Bot­tom three but Dons stay pos­i­tive

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Harry Wilmin

KARL ROBIN­SON says his MK Dons play­ers are ready to fight for their Cham­pi­onship sur­vival af­ter fall­ing into the bot­tom three for the first time this sea­son.

Dean Bowditch opened the scor­ing for the Dons mid­way through the first-half as man­ager­less Ful­ham looked set to fall to their third straight de­feat in the league.

But Moussa De­me­bele poked home his ninth goal of the sea­son just be­fore the break for the Cot­tagers to deny what would have been only the Dons’ third win since Au­gust.

“We should have been 2-0 up in the first half but we had a mo­ment when we switched off slightly and the lad’s tapped it in,” said Robin­son. “That’s when foot­ball is un­fair be­cause we really should have been two clear by then.

“Our game plan went miss­ing a bit in the sec­ond half but as soon as the fans got be­hind our play­ers they got back in the game.

“If we keep th­ese play­ers fit and this group fit we’re go­ing to be okay come the end of the sea­son. If we go down fight­ing it’s all I can ask of them. My play­ers are mentally and phys­i­cally ready for the fight.”

The hosts went close to find­ing an opener in­side ten min­utes when Bowditch fired a long-range ef­fort to­wards Joe Lewis’ top cor­ner in the visi­tors’ goal, but the for­mer Peter­bor­ough stop­per did ex­cel­lently to palm the ball away from dan­ger and out for a cor­ner.

Bowditch then turned provider af­ter a well-worked cor­ner rou­tine al­lowed the winger to slot the ball through to Josh Mur­phy in­side the box, be­fore the on-loan Nor­wich man fired a shot straight into a crowd of bod­ies and Ful­ham were able to clear.

Four min­utes later, with the net gap­ing, Dem­bele fired high over an open goal from two yards out af­ter Ross McCor­mack squared a pass beau­ti­fully into his path.

Bowditch smashed home his third goal of the sea­son with a stun­ning half-vol­ley from the edge of the visi­tors’ box to grab the Dons a de­served lead mid­way through the first half.

But the Dons couldn’t see their slen­der ad­van­tage through to the break as De­me­ble made amends for his ear­lier miss a minute from the in­ter­val with a neat fin­ish from six yards out af­ter some sloppy de­fend­ing from Robin­son’s side.

The visi­tors started to pile on the pres­sure af­ter half-time as Sean Ka­vanagh threat­ened with a test­ing strike from out­side the box, but Dons keeper David Martin smoth­ered the dan­ger.

But the Dons re­sponded well and had two chances of their own within quick suc­ces­sion. Mur­phy fizzed an invit­ing cross in from the right hand side which found Dar­ren Pot­ter in a crowd of bod­ies in the box but he failed to guide his ef­fort on tar­get, then Bowditch raced clear of the Ful­ham de­fence and had his strike well saved.

“The first half was dif­fi­cult.We started OK but I could see the flaws in the team that we have,” said Ful­ham’s care­taker boss Peter Grant. “But they dug in in the sec­ond half. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for them – they showed great char­ac­ter.

“We could have won it but we could have lost it too, so over­all I’m happy with the point.”

Grant was as­sis­tant to Felix Ma­gath be­fore the Ger­man was sacked in Septem­ber last year and he was moved to the un­der-21s, but has no de­sire for the job longterm. “I was de­lighted to come back into the dugout, but I’m only here to fill the gap for the chair­man while they search for a new man­ager,” he added.

“We have to get the right man and hope­fully he can take us to the Premier League.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

BOW-NUS BALL: Dean Bowditch fires MK Dons in front, but Moussa Dem­bélé was soon cel­e­brat­ing af­ter equal­is­ing for Ful­ham, inset


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