Having not scored at all so far this season, it was turning into a pretty dire campaign for Kieran Agard. The striker, 28, was the top scorer for MK Dons last year with 12 goals. However, this campaign was not going the same way, until today. Agard was the hero for the Dons in their trip to Charlton, where his brace, including a stoppage-time equaliser, rescued a point for the visitors.
Kieran Agard’s Rescue Act Could Be Catalyst For More Goals
A Share of the Spoils
MK Dons faced their former manager, Karl Robinson, for the third time since he joined Charlton Athletic. However, it was his replacement at the Buckinghamshire side, Robbie Neilson, who will be more impressed with the result of this game.
The Addicks took the lead after just six minutes when Josh Magennis headed in former Dons loanee Jake Forster-Caskey’s cross, and it seemed that from there they would have a comfortable ride.
It did not turn out like that though, and after 63 minutes, Agard netted the first of his two, heading in Scott Golbourne’s cross at the far post. However, it seemed as though a point was off the cards when in the 87th minute, Charlton broke forward and Golbourne turned Tarique Fosu’s cross into his own net.
A fast response was needed and it came in the first minute of stoppage time. Peter Pawlett was fouled in the area by Ahmed Kashi, and Agard kept his cool to score the penalty and rescue a vital point.
From Top Scorer to Misfiring
The brace from Agard today will surely be a boost for his confidence, which had taken an enormous blow. The striker’s 12 league goals last season made him the club’s top scorer in a fairly average campaign. Having played 42 games 2016/17, it gave Agard a rate of one goal per 0.29 games.
It was not a prolific season for the striker by any means, but he has never been that type of player. He scored just 15 times in 64 appearances for Bristol City, and 27 goals in 78 games for Rotherham. To be the top scorer in any season, for him, is a big achievement, regardless of the number.
His position, though, means goals must be a part of his game somewhere, and scoring none in the first three months of a season is bound to affect confidence. Whether the signing of Osman Sow or the loan addition of Southampton’s Ryan Seager made him nervous that he would no longer be the number one striker, or he simply has just been unlucky, it has not been good enough from him.
Today’s brace, however, could be a catalyst for Agard’s season. He has already equalled Sow’s tally for the season and is only one goal behind Seager’s total for all competitions. This should instil some more confidence in Robbie Neilson that Agard can perform at this level. After all, he cannot score if he does not play.
As well as this, the current injury to Osman Sow means that there is less competition for Agard. The return of Peter Pawlett means that Agard is unlikely to be deployed on the wings, as he sometimes has in the past. So it is now a direct competition between Seager and Agard for the starting striker position.
It must be stressed that two goals in three months is nothing to get excited about, especially when a team’s aspirations are to be in the play-offs rather than languishing in mid-table. However, the boost in confidence this will give Agard should really kickstart his season and, in turn, kickstart MK Dons’.