Fleetwood Town 1 MK Dons 0: Ched Evans’ late goal gives Town another three points at Highbury

Ched Evans scores Fleetwood Town's winner
Ched Evans scores Fleetwood Town's winner

Substitute Ched Evans was Fleetwood Town’s hero as his 85th minute winner finally saw off a dogged MK Dons outfit.

The half-time sub profited late on as he tapped home after Dons’ keeper Lee Nicholls had spilled Lewie Coyle’s cross.

The hosts dominated throughout but must have thought they were going to have to settle for a point against a dismal Dons side, who have only scored one goal in their last eight games.

Boss Joey Barton made a couple of alterations to his starting line-up following the midweek defeat at Coventry City.

Skipper Paul Coutts returned in midfield after suspension with Wes Burns also recalled as Evans and Jack Sowerby dropped to the bench.

It proved a cagey opening spell from both sides, rather more understandably from the Dons who had only picked up a single point from their previous seven matches.

The hosts needed to be patient but maybe a certain impatience was summed up in the 13th minute when their first clear sight of goal saw Burns fire well wide from 20 yards.

The Dons did a good job of repelling Fleetwood in the opening 20 minutes, by which time Barton had already ordered his substitutes to warm up.

It was the visitors who almost broke the deadlock in the 26th minute as Hiram Boateng headed narrowly over from George Williams’ cross.

Some increased urgency from the home side then saw Kyle Dempsey go on a mazy run before seeing a shot blocked by Joe Walsh.

Burns also found space down the right before crossing for Paddy Madden, whose header was well off target.

Josh Morris had the ball in the Dons’ net in the 40th minute but it was disallowed as Madden appeared to foul Nicholls as the keeper stretched to meet Coyle’s cross.

After the break, Burns couldn’t quite get a shot away after meeting Madden’s lay-off, while Jordan Rossiter saw a well-struck effort blocked by Regan Poole.

Harry Souttar nodded over, Madden’s header was tipped away by Nicholls who, as the pressure began to build, saved well from Burns’ angled effort.

Dempsey was again thwarted as his daisycutter was blocked but Evans was to become the Fleetwood hero with a well-deserved winner.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Souttar, Dunne, Andrew (McAleny 82), Burns, Rossiter (Hunter 60), Coutts, Dempsey, Morris (Evans 46), Madden. Subs not used: Crellin, Clarke, Southam-Hales, Sowerby.

MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Walsh, Moore-Taylor, Lewington (Cargill 90), Brittain (Bowery 71), Houghton, Poole, Boateng (McGrandles 58), Gilbey, Agard. Subs not used: Martin, Dickenson, Moore, Harley.

Referee: Marc Edwards.

Attendance: 2,722.