COBBLERS’ CUP GLORY IS NICKED...
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.”
GOAL-BOUND: Ricky Holmes fires in Northampton’s opener
RESCUE ACT: Nicky Maynard grabbed the Dons’ leveller
STAR MAN RICKY HOLMES Northampton