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Match Report


Posted Mon 09 Apr 12 at 17:02 PM


MK Dons reached a Club record of 100 goals in a season as they brushed aside Tranmere Rovers with a 3-0 win and moved one step closer to cementing a place in the play-offs. Shaun Williams netted to penalties - his fourth from the spot in as many games - either side of a strike from Stephen Gleeson as the Dons recorded their first win in four games. Despite returning to winning ways the Dons were left infuriated as Darren Potter's indirect free-kick went unrewarded despite crossing in the line. It was a well-controlled performance from the Dons with man of the match Gleeson at the heart of it and Karl Robinson's side will take great confidence from such a convincing display. The Dons made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Preston North End just two days earlier with Dean Bowditch, Jabo Ibehre and Charlie MacDonald all returning to the starting line-up. It was an attacking side from boss Robinson as they went on search of their first win in four games but a tough in-form Tranmere Rovers side stood in their way. Prior to kick-off the Dons paid an excellent tribute to founder of Marshall Amplifications Jim Marshall, who passed away last week, by donning their old black 'Marshall' sponsored shirts, including the first team bench, Robinson and Chairman Pete Winkelman, as they took part in a minute's applause. With an array of talent in their forward line the Dons looked to maximise the chances they had in front of goal, and with some wonderful passing football on display they were able to cause problems to Tranmere from the first minute. Some great link-up play on the right side of the box opened up the Dons' first avenue at the Rovers' goal when Adam Chicksen abandoned his defensive duties to pile forward to the byline when he brought Ibehre into the action. In the meantime Daniel Powell ran from the edge of the area to pick up a pass but was soon hacked down by Zoumana Bakayogo, which resulted in a penalty to the home side. With Bowditch on the pitch the top goal scorer could easily have taken control but the duties remained with Williams, and the utility man maintained his confidence from the spot as squeezed the ball beyond Owain Fon Williams' grasp, on to the post and in, to convert his fourth penalty of the season. Only a matter of minutes later the Dons could have had their early opener chalked out when a Rovers corner caught them in a spin, but Ian Goodison's challenge for the ball on David Martin was deemed as a foul before the ball hit the back of the net. After taking the lead, the Dons found it difficult to push on for a second as Tranmere began to tighten their backline. Meanwhile Robbie Weir was enduring a tough time in front of goal, first he sliced an attempted shot and was left to kick the air and then, after cutting through midfield, he wildly shot wide from 20-yards. Rovers were then handed a route back into proceedings in the 33rd minute when two players went down under the challenges of Chicksen and Gary MacKenzie in the six-yard box and this time the penalty was awarded to the visitors. Weir stepped up to the spot but lacked conviction while Martin looked confident as he correctly dived to his right to save at the post. Goodison was alert enough to follow up the missed penalty, but he was left with his head in his hands as he skied his shot well over the bar. The centreback's afternoon didn't improve at any great speed either, shortly after Ibehre knocked a great Powell cross wide, Goodison slipped in the box as he attempted to clear the lines and allowed Gleeson to pick up the loose ball. The Irishman took his time in choosing his spot, yet he did it in emphatic fashion as he fired into the bottom corner to double the Dons' lead. The Dons continued to dominate the game on the resumption of the second half, and were looking for a third to take their season tally to 100 goals. Potter and Gleeson were excellent in midfield as they bossed the show. A pass through from Potter was picked up by Gleeson, after MacDonald purposely let it run by, and the midfielder made an excellent run through the Rovers defence. After finding his way to the right touchline Gleeson whipped a fine cross into the box but Ibehre, at full stretch, could not get the touch needed to knock the ball home. There was a real fluency about the Dons' play as they grew in confidence and stature as the game progressed. Once again Gleeson was at the heart of the Dons' great attacks when he turned defence on the edge of the Dons' box into attack but nothing came of the immediate opportunity. However, when a cross was fired into the box by Potter a trip by David Buchanan on MacDonald was spotted the Dons were awarded their second penalty of the game. Williams' showed his nerves of steel as he confidently fired in his second of the game. Tranmere often played themselves into trouble and when a backpass was collected by Fon Williams the visitors were left to defend a indirect free-kick from 10-yards. Rarely do direct free-kicks create real opportunities and the Dons were faced with a wall of bodies on the line, but Potter's ferocious strike hit the wall and appeared to go over the line by some distance, but the officials ruled otherwise. On any other day it might have been the talking point, but thankfully for the Dons they already had the three points in the bag. MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Chicksen, MacKenzie (Flanagan 79), Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Bowditch (O'Shea 70), Ibehre (Chadwick 81), Powell; MacDonald.

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Smith. Booked: MacKenzie Goals: Williams (pen) 10, (pen) 74, Gleeson 42 Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams; Holmes, Goodison, Taylor, Buchanan; Akins, Wallace, Welsh (c), Weir (Robinson 62), Bakayogo; Cassidy (Showunmi 62). Subs not used: Coughlin, Labadie, Brunt. Attendance: 7,355 (280 away) Referee: Simon Hooper (Swindon) Goal-Don Goal times: 1st goal 9.21; 2nd goal 41.40; 3rd goal 73.08.

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