MK Dons 1-1 Ipswich Town: Perfect record falls as 10-man Blues hang on for a point
Ipswich Town’s 100% record has gone but they remain unbeaten after holding on for a point at MK Dons with 10 men.
Jon Nolan’s opening goal, just seven minutes in, came against the run of play and that pattern continued for almost the entirety of the game, with Daniel Harvie scoring a deserved equasliser for the hosts in the second half.
It was an uphill battle for the Blues from there, with substitute Flynn Downes departing with an injury just 10 minutes after coming on, at a time when the Blues had already used their three substitutes.
They managed to hang on amid MK pressure, having a handful of openings to score a winner themselves, but will ultimately be happy to leave with a point.
It needed excellent displays from defensive trio Luke Chambers, Toto Nsiala and James Wilson to keep the hosts out, with Russell Martin’s side having the better of things through the middle of the pitch and down the flanks before being thwarted by big defensive headers and last-ditch blocks.
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The first dropped points and first goal conceded this season sees the Blues drop from first to third, with Lincoln and Hull remaining perfect above them as they made it four wins from four this afternoon.
Next up is Gillingham in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night followed by, at present, a blank weekend following the postponement of the scheduled clash with Charlton due to international call-ups. It’s possible a league game may be brought forward to fill that gap, though.
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Paul Lambert kept an unchanged starting XI following last weekend’s victory at home to Rochdale, with Kayden Jackson and Alan Judge both returning to the bench following injury lay-offs in place of Janoi Donacian and James Norwood.
The hosts were well on top in the early stages of the game, with plenty of time in midfield and making space down the flanks, but they soon found themselves behind as Town took the lead with their first real attack of the game.
A teasing Gwion Edwards ball into the box found Sears, who was able to clip the ball back in the direction of Teddy Bishop, with Edwards chesting the ball back into the path of Nolan to finish past a defender on the line.
The lead was against the run of play and the hosts continued to have their moments after Nolan’s opener, with the flanks being probed but the Town defence standing firm.
Sears had an opportunity to make it 2-0 following a good lay-off by James Wilson, who had dribbled his way through the middle of the pitch into dangerous territory, but the forward bent his shot wide of the far post as he cut in on his favoured right foot.
Town lost Stephen Ward to injury on 22 minutes, with Myles Kenlock replacing him, before Oli Hawkins fired his first opening of the afternoon over the top as the big striker chested down a sublime Andre Dozzell pass but fired over the top as he leaned back to strike his effort.
The hosts were continuing to force the issue and were having the better of the play, probing the Town defence from wide areas and forcing both Toto Nsiala and Luke Chambers into excellent last-ditch tackles and headers to preserve the slender lead.
Tomas Holy’s first real save of the half denied Joe Mason, seconds before the break, with the Town keeper claiming a corner really well as the whistle blew and both sides headed back to the dressing room.
The first incident of the second period saw Dozzell give the ball away and then survive penalty appeals for dragging down Scott Fraser, before the hosts did eventually find a deserved equaliser.
It was born down the Ipswich left, with Lasse Sorenson bursting forward, with Kenlock upfield, and delivering a teasing ball which caused the unfortunate Chambers to turn awkwardly and slip, giving Harvie time and space to pick his shot and fire home a debut goal.
The goal had been coming and you feared a second would be on its way, too, with Town’s task getting harder when Downes limped off just 13 minutes after coming on, leaving his side with 10 men for the final 20 minutes of the game.
Goalkeeper Tomas Holy needed to get himself out of trouble twice in the space of a couple of minutes, saving from Carlton Morris after flapping at a cross and then getting down to stop Callum Brittain’s follow-up after spilling Scott Fraser’s shot from outside the box.
Town managed to negotiate the remaining minutes, though, keeping their unbeaten record intact.
MK Dons: Nicholls; Williams, Keogh, Lewington, Harvie; Brittain, Kasumu, Sorenson (Poole, 79); Mason, Fraser, Morris (Nombe 84)
Subs: Walker, Cargill, O’Hora, Houghton, Sorinola
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Wilson, Nsiala, Ward (Kenlock, 22); Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop (Downes, 55); Edwards, Sears (Judge, 55), Hawkins
Subs: Cornell, Huws, Lankester, Jackson