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Match Report


Posted Sun 08 May 11 at 12:23 PM


A deflected Keanu Marsh-Brown strike ensured MK Dons signed off the regular League 1 season with a 2-1 win over Oldham Athletic and set-up a meeting with Peterborough United in the play-off semi-finals. The victory saw the Dons finish fifth in the League 1 table, and they will host Peterborough at stadiummk on Sunday 15th May before travelling to London Road on Thursday 19th May. Dons made sure they head into the crunch ties with Posh on form with a solid performance and three points from the Latics. Angelo Balanta opened the scoring in the 28th minute, a chance created thanks to a terrific break from Adam Clayton, but was cancelled out by a wonderful strike from Carl Winchester. However, just five minutes into the second half Marsh-Brown's shot from outside the area was deflected past Oldham goalkeeper Dean Brill and a young Dons side, finishing the game with six players who have come through the Academy, were able to see out a victory. Angelo Balanta chips Dean Brill to open the scoring The Dons side, with nine changes made to the line-up that clinched a play-off place against Notts County a week earlier, were faced with a difficult task of taking points from Paul Dickov's Latics. While the Dons had their final position in the table to determine, both sides were able to play with freedom and the lack of pressure was clear to see in an open, yet scrappy start to proceedings at Boundary Park. The Latics demonstrated an ability to hassle the midfield for possession which in turn created flashes of lively breaks, especially when Chris Taylor closed down Danny Woodards and released Warren Feeney, but Tom Flanagan never looked troubled by the cross that followed. The Dons' first real opportunity to register a shot on target came in the 13th minute when Clayton drove a low free-kick from 30-yards straight into the body of goalieBrill. When the Dons pushed forward they showed signs of exuberance and a lack of fear. In particular the touch of Keanu Marsh-Brown and Clayton's eagerness to break from midfield, enabled by the defensive work of George Baldock who shone on his full debut, hinted at possible goals for the visitors. Adam Chicksen put in a solid performance at left-back If Oldham were to get on the score sheet they had to improve their set-pieces as skipper Chris Taylor wasted a golden opportunity to test Stuart Searle with a free-kick from outside the area, but the Latics midfielder shot well over. Flanagan and Sean O'Hanlon showed great understanding as they dealt with the pressure of experienced striker Reuben Reid, although Oldham struggled to show enough bite in front of goal. And the Dons, as they have done so often have done this season, turned defence into attack with Jabo Ibehre clearing on the edge of the box to release Clayton. The 22-year-old powered through two challenges with a desire to advance and, after a glance up, threaded the ball through and the touch of Oldham defender James Tarkowski allowed Balanta to chip over Brill to fire the Dons in front. But the lead lasted for just six minutes as some sloppy defending cost the men from MK when Winchester picked out the top left corner with a cracking strike from outside the area. George Baldock impressed in his full debut for MK Dons The goals had sparked the match into life and both sides could have added further to the score line with Balanta rattling the woodwork with a header on to Guy's lofted cross while a superbly timed intervention from Flanagan at the other end prevented Winchester from getting his second after Reid knocked the ball inside the six-yard box with pace. Oldham came within inches of taking the lead minutes into the second half when Reid, using his upper body strength, powered through midfield to feed Feeney through in the box, he duly cut back for Winchester, but the Latics' goalscorer drove his effort wide. Instead it was the Dons who found a second goal when good work from Ibehre, holding up the ball well until support arrived, eventually saw the ball fall to Marsh-Brown. Keanu Marsh-Brown battles against Aidan White The winger, at the right of the box, saw a clear route at goal and as his shot went through the Latics area Aidan White, caught in two minds as to whether he should clear, picked up a deflection which left Brill unable to prevent it nestling into the back of the net. Both sides made changes with Ryan Brooke and Oumare Tounkara introduced for Oldham, while Robinson brought on Daniel Powell and Sam Baldock, featuring in a first team game with his brother George for the first time. With just over ten minutes to play Latics player-manager  Paul Dickov came on for his final appearance before retiring in the hope he would inspire a late fight back from his side. Dickov made a noticeable impact for the home side as they stepped up the gears and applied pressure on the Dons. James Tarkowski could have caused the Dons trouble when he burst into space inside the 18-yard box, but just as he lined up to shoot O'Hanlon made a telling challenge to clear the danger. The Dons defender, stepping in as captain for the day in the absence of Dean Lewington, led by example in a great performance from the young team. Oldham Athletic (4-4-2): Brill; Lee, Tarkowski, M'Voto, White; Winchester (Dickov 77), Lowe, Furman, Taylor (c); Reid (Tounkara 66), Feeney (Brooke 61). Subs not used: Gerrard, Trotman, Burns, McGrath. Goal: Winchester 34 MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Searle; Woodards, O'Hanlon (c), Flanagan, Chicksen; Clayton, G Baldock; Balanta (Collins 76), Guy (Powell 67), Marsh-Brown (S Baldock 67); Ibehre. Subs not used: Martin, Coronado, Gleeson. Goal: Balanta 28, Marsh-Brown 50 Referee: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands) Attendance: 4,063 (388 away)

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