The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Sam Gas­coyne

NORTHAMP­TON boss Chris Wilder couldn’t hide his frus­tra­tion af­ter Nicky May­nard’s late equaliser saved MK Dons’ blushes.

The Cob­blers looked on course for a ma­jor up­set thanks to two goals from Ricky Holmes, af­ter Ryan Cress­well’s early own goal had put the Cham­pi­onship side ahead.

But May­nard popped up eight min­utes from time to set up a re­play and leave Wilder with mixed emo­tions.

He said: “It’s a bit un­for­tu­nate for us, but I’m proud of the way we played.We feel a bit dis­ap­pointed that we’ve not beaten a Cham­pi­onship side and that shows how far we’ve come.

“I’ve got very mixed emo­tions, we played well but we’re look­ing to progress to round four, and we felt we did enough to do that, but th­ese things hap­pen and it wasn’t to be.

“We’re pro­duc­ing great per­for­mances re­cently and we’re re­ally un­for­tu­nate not to have won.

“Had we have pushed that lit­tle bit harder late on and got a third I think it’d have just been enough.”

De­spite both sides strug­gling to get into any real rhythm in the open­ing ex­changes, MK Dons took an early lead with 13 min­utes on the clock af­ter Lee Hod­son’s cross was clum­sily put into his own net by Cress­well.

As the half pro­gressed Northamp­ton be­gan to get on top, putting pres­sure on the Cham­pi­onship vis­i­tors. They very nearly found an equaliser on 34 min­utes af­ter Sam Hoskins’ cross clipped off Kyle McFazdean’s head, skim­ming ag­o­nis­ingly past the post.

MK Dons went in at half-time a goal to the good af­ter what had been a poor first half as both sides failed to im­press, hav­ing strug­gled to make the most of their chances go­ing for­ward.

Northamp­ton came out in the se­cond half with real at­tack­ing in­tent and made an im­me­di­ate im­pact af­ter Holmes sidestepped his marker, cut back and curled a de­light­ful strike into the top cor­ner of Cody Crop­per’s goal. The Cob­blers went ahead nine min­utes later af­ter Holmes found him­self with space on the right of the Dons area. Some slack de­fend­ing al­lowed him to place the ball low into the bot­tom cor­ner of the goal.

A su­perb goal-line clear­ance from Rod McDon­ald on 81 min­utes de­nied May­nard an equaliser, but a minute later the Dons did man­age to find the back of the net af­ter Ben Reeves drilled a ball into a crowded box which took a nick off May­nard be­fore go­ing in. Dons boss Karl Robin­son said: “It was a lo­cal derby played in hor­ren­dous con­di­tions away from home.

“We weren’t at our best against a team that are fly­ing at home, but we’re still in the cup and we can win the re­play back at sta­dium:mk.

“In­di­vid­u­ally we looked as if we lacked a cut­ting edge and as if we didn’t have the right men­tal­ity, but, all things said, the most im­por­tant thing is

that we’re still in the FA Cup.”

PIC­TURES: Mike Capps

GOAL-BOUND: Ricky Holmes fires in Northamp­ton’s opener

RES­CUE ACT: Nicky May­nard grabbed the Dons’ lev­eller


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