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Match Report


Posted Sat 24 Apr 10 at 19:01 PM


MK Dons finished with eight men at Elland Road as promotion-chasing Leeds ran out handsome 4-1 winners.

Mathias Doumbe, David McCracken and Peter Leven were all shown straight red cards on a bizarre afternoon in West Yorkshire, increasing the pressure on a Dons squad already shorn of key personnel through injury. Having seen Dean Lewington wipe out Luciano Becchio's 13th-minute opener within seven minutes, the Dons looked in a decent position in the build-up to half-time, despite Max Gradel re-establishing the home side's lead.

But Doumbe's dismissal for an innocuous-looking challenge on on-loan Arsenal winger Sanchez Watt left the visitors reeling and, though they recovered themselves after the break, substitute Jermaine Beckford put the game to bed with 11 minutes to go.

McCracken then got his marching orders for a professional foul on Beckford - the Leeds striker taking his total for the season to 30 with the resulting penalty. And Leven was handed a similar punishment for a late lunge on Neill Collins as the game descended into farce towards the close.

It was another day of what might have been for the men from MK, spurred on by Karl Robinson and Alex Rae in the technical area. But despite playing some excellent football at times and threatening to match Leeds in the first half, mistakes ultimately cost them a shot at the points.

Doumbe made the first, dallying in possession before Watt robbed him down the left. The ball in behind for Becchio had a hint of offside about it, but the Argentine's finish was marvellous.

Though without the likes of Aaron Wilbraham, Sean O'Hanlon, Stephen Gleeson and Danny Woodards through injury, the Dons showed they would not be rolled over when Lewington guided Leven's free-kick into the corner on 20 minutes. But when Leven's pass out of defence was intercepted by the dancing feet of Neil Kilkenny on 33, Lewington's challenge was insufficient to stop Gradel drilling Leeds back in front.

Doumbe's dismissal, though undoubtedly harsh, should have been followed by a Leeds penalty in first-half stoppage time as Dons 'keeper Willy Gueret seemed to trip Gradel in the box, but referee Michael Oliver opted to even things up by turning a blind eye. The visitors' injury problems worsened after the break as first Sam Baldock and then Luke Chadwick were forced off with problems, but they continued to hold firm against a Leeds side unsure whether to go for the kill or hold with what they had.

Becchio should have made it three after sub Jonny Howson had headed down a Robert Snodgrass free-kick, but there was an ominous feeling on the horizon as Beckford, dropped to the bench for the third successive game, warmed up.

On he came with 15 minutes to go, and five minutes later he was on the score sheet as he stretched to convert a Bradley Johnson cross. That was game over, but it would get worse for the visitors as Beckford scampered in behind onto Gary McSheffrey's header and was sent tumbling to earth by the tiring McCracken. Out came the card again and Beckford rammed home from the spot.

Leven protested his innocence after being forced to stretch into a tackle on Collins, insisting he'd won the ball fairly, but Mr Collins' mind was made up long before he'd extracted Leven from the ensuing melee.

The Dons winless streak is stretched to nine games, with injuries and suspensions making team selection from Brighton next week looking impossible.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Higgs; Hughes, Naylor (c), Collins, Parker (Howson 59); Snodgrass (Beckford 75), Kilkenny, Johnson, Watt (McSheffrey 86); Gradel, Becchio.
Subs not used: Ankergren, Doyle, Grella, Bromby.
Goals: Becchio 13, Gradel 33, Beckford 79, 85 pen
Booked: Johnson, Hughes, Collins
MK Dons (4-1-2-1-2): Gueret; Doumbe, Powell, McCracken, Lewington (c); Leven; Howell, Randall; Chadwick (Chicksen 63); Baldock (Gobern 51), Easter.
Subs not used: Searle, Davis, Collins, Rae.
Goals: Lewington 20
Booked: Lewington, Randall
Sent off: Doumbe 43, McCracken 84, Leven 90+2
Attendance: 25,964
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

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