MK Dons 0 PNE 0
North End had to settle for a point at stadium:mk, with Keith Keane going closest, hitting the post early in the second half in a goalless encounter.
Manager Simon Grayson reverted to a 3-5-2 formation, with Jack King and Kevin Davies in for Paul Gallagher and Craig Davies.
And the yellows started brightly, Scott Laird inches away from a blockbusting start with a 25-yard drive just over David Martin’s bar after only 75 seconds.
North End won their first corner on nine minutes through a Joe Garner deflected shot, but it was Milton Keynes Dons who created a chance from it! They broke with pace from Kilkenny’s cleared cross and Daniel Powell was denied by the legs of Declan Rudd.
North End’s best chances of the period came in the last 15 minutes of the half; firstly a deep outswinging corner from Neil Kilkenny was met by the rising Joe Garner, only to see his downward header palmed away by Martin.
The North End top scorer again showed his prowess in the air with five minutes to go before the interval, Scott Laird lofted a cross to the back post from the left and again Garner got in a downward header which was very close to the right hand post, bouncing inches wide.
The home side brought on Alan Smith at the break for right back Lee Hodson, having already had to make an early change when Carruthers was replaced by Baldock after only 12 minutes, however, it was PNE who started brightest, John Welsh forcing a save from Martin with a dipping shot from the edge of the box, the Dons keeper tipping the right-footed shot out for the Lilywhites’ fifth corner of the game.
With six minutes gone in the second half some great play from Welsh fed the ball out to Laird on the left, the wing back drilled the ball into the box, which hit Joe Garner and fell to Keith Keane, whose shot beat Martin, but came back of the foot of the right hand post and eventually away.
North End and Declan Rudd owed a debt of thanks to Jack King in the 62nd minute Ben Reeves drawing out the PNE keeper and then seemingly having the whole goal to aim at, but King, at full stretch, headed out of the top corner. From the resulting corner and cross, Rudd was this time there to deny Lewington, having to get down low to palm the Dons skipper’s header round the post at the end of the home side’s best spell.
The game was now opening up and Scott Laird out-muscled George Baldock to earn a shooting opportunity inside the box; he beat Martin, but could only find the side netting in front of the PNE fans.
Josh Brownhill and Stuart Beavon were added to the action in replacement of Kevin Davies and Keith Keane with just over 15 minutes left, to add to the attacking intent of the yellows.
Into the final ten minutes and North End were pushing the accelerator; Josh Brownhill broke into the box onto Chris Humphrey’s through ball, but the 18-year-old’s driven cross couldn’t find a PNE attacker.
With 90 seconds to go another chance for Josh Brownhill, this time on his left foot on the edge of the box, latching onto Kilkenny’s lay off, but he couldn’t keep the ball down.
Only two minutes was added on at the end of the game by referee Mark Heywood, but it was to be a fourth consecutive draw between the sides.
: Martin, Lewington, Hodson (Smith, 46), Gleeson, Reeves, McLeod, Alli, Powell, Carruthers (Baldock, 12), Spence, Kay. Subs not used: McLoughlin, Chadwick, Rasulo, Hall, Hickford.MK Dons line-up
: Rudd, Keane (Brownhill, 73), Laird, Clarke, Wright, K Davies (Beavon, 74), Garner, Welsh, King, Wiseman (Humphrey, 58), Kilkenny. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Gallagher, Buchanan, Hume.PNE line-up
: 7,279 (516 away fans)Attendance
: Mr M HeywoodReferee