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Match Report


Posted Sat 29 Aug 09 at 21:29 PM


Jermaine Easter scored two quick-fire goals to send unbeaten MK Dons to a third successive League 1 win at newly-promoted Exeter City.

The Welsh international swept home Jason Puncheon's cross after just 32 seconds, before turning a good start into a dream one by firing another five minutes later. It was a stunning double blow from the Dons striker, signed from the Grecians' great rivals Plymouth Argyle in the summer, and one the home side never truly recovered from.

Paul Tisdale's men did manage to pull a goal back through Barry Corr after half-time, but it proved mere consolation despite a barrage of balls into the Dons box late-on. It was another impressive result for Paul Ince's Dons, who supplemented an excellent attacking display in the first half with some dogged defensive resistance in the second.

And with Huddersfield, Leeds and Norwich all to visit stadiummk in September, Ince will be pleased that his side are playing their way into form ahead of a big month. Ince was able to recall skipper Dean Lewington to the starting line-up after two weeks out with a concussion, but he couldn't have dreamed that they would make the start they did. Exeter had barely touched the ball when Puncheon weaved his way through their defences down the right flank and, when the cross arrived in the six-yard-box, Easter was poised perfectly to apply a close-range finish.

The Welshman was booked for removing his shirt while celebrating, but it was obvious he was in the zone and he underlined that before six minutes were on the clock. Troy Archibald-Henville had moved sharply to intercept a Dons attack on the edge of his own box, but was outmuscled by Easter, whose powerful low shot squirmed through the body of 'keeper Paul Jones and crawled over the line.

Exeter didn't know what had hit them and Dons fans could have been forgiven for wondering how many their team would get, especially when Luke Chadwick twice went close after carving his way through the Grecians defence from the right. Corr forced a good save from Willy Gueret when he rose to meet Marcus Stewart's cross on 21 minutes, and wasted a decent opening on 38 when he went clear, but the striker was lucky to have avoided the showers before the first half had finished. Already on a booking for going down to easily in the area early-on, Corr lunged into a late challenge on Dean Lewington on halfway that earned him a stern talking to from referee Andy Hall.

With Puncheon controlling the pace of the game and Jemal Johnson a constant threat down the left, the home side were searching for ways back into the game at half-time.But after a tactical change that saw Craig McAllister and Richard Logan introduced to a three-man attack, Exeter found one on 51 minutes.

Alex Russell whipped a swirling high ball into the Dons box and Corr crept in behind Johnson to direct a brilliant right-foot volley across Gueret and inside the far post. It was a eureka moment for Tisdale, who suddenly saw the vulnerability in a Dons defence lacking genuine height and threw centre-half Matt Taylor into the front line. But after Liam Sercombe's volley had flown straight at Gueret and McAllister's header had been well held by the Frenchman, Ince introduced Mathias Doumbe to shore up his defence.

With the excellent Danny Woodards switched to right-back and Luke Howell's tenacity moved into midfield, it immediately served its purpose and the Dons, led by the outstanding David McCracken, looked increasingly comfortable as the game went on.

With Exeter's approach drawing the visitors into an organised rearguard, the quality of the game suffered and chances were few and far between. But the Dons took control of proceedings in the closing stages, starving the home side of possession when they needed it most and taking the sting out of any potential late rally. Substitute Jabo Ibehre might have made the game safe towards the end when he raced clear onto Howell's throughball, but Archibald-Henville's timely challenge prevented him getting a clean shot off.

Exeter City (4-4-1-1): Jones; Tully, Archibald-Henville, Taylor (c), Duffy; Sercombe, Russell, Saunders (Logan 46), Golbourne (McAllister 46); Stewart, Corr (Seaborne 70).
Subs not used: Marriott, Edwards, Dunne, Burnell. Goals: Corr 51. Booked: Corr, Taylor.
MK Dons (4-4-1-1): Gueret; Howell, Woodards, McCracken, Lewington (c); Chadwick, Carrington, Gleeson, Johnson (Doumbe 63); Puncheon (Partridge 81); Easter (Ibehre 69).
Subs not used: Searle, Baldock, Davis. Goals: Easter 1, 6. Booked: Easter.
Attendance: 5,333 (353 away).
Referee: Andy Hall (West Midlands)

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