EVANS READY TO SPLASH THE CASH

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Mark Wil­liams

LEEDS United boss Steve Evans has promised his side will look very dif­fer­ent come the end of the month af­ter watch­ing his cur­rent charges snatch a scarcely de­served share of the spoils at El­land Road.

Antony Kay’s bizarre and ag­o­nis­ing own goal in the dy­ing mo­ments of a largely dis­ap­point­ing game gifted the hosts a point that never looked likely.

It was hard on MK Dons, who had been the bet­ter side through­out the match.

For Evans, his side’s dire dis­play was proof he needs to freshen things up dur­ing the trans­fer win­dow.

He said: “It is seven un­beaten for us now but we have let our­selves down, the club down and the fans down.

“I pride my­self on per­for­mance as much as the re­sult but it was poor for about 90 per cent of the game. There was no ques­tion­ing the bat­tling qual­i­ties – it was what we did with the ball that was dis­ap­point­ing.

“We are keen to strengthen the squad and we will strengthen the squad be­cause there are lots of peo­ple work­ing hard be­hind the scenes to make things hap­pen.

“We want three or four play­ers and the side will look very dif­fer­ent at the end of the month.”

In front of a typ­i­cally ex­pec­tant El­land Road crowd the hosts edged a cagey, but chance­less, open­ing 15 min­utes. Probe as they might, Evans’ out­fit lacked any gen­uine pace or imag­i­na­tion to un­lock a well drilled MK Dons.

The visi­tors, who have won just once on their trav­els all sea­son, had a big shout for a penalty turned down mid­way through the open­ing pe­riod. A surg­ing run by the im­pres­sive Rob Hall drew a sliding chal­lenge from Char­lie Tay­lor in the box – only for ref­eree Jeremy Simp­son to sig­nal a cor­ner.

This sparked MK Dons into life. Af­ter Hall curled a free-kick inches over the bar, the dead­lock was bro­ken in the 31st minute – cour­tesy of the move of the match. Striker Nicky May­nard latched onto a Samir Car­ruthers pass, wrig­gled free down the right, be­fore ex­pertly cut­ting the ball back for Hall to stroke the ball home.

United in­creased the tempo af­ter the break and af­ter goal­keeper David Martin failed to hang on to the ball, the home at­tack­ers could not cap­i­talise dur­ing a go a mouth scram­ble.

Tay­lor then came within inches of equal­is­ing on 56 min­utes when his 25yard free-kick rat­tled the post. Mirco An­tenucci brought some di­rec­tion and cre­ativ­ity to United’s play in the sec­ond half. His bright run and cross on the left was al­most turned into his own net by Kyle McFadzean, but for a smart stop by Martin on 62 min­utes.

Seven min­utes later and Marco Sil­vestri came to Leeds’ res­cue with a su­perb save from May­nard – the lat­ter hav­ing done well to spin his marker and run through on goal.

Leeds strug­gled to im­pose them­selves on the game but found a life­line from nowhere af­ter 88 min­utes. Tay­lor’s deep cross looked harm­less enough but cen­tral de­fender Kay, un­der lit­tle pres­sure, some­how headed the ball out of the reach of a stunned Martin.

MK Dons boss Karl Robin­son said: “This is the great­est game in the world – be­cause of its un­pre­dictabil­ity. It was just hu­man er­ror – a very small er­ror. It wasn’t a lack of com­mit­ment or de­sire. It was an er­ror that words can’t de­scribe.

“I put my arm round him af­ter the game and told him to get his head up.

“Our play­ers were ex­cel­lent from the first whis­tle to the last. This would have been one of my best wins as a man­ager.

“We have a few in­juries at the mo­ment but this was a unique per­for­mance and I am not go­ing home dis­ap­pointed.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

HEART­BREAK: MK Dons’ Antony Kay heads into his own goal in the fi­nal stages to can­cel out Rob Hall’s opener, inset

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