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Gueret penalty stop earns tired Dons a point

Penalty king Gueret

By Oli
March 21 2009

A sluggish and tired Dons side were held to a 0-0 draw against Yeovil at Huish Park, and although they had chances to scrape three points, it could have been worse as goalkeeper Willy Gueret had to be called upon for a penalty save after Flavien Belson had fouled. Roberto Di Matteo made one change to the side that lost 0-1 to Millwall in midweek, dropping a fatigued looking Luke Chadwick for Frenchman Belson, and moving Peter Leven to a more advanced midfield position. Dons lined up in their common away 4-5-1, with Leven, Jemal Johnson and Jason Puncheon supporting striker Aaron Wilbraham.

It was an uninspiring game at Huish Park, perhaps surprisingly devoid of the pace and energy you might expect from a fixture between two sides with plenty to play for as the season draws to a close. The first real chance of the match didn't come until the 11th minute, when Yeovil's Tottenham Hotspur loanee Jonathan Obika raced onto a ball behind the defence and rounded Gueret, slotting home and wheeling away long after the linesman had raised his flag for offside.

Dons first tested Yeovil 'keeper Chris Weale on 18 minutes, Alan Navarro rolling a free-kick to Johnson whose powerful effort was superbly turned over the crossbar.

Yeovil had the best chance of the match to break the deadlock on 29 minutes. Another Spurs loanee, left winger Andros Townsend, was tripped in the box by Belson but Gueret rescued the Dons with an excellent save to deny Gavin Tomlin from the spot.

Dons nearly responded to that with a goal, as Leven's long throw into the box was flicked on by Sean O'Hanlon at the near post and rolled right across the goal, with no Dons foot on hand to stab it in. O'Hanlon and Llera were getting forward for most set-pieces, including throw-ins, and throughout the afternoon they looked like MK's best chance of finding a goal.

Enjoying what was probably their best spell of the match, however, Dons created another chance on 33 minutes, although it was perhaps not fully their doing. Wilbraham flicked on Gueret's kick and with Johnson applying pressure, Yeovil defender Lee Peltier looped a bizarre attempt at a clearance over Weale, the 'keeper, making his 'second debut' on his return to Huish Park on loan, just getting back in time to make the catch.

Wilbraham almost got in on 35 minutes, muscling past Terrell Forbes after being picked out by Leven, but Weale beat him to the ball in the penalty area.

Yeovil made their first substitution after 36 minutes, player-manager Terry Skiverton withdrawing himself due to injury, with Danny Hutchins coming on.

Dons continued their spell of pressure with Johnson testing Weale on 39 minutes, after Wilbraham had found him with another flick-on. Weale got down to save well, but comfortably.

A half of very few real chances, both sides coming closest from set-pieces, and, in the case of Yeovil, spot-kicks, and Di Matteo responded by introducing Luke Chadwick for Belson, with Leven dropping to partner Navarro and Chadwick becoming part of the trio playing off Wilbraham.

The second half didn't get much better in terms of opportunities, with the Dons threatening but finding themselves severely lacking a quality final ball, and so Yeovil were able to step off them and make their challenges when Dons maybe thought they were getting close to goal. The Glovers themselves rarely really threatened, but O'Hanlon was required to make a good block on 75 minutes to prevent the tricky Townsend from shooting.

On 80 minutes Dons nearly scrapped a winner. Johnson's corner from the right was met by Llera in the box, but the defender's header was headed against the woodwork and away by Hutchins.

With results around them not going the Dons' way, MK really needed to find a goal but as Di Matteo admitted after the match, his team was lacking the energy they have showed so often on the road this season.

Dean Lewington's shot from distance was easily saved and at the other end Obika was starting to prove a menace to the Dons' perhaps tiring legs, as he beat both Lewington and Llera before shooting from the edge of the box, Gueret making a good save.

Ali Gerba was introduced for Jason Puncheon for the Dons but it was too little too late, and Yeovil had the only chance that followed. Townsend and Luke Rodgers worked some space around Shaun Cummings in the Dons box and Gueret produced another good save to keep out the former.

A point for the Dons, but it's one that is not massively useful as Peterborough's win means that they will stay clear of the Dons by a point, even if MK win both of their remaining games in hand. Millwall's dramatic 3-2 victory against Hartlepool means the Dons fall to fourth place in the table, with the playoffs looking an increasingly likely destination for Di Matteo's men. But there is still plenty of football to be played yet.

Yeovil: Weale; Peltier, Skiverton (Hutchins 36), Forbes, Smith; Warne (Rodgers 86), Murtagh, Roberts, Townsend; Obika, Tomlin (Downes 76).

Unused subs: McCollin, Welsh.

Booked: Warne.

Dons: Gueret; Cummings, O'Hanlon, Llera, Lewington; Puncheon (Gerba 90), Belson (Chadwick 46), Leven, Navarro, Johnson; Wilbraham.

Unused subs: Abbey, Stirling, Howell.

Booked: Belson.

Attendance: 4,028 (360 Dons).

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Gueret penalty stop earns tired Dons a point
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21/03/2009 22:21
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