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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 09 Aug 11 at 21:39 PM

REPORT: CHELTENHAM 1 MK DONS 4

A dominant second-half performance saw MK Dons cruise through to the second round of the Carling Cup with a 4-1 win at Cheltenham Town in an entertaining game at Whaddon Road.

The Dons had to do it the hard way as they clawed themselves back on level terms following Luke Summerfield's deflected opener for the home side on the half-hour mark and Sam Baldock's equaliser just before the break gave Karl Robinson's the momentum.

Jabo Ibehre's goal 27 seconds into the second half sparked a 20 minute spell of non-stop pressure from the Dons with headers from Dean Lewington and Angelo Balanta rounding off the scoring.

The victory means the Dons ensured their name is in the hat for Thursday's second round draw, which is when all the Premier League clubs aside from those playing in Europe enter the competition.

Robinson made the most of his wealth of talent up front by naming a strong, attacking side for the game with Sam Baldock leading the line with support offered from Balanta, Ibehre and Dean Bowditch who formed the roaming three in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

There was great football on display from the first whistle with Ibehre and Baldock linking up before the latter dragged a cross inside the box for the advancing Darren Potter, but Steve Elliott just got ahead of the midfielder to clear.

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Cheltenham's defence were in a daze at the movement of Dons' forward thinking players and, under constant pressure, full-back Keith Lowe was forced into a mistake with a poor pass back to Scott Brown. Lively Sam Baldock quickly latched on to the loose ball, however the Robins 'keeper made a brave block on the edge of the box.

The chances continued to follow with Ibehre showing his good strength as he controlled the ball well, holding off two defenders, to feed Potter into action and from 18-yards out the midfielder released a fine effort that fell just wide.

It had been backs against the wall football for Cheltenham on the opening 10 minutes, but ever so often they reminded the Dons of the threat they offered in front of goal with some fast counterattacking football with the majority of their positive play coming through Kaid Mohamed.

Mohamed first tested David Martin with a low shot that carried a surprising amount of place, before racing down the left flank and just getting the better of Gary MacKenzie but Dean Lewington managed to clear into Row Z before Jeff Goulding could pull the trigger from inside 10-yards.

The Robins began to find confidence on the ball and came close to taking the lead in the 13th minute when Spencer timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap. Martin went to ground, managing to get the slightest touch to take the ball away from his feet leaving Lewington and Co to mop up.

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Played at a relentless pace a good game of football developed with both sides carving chances. More smart play allowed Stephen Gleeson to set Bowditch up with a shot from the edge of the box, the striker composed himself as his dipping left-footed effort forced a fine tip over by Brown.

A fortuitous deflection then went in the favour of the home side, who were playing their own neat football, to force the Dons to chase the game in the 29th minute. Summerfield's strike took a huge deflection from MacKenzie leaving Martin, already moving to his left, with a difficult task as he tried to change directions and despite getting a touch to the ball watched the ball bounce over the line.

Robins striker Spencer should have doubled their lead eight minutes before the break when he completed all the hard work by beating Shaun Williams and turning inside MacKenzie only to shoot straight into the arms of Martin.

The Dons goalkeeper was again called upon minutes later when Marlon Pack's fierce strike forced a superb tip over by the goalie.

Four minutes before the break Robinson's men found a deserved equaliser as Balanta, picking up a throw-in on the left, fired a spinning shot from 20-yards which was spily by Brown and Sam Baldock showed the sharpest reaction skills as he tapped home.

The Dons then got the dream start to the second half that they were looking for when, with just 27 seconds on the clock, Sam Baldock turned from goalscorer to provider with a lightening break down the left flank capped off by an inch perfect pass to Ibehre who confidently slotted past Brown.

From there the Dons took hold of the game as Balanta went close with a skilfully controlled shot before his inswinging corner in the 62nd minute allowed the visitors to add double their lead as Lewington's thumping header beat Brown.

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As Cheltenham's heads dropped the confidence oozed through the Dons as their movement stretched the home side Ibehre, out on the right wing, was able to pick out the run of Balanta with a fine cross and the QPR-loanee finished with a glancing header to extend the lead to 4-1.

It was just the fine finishing that Robinson had called for at the weekend and it will have pleased the boss as the games come thick and fast in the next few weeks.

But Cheltenham had not given up hope, with a 50/50 tackle between MacKenzie and Russell Penn letting Mohamed pounce on a loose ball, but Martin made a superb right-handed block. Then from the resulting corner Mohamed some how turned the ball wide from four-yards out.

Despite the late scare the Dons were comfortable and will now await the second round draw.

Cheltenham Town (4-4-2): Brown; Lowe (Penn 67), Elliott, Bennett (c), Andrew; Low, Summerfield, Pack, Mohamed; Goulding (Smikle 67), Spencer (Duffy 84).

Subs not used: Duffy,, Graham, Jombati, Hooman, Book.

Booked: Andrew

Goal: Summerfield 29

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Chicksen, MacKenzie, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter (Chadwick 63), Gleeson; Bowditch, Ibehre (O'Shea 67), Balanta (Powell 67); S Baldock.

Subs: Bragg, G Baldock, Flanagan.

Booked: Chadwick

Goals: Baldock 41, Ibehre 46, Lewington 62, Balanta 64

Referee: J Lilington

Attendance: 1, 625 (183 away)

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