29th September 2018
Tranmere Rovers collected a well-deserved point on the road with a 1-1 draw at MK Dons. Rovers took the lead through winger Jonny Smith however, just before the half time whistle, Dons equalised courtesy of Chuks Aneke’s close range finish.
Rovers boss Micky Mellon made two changes from the last outing against Newport County, Cole Stockton and Jonny Smith stepping in for Dylan Mottley-Henry and Paul Mullin.
The hosts made a promising start at a sun kissed stadium:mk and created three goal scoring opportunities within the first ten minutes. The closest of these three opportunities fell to former Arsenal trainee Aneke who rattled the crossbar with a close range header after an initial good save from Scott Davies.
Rovers were looking sharp on the attack too and created a glorious chance to test Dons keeper Lee Nicholls after a wonderful chipped pass from Ollie Banks put Smith through on the right, but he was unable to get a cross into the box for an unmarked Stockton.
On the half hour mark, Connor Jennings found himself in space on the edge of the penalty box, after a smart flick down by James Norwood, but Rovers’ number 11 tried to trick the keeper with an outside of the boot shot, which flew over the cross bar.
Boss Mellon opted for a change in formation to 4-5-1 as Stockton played in attack alone and Norwood moved to the left, Jennings in centre midfield alongside Banks and Luke McCullough.
In the 36th minute, Tranmere took the lead with a superb counter attacking move, finished off by Smith for his second goal in TRFC colours.
An excellent through ball from Norwood put Stockton through on goal and the striker raced through, only for his effort to be saved by Nicholls but Smith was on hand to follow up and tuck away.
However, Tranmere couldn’t take their lead into the half time break and in added time, Aneke equalised as he poked the ball home from just inside the six yard box after Rovers failed to clear a left wing cross.
The first opportunity of the second half came ten minutes after the restart as Alex Gilby headed narrowly over the cross bar after a good cross from right back George Williams.
Two minutes later, Rhys Healey struck a 25-yard effort towards the centre of the goal, but Davies was on hand to tip over the crossbar.
The first change for Rovers came in the 58th minute, Stockton replaced by Sheffield United loanee Harvey Gilmour.
A fantastic travelling support of more than 750 were on the feet in the 62nd minute, applauding full back Adam Buxton as he struck a fantastic right footed drive from 20 plus yards out, only to be denied by Nicholls.
With 15 minutes left to play, great defending and goalkeeping from Manny Monthe and Davies combined prevented Aneke from scoring his second of the match from point blank range.
One minute later, Tranmere went on their own attack and Norwood had a half chance in the penalty box but couldn’t make a clean connection with the ball to cause any danger to MK.
Rovers were continuing to answer questions and finding openings in the home team’s defence and with eight minutes to go, Mottley-Henry came on for goal scorer Smith.
In the dying embers, Tranmere had a glorious chance to take all three points back to the Wirral. In acres of space at the back post, Jennings could only hit the side netting with a header.
Match report supplied by the Press Association.
Tranmere: Davies, Buxton, McNulty, Monthe, Norwood, Jennings, McCullough, Smith (Mottley-Henry 82), Stockton (Gilmour 58), Bakayogo, Banks.
Ununused subs: George, Mullin, Caprice, Ellis, Cole.
MK: Nicholls; Williams, Moore-Taylor, Cargill; Brittain (Houghton 75), Gilbey, Cisse (Simpson 75), Lewington (c); Watson; Aneke (Agard 83), Healey.
Unused subs: Moore, Hancox, Walsh, Thomas-Asante.
7,048 (751 away)