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Match Report


Posted Wed 03 Nov 10 at 00:03 AM


Peter Leven crashed home a late penalty as MK Dons came from behind to extend their excellent run at stadiummk with a thrilling win over Yeovil.

The in-form midfielder buried his third goal in as many games and his fifth of the season just four minutes from time, after Yeovil's Shaun MacDonald had sent Luke Chadwick tumbling in the area. Dean Bowditch had given Yeovil a 19th-minute lead, before Dean Lewington marked his 300th league appearance with the equaliser nine minutes before the break.

The men from MK looked on course for victory when Jemal Johnson scored his first Dons goal in over a year just after half-time, only for Adam Virgo to seemingly deny them 15 minutes from the end. But Leven kept his nerve among furious Glovers protests to give the Dons a sixth league win out of eight on their own patch and put them back within a point of the League 1 play-offs. After seeing their winless run on the road extended at Tranmere on Saturday, this was another priceless riposte from Karl Robinson's men on a home ground they are slowly establishing into a fortress.

Attacking the Cowshed in the second half particularly, they are becoming a difficult force to stop at MK1. If their away form could even closely resemble that of the teams around them, they would be comfortably sitting among the pace-setters in an increasingly tight top-half. That this latest win came without a host of key personnel through illness, injury and suspension only enhanced its value. David Martin, Danny Woodards, Aaron Wilbraham and Gary MacKenzie were among them, while Didi Hamann was only well enough for a place among just four substitutes.

It meant a first start of the season for goalkeeper Stuart Searle among five changes from Prenton Park. It showed in the opening minutes, the hosts lacking a physical focal point for their attacks with the diminutive Baldock leading the line, and Yeovil sought to take advantage. Gavin Williams was the first to chance his arm, firing in an effort from range on 10 minutes that Searle gathered at the second attempt.

It was a decent range-finder for the Dons stopper, but he was helpless 19 minutes later as Bowditch seized on a misjudgement by Sean O'Hanlon to control and finish with impressive finesse. Dons responded well to the setback, particularly Stephen Gleeson - restored to the right-back role he had filled during the early weeks of the campaign. Bombing on beyond Chadwick, the Irishman produced two wonderful crosses in as many minutes. The first, a wonderful ball put in on the volley, went unconverted.

The second was met by the head of Sam Baldock, caught pace of the wet turf, and was pushed over by Glovers keeper John Sullivan. It brought the home side to life and had Baldock managed to get his toe onto another fine delivery from Johnson on 26 minutes, the hosts might have been level. As it was, Yeovil went close to adding a second as Gavin Williams chipped agonisingly over Searle's crossbar. One sensed the Dons might need the leveller before the break and landmark man Lewington duly delivered it nine minutes before the interval. Leven was the provider, delivering a well-placed corner from the right that Lewington climbed to plant into the bottom-left corner from 10 yards.

It was the kind of header expected from a centre-half rather than a full-back, but Lewington was forced to fill that very role for the remainder of the game as O'Hanlon limped off to be replaced by young Adam Chicksen. Attacking the Cowshed in the second half, the Dons came out with familiar urgency in the second period and they were in front just five minutes after the restart. Much of it was owed to the persistence of Baldock, who outmuscled Virgo down the right flank, stayed on his feet with the assistant furiously flagging for a free-kick in his favour. On he raided into the right side of the area, taking time to consider his options before picking out Johnson for a well-controlled finish.

Leven almost brought the house down five minutes later, spotting Sullivan off his line and shuddering the face of the crossbar from fully 45 yards, but the game remained open as Yeovil sought to recover. Owain Tudor-Jones flicked a header just wide from a Nathan Jones free-kick and, on 75 minutes, the visitors foraged what they thought was an equaliser.

A centre-half by trade, Virgo showed impressive technique as he swivelled on a ball into the box from the right, controlling his shot beyond Searle and in off the left-hand post. It nearly set the Somerset side up for a victory when Sam Williams sent his namesake Gavin clear with 10 minutes to go, but Searle stood tall to deny the Glovers wide-man with a telling save, the importance of which became apparent shortly afterwards.

Exchanging passes with first Chicksen and they substitute Jermaine Easter, Chadwick charged into the left side of the box before crashing to ground under pressure from MacDonald.

Still without a league goal this season, Easter might have thought about putting his name forward to take the spot-kick, but the Welshman knew a meaningless squabble, with three points at stake, would only up the ante. He tossed Leven the ball, offered a high-five of support, and the Glaswegian produced the Aces.

MK Dons (4-4-1-1): Searle; Gleeson, O'Hanlon (Chicksen 39), Kouo-Doumbé, Lewington (c); Chadwick, Carrington, Leven, Johnson (Easter 69); Guy (Powell 77); Baldock.
Subs not used: Hamann.
Goals: Lewington 36, Johnson 50, Leven 86 pen
Booked: Chadwick, Leven
Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Sullivan; Ayling (Welsh 74), Huntington (c), Virgo, Jones; G. Williams, Kalala, Tudor-Jones, MacDonald; Bowditch (A. Williams 70), S. Williams (Freeman 81).
Goals: Bowditch 19, Virgo 75 Booked: G. Williams, Huntington
Subs not used: Upson, Calver, Freeman, Roberts, Gibson.
Attendance: 7,281 (200 away)
Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

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