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Match Report


Posted Sat 13 Nov 10 at 18:15 PM


MK Dons won their first away game since the opening day of the season as they produced arguably their best performance of the campaign at in-form Brentford.

Mathias Kouo-Doumbé's third goal of the season and a stunning strike from on-loan QPR wizard Angelo Balanta, both in the second half, gave Karl Robinson's side their first three points away from stadiummk in seven attempts. But it was the ruthless aggression with which they defended that stood this Dons performance apart - they passed Brentford off the park at times and simply refused to be intimidated by a Griffin Park crowd many have wilted in front of down the years.

In the end they were comfortable, seeing out a potentially-nervy five added minutes with composure and class as Brentford were reduced to 10 men due to Pim Balkestein's late brace of cautions. Still without the likes of Sean O'Hanlon, Gary MacKenzie and Aaron Wilbraham due to injury and suspension and with Jabo Ibehre only fit enough for a place on the bench, Robinson made just one change to the side that drew at Stevenage last week - a debut for loan signing Michael McIndoe, who arrived from Coventry City only on Friday.

Having ended their run of defeats on the road at Broadhall Way, Robinson's side looked determined to remain in contention early-on against the Bees, refusing to let their shape buckle as Brentford came at them in the opening stages.

But such was their solidity in defence - Kouo-Doumbé and Danny Woodards powerhouses at its heart - it didn't last long and the visitors quickly started to create the more incisive openings. The first fell the way of Sam Baldock, picked out by Stephen Gleeson's marvellous ball from right-back, but denied by the chasing Stephen Wright as he bore down on Richard Lee's goal. Baldock appealed for a penalty, half in hope rather than expectation, but it would by no means be his last chance, even before half-time. As Brentford continued to surge forward, with more endeavour than quality, they looked susceptible to being picked off. The industrious Peter Leven did just that on 21 minutes, stripping Gary Alexander of possession before slicing a gaping hole in the Brentford defence.

Debutant Michael McIndoe holds off Stephen Wright.   Baldock was onto it in a flash, but the impressive Karleigh Osborne was with his stride for stride, forcing the little striker a touch wide than he would have liked and Lee repelled his angled shot. For a side with four wins in their last six league games, Brentford's threat was poorly lacking - Osborne heading their best first-half opening over from Kevin O'Connor's corner. By contrast, for a side seeking their first away win since the opening day, the Dons looked seriously productive, with Balanta thriving in the free role behind Baldock.

McIndoe gave a glimpse of his class on 39 minutes, delightfully flicking David Martin's long ball into Baldock's path. Baldock skipped round the outrushing keeper and only the tight angle prevented the opener.

It would get even closer before the break - Baldock's hard graft forcing a mistake from Balkestein, McIndoe picking out Balanta on the left and the Columbian rattling the outside of the post. If the way his side came out after the interval was anything to go by, Scott knew his side had been second best.

Brentford were up and at it straight away and Craig Woodman brought a full-stretch save from Martin on 52 minutes when he powered a half-volley goal-wards from 18 yards. But it was momentum the Dons would quickly disrupt with their neat, accurate passing - Leven and Mark Carrington refusing to be rushed as they took hold of the game with forceful intent.

They picked Brentford apart on 56 minutes - Leven, Luke Chadwick and McIndoe combining to set up Balanta 25 yards out and his curling shot was tipped round the post by Lee. McIndoe guides the ball past Karleigh Osborne.   The young maverick's moment would come later, but from the resulting Leven corner the Dons hit the front - Kouo-Doumbé towering through a sea of red and white to power a header low past Lee. It was a lead hardly unjustified or even unexpected, but what followed from Balanta could never have been foreseen.

Baldock, showing boundless energy and determination, chased alone down the right, forcing the ball infield where Chadwick charged down Woodman's attempted clearance. The ball dropped for Balanta 20 yards out, who controlled with his chest before snapping a stunning half-volley across Lee, whose fingertips could not keep the ball out.

It was a goal fit to settle any contest, plucked right out of the top drawer by the most talented of young players, but the victory would owe so much to the collective determination of Balanta's team-mates. From the faultless defending of Woodards and Kouo-Doumbé, who were monumental in their resistance of Brentford attacks, to the tireless industry of the outstanding Carrington, they simply refused to allow their lead to be threatened.

Even young Daniel Powell, on as a late sub for the exhausted Baldock, ran his heart out, retaining priceless possession and drawing two quick fouls from the beaten Balkestein, who hit the showers early after being booked for both offences. It couldn't have gone much better in truth, and suddenly away trips might not look so daunting in the coming weeks.

Brentford (4-4-2): Lee; Wright, Osborne, Balkestein, Woodman; Wood (Simpson 46), O'Connor (c), Bean, Weston (Forster 71); MacDonald, Alexander.
Subs not used: Saunders, Spillane, Diagouraga, Legge, Hamer.
Booked: Woodman, Osborne, Balkestein.
Sent off: Balkestein 88
MK Dons (4-4-1-1): Martin; Gleeson, Woodards, Kouo-Doumbé, Lewington; Chadwick, Carrington, Leven, McIndoe (Guy 74); Balanta (Ibehre 68); Baldock (Powell 80).
Subs not used: Hamann, Searle, Chicksen, Johnson.
Goals: Kouo-Doumbé 57, Balanta 60
Booked: Leven, Guy
Attendance: 4,789 (368 away)
Referee: Fred Graham (Essex)

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