Iron held by Dons
Wilbraham header cancels out Woolford opener
Last Updated: 08/05/09 10:05pm
Woolford: Opened the scoring
Milton Keynes Dons will fancy their chances of securing a place in the League One play-off final following a 1-1 first-leg semi-final draw against Scunthorpe.
The Iron pipped Tranmere to sixth spot in the table and surprised Roberto Di Matteo's side third-placed side in the 13th minute by taking the lead.
Paul Hayes' shot from out on the left wing was too hot to handle for Willy Gueret who spilled the ball to Martyn Woolford who guided his first-time attempt into the empty net.
The home side continued to press, but against the run of play the Dons levelled matters. From a dubious-looking corner Jude Sterling nodded the ball goalwards for Aaron Wilbraham to score from close range.
Di Matteo's side had the greater territorial advantage in the second half, although Nigel Adkins' side came close to breaking the deadlock when Gary Hooper's back-post effort was disallowed.
Signalled their intent
The Dons signalled their intent in the opening minute when Peter Leven got the ball rolling with a drilled effort that warmed up Joe Murphy and, although Scunthorpe's top scorer Gary Hooper should have done better when trying to chip Willy Gueret after breaking through, they enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.
That was soon undone, though, as Scunthorpe took the lead through Woolford's sixth goal of the season. There was little danger when Hayes cut in from the left but, after Gueret could only parry his drive, Woolford did well to bundle the loose ball home with his heel.
To their credit the Dons refused to break from their stride and Jason Puncheon nearly got them back on terms when he crept in at the far post following a Mark Wright cross, before they got the goal their approach play deserved with 27 minutes gone.
Grant McCann was unlucky to concede a corner when replays showed it did not hit him last and, after Wright's centre was poorly cleared by Cliff Byrne, Jude Stirling nodded the ball back in and Wilbraham pounced from almost under the crossbar to score.
McCann then wasted two good chances to work Gueret with free-kicks from the edge of the area but the Dons remained the more threatening side going into the interval.
That continued into the second half as Puncheon and Wilbraham both flashed efforts over although Scunthorpe remained dangerous on the break and Hooper had a goal disallowed for offside as he bundled home Hayes' shot at the back post following a mistake from Luke Howell.
The chances continued to present themselves to the visitors and Miguel Angel Llera should have done better than head over from Wright's corner when completely unmarked, while Wright himself blazed wide after Wilbraham's cute back-heel had played him in.
Hayes and Krystian Pearce then went close for Scunthorpe, with Stirling excellent in blocking the latter's shot, before the finest chance fell to Dons substitute Sam Baldock. He did the hard work in rounding Murphy but then picked out the legs of the covering David Mirfin rather than the open goal.
Sky Bet League 1
|4||Milton Keynes Dons||5||10|
|7||Preston North End||5||9|