WASTE­FUL CITY LET DONS OFF HOOK

Slade’s boys fail to find fin­ish...

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tim Lewis

RUS­SELL Slade ad­mits Cardiff will have to be more ruth­less if they are go­ing to mount a charge for a play-off spot.

The Blue­birds wasted a host of sec­ond-half chances as they were held by strug­gling MK Dons.

New loan sign­ing Tom Lawrence from Le­ices­ter City hit the post in the first half but the home side were guilty of blow­ing a hat­ful of chances af­ter the break.

Cardiff could have moved within two points of the top six with a win but once again failed to back up a good re­sult from the previous week.

They haven’t won back-to-back games in the Cham­pi­onship since Septem­ber and it is de­rail­ing their pro­mo­tion push.

Slade said: “It was re­ally frus­trat­ing. We had a cou­ple of chances that came back off the post and some that went nar­rowly wide. But we know it’s all about re­sults at this stage.

“We did more than enough to get the three points but we need to im­prove our fin­ish­ing.

“As a group we were hop­ing to get back-to-back wins but it wasn’t to be.

“We know we still have a good chance of reach­ing the top six.

“We have lost goals from the team with play­ers be­ing out in­jured and leav­ing the club so we are look­ing at the play­ers com­ing in to get them for us.”

Slade put Lawrence straight into his start­ing XI and the Wales in­ter­na­tional was heav­ily in­volved early on.

But Jake Forster-Caskey gave the home side a scare af­ter ten min­utes when he curled a su­perb free-kick just over the bar.

A poor first half fi­nally came to life in the fi­nal few min­utes when Lawrence met Peter Whit­ting­ham’s cross from the right with a glanc­ing header that came back off the post.

Stu­art O’Keefe brought a su­perb save out of Dons goal­keeper David Martin and Whit­ting­ham went close from dis­tance but it re­mained goal­less at the break.

O’Keefe should have scored less than 60 sec­onds into the sec­ond pe­riod but fired straight at Martin from close-range.

Blue­birds left-back Scott Malone tested Martin with a shot from the edge of the box and Lawrence went close with a low drive af­ter beat­ing two de­fend­ers but Cardiff were lack­ing a cut­ting edge. An­thony Pilk­ing­ton was another player guilty of wast­ing chances.

Former Blue­bird Nicky May­nard should have made his old side pay when he blasted over from eight yards.

Cardiff went in search of a win­ner in the fi­nal ten min­utes but once again Martin was on hand to deny Pilk­ing­ton with a smart stop with his feet.

Joe Walsh could have won it at the death for the vis­i­tors but he thumped a header wide.

The draw keeps the Dons one place and two points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone and Dons boss Karl Robinson paid trib­ute to his play­ers.

He said: “We fought tooth and nail to get the game on and I am so pleased we did.We rode our luck a bit at times and David Martin made some out­stand­ing saves but I’m proud of the boys.

“It’s our eighth clean sheet of the sea­son and is a per­for­mance we can build on.

“My play­ers are over-achiev­ing, I make no ex­cuses. We de­serve to be where we are in the league but not to be in the bot­tom three at this stage of the sea­son is a big achieve­ment.

“All I ask of my play­ers is that they give their all ev­ery week, I know per­for­mances are go­ing to go up and down but I can’t fault their com­mit­ment.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

SAFE HANDS: MK Dons goal­keeper David Martin thwarts Peter Whit­ting­ham

LINE-UPS

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Mar­shall 6

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Fabio 6

Manga 6

Con­nolly 6

Malone 7

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Ameobi 5

O’Keefe 6

Ralls 5

Whit­ting­ham 7

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Pilk­ing­ton 6

Lawrence 7

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Wil­liams 7

May­nard 5

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Carruthers 6

Hall 6

Forster-Caskey 7

Pot­ter 6

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Lew­ing­ton 6

Walsh 6

McFadzean 6

Bal­dock 6

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Martin 7 SUB­STI­TUTES CARDIFF: Zo­hore 6, 77 (Ameobi), Macheda N/A,

86 (Pilk­ing­ton) Subs not used: Moore, Peltier, Dik­ga­coi,

Gun­nars­son, Im­mers MK DONS: Mur­phy 6, 68 (Wil­liams), Em­manuel-

Thomas 6, 68 (May­nard), Bowditch N/A, 86 (Hall)

Subs not used:

Crop­per, Spence, Ra­sulo, Powell

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