By Jon Harries
Saturday night was a L1 automatic promotion special. Rotherham just got past Ipswich; Wigan lost at home to Cambridge which opened a fantastic opportunity for the Dons. Standing in their way a Sheffield Wednesday side 6 unbeaten and looking to keep pace with Wycombe and Sunderland respectively. Within the first 30 minutes it seemed like game over. Saido Berahino finishing a clever set piece routine that Cumming should have saved, Lee Gregory losing his marker at the near post then Barry Bannan with a sublime effort after Lewington headed a long ball straight into his path, 40 yards out he hit it perfectly to send the away end into raptures. Parrott pulled one back before half time, set free by Twine then lobbing Peacock-Farrell inside the box. A shock to the system and a huge 45 minutes ahead.
Conor Coventry hit the post early in the second half with a fierce drive from distance as we came out the blocks with more intent and purpose. Twine had a shot saved before Eisa went down seriously injured. We wish him a safe and speedy recovery with what looked a really serious injury. His replacement Boateng nearly played Parrott in, but his ball was too strong to control. Wednesday were dangerous on the break without creating anything noteworthy. With ten minutes added time anything was possible, and Twine delivered another beautifully taken free kick to give us hope. Parrott had a chance right at the end, but the Owls hung on for a crucial win. A blip but not a disaster as Tuesday night is on the horizon.
Oxford United come into midweek with an outside chance of the Play offs after looking in a position of strength just a month ago. They kept their chances just about intact with a 3-2 win away at Fleetwood. That game panned out like Tuesday. Oxford 3-1 up at HT, Fleetwood coming back into it but not having enough to get over the line.
Jack Stevens has got back in between the sticks; Ciaran Brown is finally getting a run in the team and Luke McNally is a threat from corners. In midfield Herbie Kane shone in the reverse fixture and Cameron Brannigan has had another stellar season and up top Matty Taylor is still the annoying “Sh**house” we all hate as opposition fans, but he knows where the back of the net is. Nathan Holland is also a very mercurial talent in a very well organised team as you would expect from former Dons legend Karl Robinson.
Mark Sykes is the Man in Focus this time. Scouted from Ireland he’s taken time to settle in but the second half of the season he’s come into his own. Scoring the winner at Stadium MK, the pacy direct winger is like Corbeanu in his style of play with the final product still lacking at times. With 13 goal contributions (8G 5A) he likes to stay wide when possible and crossing is a strength. The battle between him and Harvie will be fascinating to watch.
Kesler – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Coventry – Kasumu
Corbeanu – Parrott – Twine
Hopefully Saturday was a blip and I fully expect a reaction from the start. Corbeanu and Kesler can form a frightening partnership down the right, Kasumu v Kane will be key and Troy up top with be crucial 3 in 3 for the Irish man. I’m going for a 2-0 away win, Troy, and Theo with the goals.
All we can do is win and hope Ipswich and Burton respectively help us out. COYD