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Match Report


Posted Sat 03 Dec 11 at 17:32 PM


Darren Potter, Charlie MacDonald and Daniel Powell were on target as MK Dons booked their place in the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round after dumping out Barnet with a 3-1 victory at Underhill Stadium.

The Dons took the lead before the break when Potter netted his first Dons goal and MacDonald, now on seven in 13 games, looked to have sealed the victory with his close-range effort. Yet, the Cup tie that had at times disappointed came to life in the closing stages when former Dons striker Izale McLeod made it 2-1 with four minutes to play.

Any nerves quickly disappeared when Daniel Powell made it 3-1 in the 88th minute to send the Dons into the next round, where the Championship and Premier League teams enter the competition.

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Dons made four changes for the Cup encounter with Adam Smith, Gary MacKenzie, Shaun Williams and Angelo Balanta all starting in a strong line-up while youngsters George Williams and Bamidele Alli were both named on the bench.

A fairly even A fairly even opening was almost ruined by a poor back pass to David Martin which McLeod tried to hunt down but the Dons keeper arrived on time to clear. A moment later McLeod has another sniff at goal when MacKenzie missed a header which allowed the striker to curl a shot straight into the arms of Martin.

Barnet looked sharp on the ball and caught the Dons out on a number of occasions with their clever play. When Adam Smith was undone by Mark Marshall there was danger on the cards as the cross that followed took the slightest touch on MacKenzie but when Sam Deering tried to head home he planted the ball straight at Martin.

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In spells the Dons were playing some good football but were not finding the finishing touches to call Dean Brill into action. When Dean Bowditch was tripped by Jack Saville in the 15th minute it offered the Dons a chance at goal on the very edge of the box, but they could not take advantage of the opportunity.

The Dons appeared prone to odd concentration lapses which the Bees continually looked to capitalise on. A defensive error allowed Deering to race down the right wing with intent and when he was brought down by a scything challenge from MacKenzie the Underhill fans wanted a heavier punishment than the caution that followed.

For the first real time in the game Brill was called to make a save from Balanta's low drill.

Whereas Barnet had another chance to break the deadlock in the 28th minute when the ball was hassled off Ibehre and Marshall played the most accurate of diagonal crosses into the path of McLeod. Centreback MacKenzie was caught flat footed as McLeod collected the ball and with only the keeper to beat he dragged his shot wide much to the dismay of his team mates.

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There were worrying signs for the Dons when Martin, who had gone down struggling with a knock, was finding it difficult to kick and looked to be finding it difficult. Boss Robinson signalled the end of his game as, with an eye on the League campaign, he replaced his number one keeper with Ian McLoughlin replacing him.

An injury in the Barnet team brought a lull to the game, but immediately after the restart the Dons fired themselves in front when Potter picked up the ball on the edge of the area and with a neat finish he turned into the bottom corner to bag his first goal for the Club.

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The contest hadn't quite lived up to its billing although the Bees were certainly making the Dons dig deep and work hard for a place in the Third Round.

A succession of corners for the home side forced some last-ditch defending from the Dons, but McLoughlin, despite it being his first appearance for the Dons, looked confident in between the sticks when he was called upon.

Barnet were strong as they dominated play but failed to truly test McLoughlin with all their possession. Whereas when the Dons broke they looked dangerous, Potter, who had controlled play from midfield, played a superb ball to the left wing for Bowditch to whip a low cross into the box and had MacDonald been able to get the slightest touch on the ball it would have almost certainly been 2-0 to the visitors.

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The Dons needed a second to put the game to bed as Barnet always carried the threat of a goal from their ranks. Bowditch could have found it when Smith's throw-in was well held up by MacDonald and the former Yeovil striker collected the ball on the left, after cutting inside to a better position Bowditch failed to prevent his shot from rising over the bar.

Once again, another attack from the Dons started from playmaker Potter who threaded the ball through to Smith to take down to the byline and cut back for Williams. The utility man rattled his right-footed striker against the upright.

At the other end McLeod should have levelled the scores when Barnet broke on the counterattack but the striker, instead of passing to one of his two supporting team mates, fired his shot straight into MacKenzie.

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The Dons made the Bees pay for failing to take the chance when that man Potter, the star in a Dons shirt at Underhill, lofted the ball into the box for MacDonald to show his composure as he rounded Brill and tucked in the second of the afternoon.

The Cup still had drama to follow though as McLoughlin, having turned the ball away at his near post, could not believe his eyes when McLeod finished at the tightest of angles to give Barnet hope with four minutes to play.

However, the Dons showed their ruthless ability to kill off a game when Lewington released Powell down the right flank. The wide man turned on his raw pace before applying a thumping finish to send the Dons into the Third Round draw, although McLoughlin was called on once more for a superb stop.

Barnet: Brill, Senda, Hughes (c) (Holmes 45), Byrne (Baseya 63), Deering, Hector, Saville, Marshall, Kamdjo, McLeod, Downing.

Subs not used: Parkes, Uddin, Borrowdale, O'Brien, N'Diaye

Booked: Marshall, Hector, Deering, McLeod

Goal: McLeod 86

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin (McLoughlin 34); Smith, Flanagan, MacKenzie, Lewington (c); S Williams, Potter (Chicksen 81); Balanta, Ibehre, Bowditch; MacDonald (Powell 86).

Subs not used: Kouo-Doumbe, O'Shea, G Williams, Alli

Booked: MacKenzie, Flanagan, Ibehre

Goals: Potter 38, MacDonald 78, Powell 88

Referee: Robert Lewis

Att: 2608 (912 away)

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