By Martin Atherton
Despite coming back from 2-0, Russell Martin’s MK Dons will come away frustrated after being held to a 2-2 draw by a Shrewsbury Town side.
The away side had initially taken the lead within thirty seconds before then doubling it shortly after half time, but goals from Carlton Morris and Cameron Jerome ensured the Dons took something from the match.
It was veteran striker Shaun Whalley that gave his side the lead from the start, neatly firing home past Fisher after a mix-up in midfield had left the forward through on goal against a helpless Keogh. 0-1.
The early goal appeared to knock all confidence out of Martin’s side who looked completely lost. There was no shape, no determination, and no desire to turn things around.
On the half hour mark, Sørensen was replaced by fellow youngster Kasumu – the Dane having struggled against an aggressive Shrews midfield. Little came of it immediately, though, and the Dons limped towards half-time without creating much in the way of chances.
Shortly before the interval, Rickett’s side should have doubled their advantage – the linesman, however, flagging for an unclear offside and saving the Dons’ blushes. 0-1 HT.
Immediately after the restart the Dons looked somewhat more assured – but this was short lived. Another terrible mix-up at the back allowed Whalley to slip in Marc Pugh, who duly tapped into an unguarded net. 0-2.
Martin’s side, however, quickly fought back five minutes later through Carlton Morris, the Norwich City loanee neatly firing home after a great team move to put the game back into contention. 1-2.
The Dons’ pressure intensified as they became once again fulfilled with confidence. Full debutant Surman headed just wide from a cross as his side came closer; immediately after, Gladwin was brought on to give the hosts another attacking edge.
And that almost immediately paid off as Jerome fired home an equaliser, latching onto an excellent ball by Kasumu to fire past Iliev and bring the tie level. Though offside questions were raised by the travelling side, Drysdale pointed the centre-circle for a Dons goal. Get in! 2-2.
From then on, the traffic became all one-way. Forgetting their first-half woes, the Dons pushed for a winner – and Fraser so nearly came close, the midfielder narrowly firing wide of Iliev’s goal.
But as time went on it became clear that it wasn’t meant to be, and the Dons will walk away disappointed having failed to beat a poor Shrewsbury Town side on their own patch. Regardless, they showed great character to come back from behind – something that has somewhat been missing this season at times. FT 2-2.
Baily Cargill’s woes…
Defender Baily Cargill once again struggled this evening, a player about whom so many had so much hope during pre-season.
The former AFC Bournemouth man has failed to build on an excellent opening day showing at Doncaster Rovers and still remains winless when having started in an MK Dons side this season.
Despite the Dons now playing his favoured formation – a back three, with the former Cherry on the left – he has still failed to adapt and looked nothing but unsure tonight, making veteran defender Richard Keogh’s job as hard as ever.
It will remain to be seen whether the defender remains part of plans moving forward after tonight’s performance.
Impressive Cam Jerome
Despite many – including myself! – having had their doubts upon his arrival, Cam Jerome once again showed his class this evening with another well-taken goal.
At the age of 34, the former Norwich City man looks as bright as ever – and, personally, I certainly wouldn’t be putting it past him to score at least 15 this season. Currently on four, though having been denied a perfectly valid strike against AFC a few weeks back, he has already hit the ground running without a shadow of a doubt.
But it wasn’t just his goals that made him vital to his side this evening. His link-up play and leadership were key, providing a focal point for the Dons when they were able to get the ball forward.
His intelligence is so clear to see; his work ethic only amplifies that. Easily one of the best additions made under the new regime, we can only hope that his contract is seen into the next campaign.
Once again, though, it was an early goal that left the Dons with a mountain to climb.
Are they to be a force in this division moving forward, they need to sort out their poor early starts. Yet again they were slow, lethargic, and failed to put themselves in the driving seat early on.
A trip to an out-of-form National League side in Barnet comes on Sunday as MK look to secure their place in the third round of the FA Cup.