By Jon Harries
Even though I’d hoped for more, in truth a point was probably a fair result against AFC Opponent on the balance of chances. At least we didn’t lose (perish the thought) and It may sound arrogant, but I feel we should be beating teams like these at home, but It could turn out to be a crucial point at the end of the season.
We could have had a goal in the first minute with Jerome firing in and being judged offside (RM said he wasn’t). Then with their first attack in typical MK Dons style AFC Opponent took the lead. “Route One” football at its finest found Joe Piggot and after holding O’Hora off, rounded Fisher easily and found the back of the net. Home fans feared the worst and quite rightly, but their fears were quashed within three minutes. A slick Dons passing move ended with Walker who fed Jerome, who in turn put it on a plate for Scott Fraser to tap in from less than six yards out, parity restored. After that Connal Trueman wasn’t tested enough and in truth Opponent could have won it had it not been for Fisher leaping like a salmon to save from Steve Seddon and then Piggot in the second half, yet another example of possession doesn’t get you points (just one this time).
Onto Tuesday and our shortest away trip of the season, (21.6 miles via the A5) away to Northampton Town. In the past week Northampton Town have clocked up the miles with varying results. A 4-0 pasting by Portsmouth last Tuesday was followed by a trip to Wigan, who were put to the sword by the Dons last Tuesday night. They were two up within 20 minutes through ex Don Ryan Watson and Sam Hopkins. Joe Garner scored a penalty for Wigan in the second half only for Northampton to extend their lead once more through Chukwuemeka this time. Tom James pulled another back for the hosts, but the Cobblers hung on for a vital win.
Northampton currently sit one place and one point above the Dons going into Tuesday’s game. Their promotion via PPG and subsequently the playoffs was a welcome boost for Keith Curle and his squad. The loss of the spine of their team (Charlie Goode, Callum Morton and Badaine Oliver) has affected their start of the season with little time to replace the outgoings.
Like AFC Opponent they are known as another direct side, not much messing about, just loads of hopeful stuff direct from back to front with the occasional midfielder getting involved. Experienced Cian Bolger and Michael Harriman are old school centre back’s, with Watson and Nicky Adams providing the width. Christopher Missilou and Shaun McWilliams provide creativity and protection, with Sam Hopkins, Harry Smith and Ricky Cordoba providing physical, pace and guile up top, respectively. Luca Racic (on loan as part of Charlie Goode moving to Brentford) is one for the future.
Much was made by Cobblers fans on how best to replace Callum Morton, the West Bromwich Albion loanee almost single handedly took Northampton to Wembley and beyond when he joined in January. He was loaned to Lincoln this season (currently injured) but it seems they had a replacement already at Sixfields in Sam Hoskins who is a very tricky midfielder. With an eye for goal and flexibility on the pitch he likes to drop into pockets of space and pop up with a goal or an assist. He can play as a nine, a 10 or a wing back and could interchange with Ryan Watson. It could be a key battle with whoever is tasked with looking after him on Tuesday night.
Predicted Line Up
Williams – O’Hora – Keogh – Lewington – Harvie
Sorensen – Houghton – Fraser
Morris – Jerome
My team selections maybe off the mark but I just feel Regan Poole may need a rest. It’s been a busy month for the Welsh International and although he has done nothing to warrant being dropped, his passing on Saturday was not quite as good as usual. I believe we will need physicality against the Northampton defence and then utilise Walker off the bench in the second half.
I’m going with 1-0 away win with super sub Walker to score. I passionately believe the away day curse will finally be broken (even though I’ve never seen us win at Northampton).
Expect the possession Kings of Europe to dominate again as is the norm, its just a case of as usual, will they make the possession count and bring home the 3 points.
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