questionable officiating, neither MK Dons nor Northampton Town were able to find the breakthrough as both sides held each other to a scoreless draw.
Owing to his next two games being against Eastleigh and Southampton U21s respectively, Russell Martin was able to name a strong MK Dons XI – but, even so, his men failed to find a way through a poor Cobblers side.
Both Warren O’Hora and Richard Keogh were called into action early for the away side, the latter of whom proving to be a strong last line of defence as the hosts endured the best of the opening exchanges.
David Kasumu then picked up his customary booking as few chances were created during the first half; however, the most worrying point then came as star midfielder Scott Fraser, three goals in October, pulled up after an off-the-ball incident and was forced into being replaced by Louis Thompson.
Regan Poole went perhaps closest to opening the scoring in the dying moments of the first half with a rasping effort seen just past Mitchell’s goal. HT 0-0.
The game then somewhat came alive immediately into the second period, Cameron Jerome seemingly fouled within the Cobblers’ area – the referee, however, refusing to point to the spot and waiving play on.
Nicky Adams and Ricky Holmes, both of whom having scored vital goals against the Dons in recent years – Adams’ scoring in the 4-3 defeat to Bury in January 2019, whilst Holmes netted twice in the dramatic 2-2 FA Cup tie at Sixfields in January 2016 – were introduced for the hosts, but this failed to bring that elusive spark that either side lacked.
Dan Harvie saw a free kick narrowly behind for a corner before a host of other chances were created by the Dons, but truth be told Martin’s never looked like finding that goal. Ste Walker and Ben Gladwin were both introduced, the former looking to build on his midweek goal last Tuesday, but the duo were unable to provide that clinical finish.
Poole then once again sent a driving effort towards goal but, as had been becoming ever more the inevitable, the Dons failed to capitalise on their superiority and put their poor hosts to the sword. FT 0-0.
Another disappointing result for Martin’s side who, despite being positive with their play, failed to earn those all-important points on the scoreboard.
It remains to be seen the extent to of Fraser’s injury in the first half, the Dons midfielder having been so important in their recovery over the past few games. A key cog in the MK Dons machine both offensively and defensively, fans will wait anxiously throughout the week for news on their #10.
MK go again on Sunday away to National League side Eastleigh, finally looking to break their away day hoodoo and avoid an embarrassing defeat to non-League opposition.
Northampton Town: Mitchell, Horsfall, Bolger, Sheehan, Harriman, Sowerby, Watson (Adams 57’), Marshall (Holmes 58’), Hoskins, Smith, Rose (Ashley-Seal 77’).
MK Dons: Fisher, O’Hora, Keogh, Lewington, Poole, Kasumu (Gladwin 70’), Houghton, Thompson (36’), Harvie, Morris, Jerome (Walker 70’).