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Match Reports

Match Report : 13/08/2016

13 August 2016

Full-time from Stadium MK

Millwall continued their impressive start to the 2016/17 season with a hard-fought draw at League One newboys MK Dons.

The Lions had looked to be in control when former Den midfielder Ed Upson put through his own net to hand Neil Harris' men a 1-0 lead after 24 minutes and a thumping David Worrall volley - his first goal for the club - doubled the tally just three minutes later.

However a first-half brace from Dons debutant club-record signing Kieran Agard, twice capitalising on defensive errors, hauled MK Dons, relegated from the Championship in May, right back into the game.

Despite a dominant second-half display in which Neil Harris' side created a stack of chances, they just could not find that elusive third goal to make it three wins on the spin this season.

The Dons enjoyed more of the possession in the opening exchanges, but without engineering any real scoring opportunities.

It was seven minutes before either one of the two teams registered a shot on target when Lee Gregory showed real strength to win the ball and flick it into the path of Aiden O'Brien, whose crisp drive stung the hands of keeper David Martin.

Another effort from O'Brien, this time a snapshot from 16 yards, was comfortably held by Martin as The Lions began to put their hosts under pressure.

It was from Millwall's first corner of the game that the visitors got their noses ahead with midfielder Upson hooking the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear Tony Craig's header from a Worrall corner.

The Lions had their bit between the teeth and when Shane Ferguson whipped over a lovely ball from the left it took a towering defensive header to clear for another corner.

However Millwall didn't have to wait long for their second goal - and what a cracker it was too. Ferguson did well to make space on the left, slipped the ball to O'Brien whose lovely dinked ball was met on the volley by Worrall at the back post and his effort flew into the roof of the net.

No sooner had they secured a two-goal cushion than Harris' men let it slip and The Dons were right back in it. Agard reduced the arrears on 27 minutes, latching onto a poor defensive clearance and burying a left foot shot into the bottom right corner beyond the outstretched hands of Archer.

The Lions lost midfielder Shaun Williams to an injury seconds later and within five minutes the home side were back on level terms when keeper Archer initially hesitated and then came charging off his line to deal with Upson's long ball forward, in nipped Agard to send a looping header into the back of the net.

Both teams created further chances without scoring in an opening half that was a joy to watch as a neutral, but perhaps not so pleasurable for the respective managers.

It was O'Brien who nearly grabbed a third goal for Millwall just four minutes into the second-half, firing narrowly wide after Gregory had touched Steve Morison's quick throw into his path.

At the other end a low drive from George C Williams - not to be confused with sub George B Williams! - was  a whisker wide with a low drive that flew narrowly past the upright and then Darren Potter tried his luck from further away, but his 25-yarder was way off target.

A fabulous, instinctive effort from O'Brien so nearly conjured up a third goal on the hour mark, but the forward's cracking drive was brilliantly tipped around the post by keeper David Martin at full stretch.

It took another excellent piece of defending, this time by Joe Walsh, to deny Millwall again after sub jimmy Abdou had met O'Brien's inviting low delivery with a first-time shot that was hacked off the line.

The bravery of Lions left-back Ferguson prevented Nicky Maynard from stabbing the ball home following a swift counter-attack by the home side, with the Northern Ireland international clattering into the post as he brilliantly covered.

And with Millwall temporarily down to 10 men as sub Joe Martin waited to come on for Ferguson, a driving run from Sam Baldock set up Potter, whose rasping effort flashed off target.

Another piece of athletic goalkeeping saw Martin somehow claw away Craig's goalbound header from a Thompson inswinging corner as The Lions prised and probed for a third goal.

But for all Millwall's possession, it was the home side who were so close to stealing all three points in the first minute of injury-time when sub Brandon Thomas-Asante cut inside Mahlon Romeo and saw his stinging shot palmed away by the strong hands of Archer.

Archer was called into action again in the dying seconds when he gathered low to collect Daniel Powell's shot following a three on two counter-attack by the home side but on balance, a winning goal for The Dons would have been so cruel and the points were shared.

MK Dons: Martin, Baldock, Lewington, Walsh, Upson, Potter, Williams (Bowditch 61mins), Agard (Thomas-Asante, 87mins), Powell, Downing, Maynard. Subs not used: Nicholls, Wootton, Williams, Jackson, Tshimanga. 
Booking: Potter (19mins) 
Scorers: Agard (27, 33mins)

Millwall: Archer, Craig, Williams (Abdou, 28mins), Worrall (Onyedinma, 82mins), Thompson, Gregory, Romeo, Webster, Ferguson (Martin, 81mins), Morison, O'Brien. Subs not used: King, Wylde, Nelson, Philpot. 
Bookings: Romeo (44mins), Webster (62mins) 
Scorers: Upson (24mins og), Worrall (27mins) 

Ref: S. Hooper 
Att: 10,232 (away 2,065)

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