By Jon Harries
Saturday saw our inaugural visit back “home” as we visited Opponent, both sides looking for the points for very different reasons. It was a tense start by the visitors with the hostile atmosphere possibly a factor in their slow start. Misplaced passes and not much possession was playing into the hands of the home team, and they soon took the lead when a free kick wasn’t cleared properly. After some pinball in the box the ball came out to Alex Woodyard who’s shot deflected past Cumming. The home crowd were really enjoying this and as the ref blew for halftime, Manning had to regroup the troops ahead of a crucial second half.
We came out with more purpose in the second half and with certainly more controlled possession. Conor Wickham and Kesler came off for Eisa and Corbeanu and that possibly gave us the boost we needed. A shot from Eisa led to the equaliser as from the resulting corner, the ball came out to Lewington who for the second game in a row found Troy Parrott who timed his volley perfectly and equalised. Pandemonium in the away end and although Cumming produced a fantastic point blank save from Ethan Chissock right at the end a new record was set for 12 games unbeaten away from home in our history, and alongside Rotherham losing their last two games to Charlton and Portsmouth respectively there is now a 3-point buffer between ourselves and the Millers going into a HUGE Easter period.
Sheffield Wednesday are the penultimate visitors to Stadium MK in a rescheduled match on Easter Saturday night live on Sky. The pressure is on both sides both pushing for promotion in different ways. The Dons with a potential automatic promotion, Wednesday looking to cement their playoff spot to extend their season further.
Darren Moore was appointed off the back of a phenomenal first half of the season with Doncaster in 20/21 and although they played better, they eventually got relegated into L1. Much was expected of them this season maybe with the quality of the squad at his disposal it had to be automatic promotion but Injuries and Covid have meant a very disrupted season. With one loss in their last 8 and currently 5 unbeaten in L1. Last time out they suffered late heartbreak after taking the lead through Jordan Storey they conceded their 17th goal from a corner as AJ Williams bundled the ball in to make Wednesday one of 3 teams tied on 73 points in and around the play offs.
Bailey Peacock Farrell has overall been a very consistent goalkeeper for the Owls and since the acquisition in January of Storey and Harlee Dean defensively Wednesday have been much better. Jack Hunt at RB has 2 goals in 3 appearances and in midfield Massimo Luongo is the destroyer, allowing Berahino, Gregory, and Windass to do the damage up top. Other players of note are Sam Hutchinson, Nathaniel Mendez Laing, and George Byers.
The Man in Focus is the magical Barry Bannan, how he hasn’t been recognised more by Scotland is unreal. Whether it’s a free kick, a corner or a moment of magic, be it a pass or shot you can rely on him to step up. With 8 goals and 10 assists he’s up there in numbers for L1, obviously not quite Scott Twine but I’m not complaining. His heat map shows he goes where the ball is so keeping track of him will be key. He just needs one moment to strike.
Kesler – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Coventry – Kasumu
Parrott – Twine – Eisa
One change and I believe Kasumu is the man to cover Bannan. Stop him stop Wednesday. I feel the way we are playing we have more threats in our squad. This team do not know defeat or failure. I predict a 2-1 home win. Narrow margins, but let’s not underestimate how good Wednesday are but have the faith that we will get the job done. Eisa and Wickham with the goals. By 10pm Saturday night depending on what happens, Saturday could decide the fate of L1 promotion.