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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 05 Apr 14 at 16:45 PM

Coventry City 1 MK Dons 2

A stunning volley from 17-year-old Dele Alli had Robinson's men in the driving seat before half-time although they were later pegged back by a fine Carl Baker goal.

The Dons, though, secured the three points courtesy of Izale McLeod, who lobbed Sky Blues 'keeper Joe Murphy with only his second touch after coming on as a 66th minute substitute and goalkeeper David Martin, who saved Baker's late penalty.

Manager Robinson named an unchanged starting XI for the short trip to Sixfields, with young loanees Matty Kennedy and James Loveridge both keeping their places in midfield and attack respectively.

Alli and Alan Smith also continued as the side’s central midfield pairing and it was the younger of the two that won the free-kick which led to the game’s first chance, six minutes in.

Dean Lewington was the man trusted to take the set-piece in the absence of Ben Reeves and his left-footed shot whistled just past Joe Murphy’s upright.

Moments later, winger Kennedy troubled City with a low shot which was blocked by feet of the City ‘keeper but the Dons’ bright start was soon overshadowed by the sight of Dean Bowditch limping down the tunnel after just ten minutes.

Robinson brought youngster Giorgio Rasulo on in place of Bowditch, who looked understandably upset as he made his way off the field. It was later revealed that the winger suffered a hamstring injury and not a re-occurrence of the groin problem which has troubled him all season.

The men from MK1 continued to dominate after the change and they again went close in the 22nd minute through Loveridge, whose curling effort from 25-yards produced a fine save out of Murphy, scrambling back towards his goal.

It took until mid-way through the first half for the Sky Blues to venture into the Dons penalty area and, when they did, full-back Jordan Clarke fired wide of the left post from a tight angle.

In the 25th minute, Alli shot straight at Murphy as he looked to cap his excellent start with a goal before Mark Marshall blasted wide of the target after receiving a quickly taken free-kick.

Baldock then denied Wilson what would have been a certain goal with a clearance off the line, after the City striker had managed to squeeze a low shot past Spence and then Martin from inside the area.

With the game in their control, all the Dons needed was that touch of quality in front of goal in order to break the deadlock and in the 39th minute they found it courtesy of one of the strikes of the season from young Alli.

The England Under-18 international, who hadn’t found the back of the net since scoring his hat-trick goal away at Notts County in March, strutted up to a headed clearance and, from 25-yards out, rifled an unstoppable volley beyond Murphy and into the top corner.

Despite the Dons beginning the second period in the same dominant manner, it was Coventry who had the first two chances of the half; first through Nathan Ecclestion who hit a weak effort straight at Martin and then a fierce strike from Marshall which produced an even better diving save out of the Dons’ number 1.

However, Coventry did eventually draw level in the 57th minute through their captain Baker, who added his name to the scoresheet with a fine strike which beat Martin and nestled in the bottom right-hand corner.

The Sky Blues then went close to doubling their lead just two minutes later after Wilson set Eccleston free inside the Dons box but, after cutting inside of Antony Kay, the Blackpool loanee had his effort blocked bravely by Smith.

Just after the hour mark, Robinson introduced Izale McLeod in place of Loveridge, who moments earlier had shot into the side netting, and with only his second touch after entering the contest, McLeod fired the Dons back in-front.

Sneaking in-behind the City defence and latching onto Rasulo’s lofted ball, McLeod controlled the ball on his chest before lifting a delightful chip over Murphy and into the empty net.

It was nothing less than the Dons deserved for their display but in the 71st minute they looked set to surrender their advantage for a second time after referee Graham Horwood adjudged Kay to have fouled Wilson inside the box.

City’s Baker stepped up in search of his second goal of the afternoon but was denied by Martin, who palmed away his effort from 12-yards before denying Wilson on the follow-up.

With his final change Robinson handed Mark Randall his ‘second debut’ in place of Rasulo, who impressed in the number 10 role despite having been thrown on very early in the game.

Randall, who re-joined the Club on a short-term deal back in March, then had a shot deflected into the arms of Murphy with his one of his first touches on 84 minutes.

That chance on goal was the last either side had of any real note with the Dons able to see out another away victory and a victory which sends them back up to 7th in the Sky Bet League 1 table.

Coventry City: Murphy, Webster, Fleck, Baker (c), Eccleston (Delfounso 70), Prutton (Robinson 80), Seaborne, Willis, Wilson, Clarke, Marshall (McGeouch 76).

Subs not used: Burge (GK), Christie, Adams, Thomas.

Goal: Baker 57

Booked: Wilson

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Baldock, Spence, Kay, Lewington (c); Smith, Alli; Kennedy, Bowditch (Rasulo 12 (Randall 80)), Powell; Loveridge (McLeod 66).

Subs not used: Burns (GK), Galloway.

Goals: Alli 39, McLeod 66

Referee: G Horwood (Bedfordshire)

Attendance: 2,782 (1,051 away)

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