Writer: Kithson Bain
Date:Sunday January 9 2011
St James' Park
Jamie Cureton`s exquisite lob was cancelled out by Jabo Ibehre`s header as Exeter were forced to settle for a draw in a scrappy game.
Having already seen an early shot saved by Dons stopper David Martin, Cureton picking up the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area produced an instinctive shot, lobbing Martin with deadly accuracy as the ball dropped into the corner of the net to give City the lead inside ten minutes.
Despite their modest record away from home MK Dons weren`t deterred by this early set back and soon passed up two golden opportunities to draw level.
Daniel Powel had the freedom of the penalty area from Michael McIndoe`s cut back but he was denied by a combination of keeper and defender on the goal line.
But an even better chance came the way of Sam Baldock who somehow glanced the ball wide point blank range.
The only other action of a tame first half was Baldock going close again on the stroke of half time. Sliding the ball under Paul Jones he must have thought he had equalised but Matt Taylor made an excellent intervention as the ball was about to roll into the vacant net.
Bertie Cozic was introduced at half time at the expense of the injured Richard Duffy.
The change in personnel meant a change in formation as city changed to a narrow 4-4-2.
MK Dons pushed high up the pitch looking for an equaliser but despite being in the ascendancy looked largely unthreatening until the introduction of Ibehre whose physical presence caused endless problems for City`s defence.
Substitute John O`flynn had the chance to seal victory for City. Found by Scott Golbourne`s defence splitting through ball O`flynn`s close range finish beat the keeper but not the post as the trickled agonisingly wide.
That miss looked even more costly when Ibehre rose unchallenged to snatch a deserved equaliser for the Dons much to the delight of the small but enthusiastic clutch of away fans behind the goal.
In the final fifteen minutes both teams were wasteful in possession as they traded half chances.
Luke Chadwick shot tamely at Jones for the Dons and City`s Ryan Harley stung the palms of Martin but a draw was a fair reflection of the afternoon`s even encounter.
City now have six days to recover before facing two trips to face Brentford in the space of four days.
City: P Jones, Duffy (Cozic), Taylor, B Jones, Tully, Golbourne, Noble (Harley), Sercombe, Dunne, Logan (O`flynn), Cureton
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Date:Sunday January 9 2011
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