By Fan of the Year Jon Harries
14 days have passed since our last League 1 outing away at bottom of the table Doncaster Rovers in what looked another chance to extend our unbeaten run. Everything on and off the pitch made it look like that with Rovers suffering a 6-0 drubbing away at inconsistent Ipswich, whereas the Dons had a 3-3 thriller at home to Fleetwood.
The start of the game saw Doncaster fly out of the blocks, hitting the post twice and taking the lead in a frantic 10 minute spell resulting in Tommy Rowe scoring with a headed finish after some constant pressure.
The passing and intensity were lacking from the away side with Peter Kioso the only bright spark forcing a save from Dahlberg in goal, and from the resulting corner the equaliser. Troy Parrott heading across goal for Kioso to volley in from close range his second goal in two away games, the Dons though failed to assert any authority on the game and there were few moments of excitement for either set of fans leading up to the break.
Half time and a chance to regroup and we came out being our dominant self in possession with more purpose without the cutting edge. While it was better in the back of your mind you had to think Doncaster were still firmly in the game and would not need a second invitation to seize the game by its throat, and so it came to pass.
A dinked ball trying to find Dodoo took a cruel deflection off O’Hora making a genuine attempt to stop the ball, Dodoo then dinked a ball over Fisher which looked like sneaking in anyway, but substitute Tiago Cukur prodded it home virtually on the line. There were offside appeals but reading up on the rules, offside comes off the table if the ball through takes a nick off the defender. The Dons could also feel hard done by after Mo Eisa was fouled. At first sight he was pulled back outside the box, but the holding continued inside the box which technically is a penalty. Overall though a very disappointing performance against a determined and hardworking Doncaster side it was a blow going into the international break, but with the September Manager of the Month in the dugout I feel the break will do everyone good.
Our next opponents Shrewsbury Town could do with a break themselves with currently only Doncaster keeping them off the bottom of the table. In the last year they have sacked Sam Ricketts, appointed Steve Cotterill who with the assistance of former Don Aaron Wilbraham managed to keep Shrewsbury above the dreaded line with Cotterill managing the team via Zoom from his hospital bed after contracting Covid 19.
This season has been a struggle with fans frustrated with lack of transfer activity, their star player Ollie Norburn moving to Peterborough and what appears to be a lack of cutting edge. At the time of writing, they’ve only scored 9 and conceded 18 with no clean sheets so far this season.
Marko Marosi was a very good pickup on a free in the summer, Aaron Pierre, and Ethan Ebanks-Landell provide physical experience, and Luke Leahy contributes goals from the left. Nathaniel Ogbeta is one to keep an eye out for in the future and Shaun Whalley is a Salop legend scoring in 7 consecutive seasons after his goal last Saturday.
Up front we are unlikely to see the big summer signing in Ryan Bowman who went off with heart palpitations against Ipswich in the first half, and everyone at the MKDSA wishes Ryan a safe and speedy recovery.
The man in focus would then be Josh Vela. Much was expected from him at Bolton when he was younger, able to provide goals and assists with an eye for a pass. Unfortunately, he never reached his potential and moved to Hibernian on a free. A couple of solid seasons saw Shrewsbury take a chance on him but so far, they haven’t seen the best of him. When fit he is a very streaky player who can either flatter to deceive or can control the tempo of the game. Much will depend on him on Saturday if he is fit to return from his current injury.
Predicted Line Up
Kioso – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Robson – O’Riley – Twine
Parrott – Eisa
A very strong starting X1 on paper with the possibility of Kasumu instead of Robson not weakening the side at all. Twine was anonymous at Doncaster so I’m expecting reaction from him, and Parrott and Eisa were starting to click before the Sudanese born striker sustained a groin injury, but with minutes now on the board I’m expecting to see him start.
I’m predicting a 3-1 Dons win with Parrott and Eisa x 2 to score. This time of the season is about building momentum with 5 of our next 8 League 1 games away from Stadium MK it’s crucial Doncaster is put behind us.
Could we potentially see a second Shrewsbury manager leave after failing to beat us……who knows?