MK DONS 1 STEVENAGE 1 (AET)
MK Dons were knocked out of the FA Cup by League 2 Stevenage after a nerve-shredding penalty shootout at stadiummk.
Mathias Kouo-Doumbé was the unfortunate player to miss the crucial kick, blazing over with the shootout's 16th effort, though Peter Leven also saw a kick to win it saved by Stevenage keeper Chris Day. Dons looked on-course for a second-round berth when Lewis Guy slid them in front from Leven's pass just after half-time. But disaster struck in the fourth minute of stoppages as goalkeeper David Martin spilled a routine cross from Yemi Odubade and fellow sub Darius Charles slammed home.
With no winner forthcoming in extra time, the tie went was settled in the most dramatic of circumstances. Scott Laird's miss gave Leven the chance to win it with the Dons' fifth, but Day denied him brilliantly to his left. And after Lawrie Wilson had buried Stevenage's eighth penalty past Martin, Kouo-Doumbé skied his effort to send Stevenage into a televised second round tie with either Ebbsfleet or AFC Wimbledon.
In a game that was always likely to be a physical affair, tensions spilled over as early as the eighth minute when Stevenage wide-man David Bridges charged into Dean Lewington as he went to reach a ball in the air. Having exchanged words with their skipper just a few moments before, Lewington's team-mates were in no doubt that Bridges' intentions were harmful. Referee Gavin Ward disagreed and issued just a yellow card.
It incensed the Dons' bench, but typified the physical, aggressive approach the visitors would use to frustrate the home side. Rarely did they give the Dons a moment to breathe in the first half, let alone room to pass the ball and a scrappy game lacking fluency was the inevitable outcome. What passages of play the Dons did piece together were in front of a deep-lying Stevenage defence, but Leven did give them cause for concern when he drove fractionally wide from long range after good work from Guy off the right flank.
But as Stevenage continued to disrupt Dons rhythm and inflict their will on the game, they would force a couple of openings of their own. Full-back Laird was the first to threaten some damage, whipping a dangerous free-kick from the right flank through the heart of the Dons box which bounced of Martin's upright.
Peter Leven puts the Dons on the attack. &nbsp; And when Michael Bostwick was given too much space running onto a ball on the edge of the box, his firmly-struck effort whistled just past the other post. Robinson's side were becoming frustrated with Stevenage's approach, a yellow shirt in their faces within seconds of anyone receiving possession and it only served to drive the visitors on. Chasing another long ball gainfully forward, Ben May put Gary MacKenzie under sufficient pressure to cause a mix-up between the big defender and his goalkeeper, Martin was forced to parry the return header from close-quarters and only a brilliant tackle from Kouo-Doumbé on the edge of the box prevented Bridges scoring.
But first half frustration is a feeling the Dons have become used to this season. Attacking the Cowshed after the break, they are a different proposition and so they quickly proved four minutes into the second half.
Probing Stevenage's final third with menacing intent, Leven, Guy and Mark Carrington exchanged passes before finally advancing forward. Leven picked the hole, Guy ran through it, gave Day the eyes and found the net. It was the first time the Dons have got in behind their stubborn opponents and Guy's aim was deadly. It could have got better a few minutes later when Carrington, growing impressively into the game, was offered space from 30 yards and drilled fractionally over.
Sam Baldock followed that up with another firm drive from distance that Day was well behind. But Stevenage were by no means dead an buried, bravely pressing forward in search of an equaliser and nearly found one with 13 minutes to go, but John Mousinho scuffed criminally wide after Odubade had hooked across goal from the right.
It was a warning shot to the home side, who had further chances to make the game safe when Kouo-Doumbé headed wide from a Leven corner and Leven himself headed over after great work from Baldock and Stephen Gleeson down the right. And their wastefulness was severely punished deep into stoppage time as Martin erred and Charles pounced.
Though the Dons probably looked the more likely, substitute Luke Chadwick adding some much-needed energy following his introduction, extra-time was always likely to be tight and no winner emerged. And so the roulette began, but as the ball looked set to drop into the Dons slot Day denied them. And it will be Stevenage heading into next Saturday's televised away trip.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Woodards (O'Hanlon 115), MacKenzie, Kouo-Doumbé, Lewington (c); Gleeson, Carrington; Guy (Powell 71), Leven, Johnson (Chadwick 71); Baldock.
Subs not used: Hamann, Searle, Chicksen, Flanagan.
Goals: Guy 49
Booked: Lewington, Gleeson, Leven
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day; Wilson, Roberts (c), Ashton, Laird; Bridges (Griffin 63), Mousinho, Bostwick, Long; Beardsley (Charles 81), May (Odubade 63).
Subs not used: Bayes, Foster, Byrom, O'Shea.
Goals: Charles 90+4
Booked: Bridges, Ashton
Attendance: 3,977 (852 away)
Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)