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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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08 August 2017 Venue The New Lawn Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Preview: Forest Green Rovers

All you need to know ahead of tonight's Carabao Cup tie...

8 August 2017

MK Dons begin their Carabao Cup journey tonight as they travel to Forest Green Rovers.

Robbie Neilson’s side kicked-off their 2017/18 campaign on Saturday against Wigan Athletic but were unable to secure an opening day success, losing 1-0 at Stadium MK courtesy of Nick Powell’s first-half finish.

They will therefore be out to claim that first triumph tonight in Gloucestershire and, in the process, progress through to the second round of the EFL’s cup competition.

The men from MK1 have made it past the opening stage in each of the past seven seasons and Neilson and his team will hope to extend that record tonight on their first-ever visit to The New Lawn.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Tonight sees Forest Green Rovers make their Carabao Cup debut, having reached the EFL for the first time in the club’s history.

Mark Cooper’s side were promoted to Sky Bet League Two from the National League via the play-offs last season – after a third-place finish in the league table, the Gloucestershire outfit defeated Tranmere Rovers in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Rovers do boast plenty of EFL experience in their playing squad, including the likes of Scott Laird, Liam Noble and former Don Keanu Marsh-Brown. They’ll no doubt lean on that experience as they look to make a winning start in their inaugural Carabao Cup fixture.

The Dons fell to their first opening day defeat since 2008 as they were beaten 1-0 by Wigan Athletic at Stadium MK.

The Latics the lead through Nick Powell on 38 minutes but the away side were reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards when defender Callum Elder was high and late on George Williams.

As the Dons pushed to make their man advantage count they too were on the receiving end of a red card – Scott Wootton the player dismissed for denying Michael Jacobs what was judged a clear goalscoring opportunity.

That didn’t stop the men from MK1 pushing for an equaliser although they weren’t able to find the goal which would have earned them a share of the spoils.

Forest Green began life in Sky Bet League Two with a 2-2 draw at home to Barnet.

Striker Christian Doidge headed home a Charlie Cooper corner to give his side a 41st-minute lead with their first EFL goal before the same man doubled the advantage with a lob over Bees keeper James Stephens two minutes later.

Barnet, though, responded in the second half and they halved the deficit in the 58th minute when Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro bundled in after Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s shot deflected off Bradley Collins in the Rovers’ goal.

Then, just after the hour-mark, Campbell-Ryce then turned from provider to goalscorer as they squeezed a low effort into the bottom right-corner from 20 yards out to take two points off the EFL newcomers.

Robbie Neilson: “They had a good 2-2 draw with Barnet at the weekend. We watched the game, as we’ve watched a few of their games, and they pass the ball really well. They play a different formation where they try to play it through.”

The Dons are without Scott Wootton, who received a one-match ban for the red card he received in Saturday’s opener with Wigan Athletic.

Wootton joins fellow centre-back Joe Walsh on the unavailable list. Walsh serves the final game of his three-match suspension tonight – a suspension which stretches back to last season.

In terms of injuries, Peter Pawlett (ankle knock) will be monitored but otherwise Robbie Neilson has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Forest Green’s summer signing, Alex Iacoviti, is sidelined after suffering an injury during pre-season.

The Crystal Palace loanee is the only injury concern for Rovers, who are not expected to make too many changes from the team who drew with Barnet on Saturday.

Lee Swabey will be the man in the middle for tonight’s Carabao Cup tie at The New Lawn.

Swabey was involved on opening weekend, refereeing the Sky Bet League One fixture between Southend United and Blackburn Rovers – the Devon official booked three players in the clash at Roots Hall.

He last took charge of the Dons back in December 2016 for the Checkatrade Trophy tie at Yeovil Town. That night he produced four yellow cards and one red card to midfielder Samir Carruthers.

Swabey also brandished a red card in his most recent Forest Green fixture. In a National League play-off tie in April 2015, he sent off Bristol Rovers striker Elliot Harrison and booked three Forest Green players.

Tonight’s assistant are Dean Treleaven and Kevin Howick while the fourth official is Robert Dabbs.

No previous meetings.

Result after 90 minutes
Dons win – 13/8
Draw – 23/10
Forest Green – 13/8

To progress
Dons – 5/6
Forest Green – 5/6

How will the tie be decided
Dons in extra-time – 10/1
Forest Green in extra-time – 11/1
Dons on penalties – 11/1
Forest Green in extra-time – 11/1

First goalscorer
Kieran Agard – 4/1
Ryan Seager – 13/2
Robbie Muirhead – 13/2
Gboly Ariyibi – 10/1
No goalscorer – 9/1
Christian Doidge – 5/1
Keanu Marsh-Brown – 13/2
Luke James – 7/1
Omar Bugiel – 7/1

*all odds correct at the time of writing

Create a Sky Bet account today and enjoy some fantastic offers – click here to register!

iFollow MK Dons will have live commentary of tonight’s match – click here to sign up for as little as £4.49 for a month or £45 for the season!

Supporters can also stay in touch with the Dons via mkdons.com’s Match Centre, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from 7.15pm.

There will also be full coverage on the Club’s social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat!

A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.

Tickets for tonight's Carabao Cup tie with Forest Green Rovers are priced at just £12 adults, £10 seniors, £7 under-22s and £5 under-16s while under-11s go FREE*.

Tickets can now only be bought at The New Lawn ahead of kick-off, cash only.

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Match Reports

Report: Forest Green Rovers 0-1 MK Dons

Dons progress thanks to Gboly Ariyibi's stunning strike...

8 August 2017

A stunning goal from Gboly Ariyibi saw MK Dons progress in the Carabao Cup.

The summer recruit struck during the second period of extra-time as the men from MK1 finally found a way past a competitive Forest Green Rovers side.

Robbie Neilson’s men will discover their second-round opponents in Thursday evening's draw.

The 37-year-old promised a strong side and that’s what he named – just three changes from the season opener at Stadium MK on Saturday, one of which was enforced. Scott Wootton (suspended) was replaced by Paul Downing while Callum Brittain and Robbie Muirhead came in for Dean Lewington and Kieran Agard.

The Dons were in control from the first whistle and Ryan Seager almost caught out keeper Sam Russell, who then could only watch as Ariyibi’s shot deflected just past his left-hand post on six minutes.

Forest Green gradually grew into after a strong start from the men from MK1, but captain-for-the-night George Williams & Co denied any opportunities and created one of their own on 14 minutes when Seager headed over a difficult chance.

Shortly afterwards, Ousseynou Cissé saw a powerful 25-yard deflect behind for a corner which was recycled and Ariyibi crossed for Downing, who shot straight at Russell from close range.    

The majority of the game continued to be played in the hosts’ half and a slick passing move involving the impressive Ed Upson set-up Ariyibi but he couldn’t pick out a team-mate.

Mark Cooper’s men once again came back into things without creating anything while, at the other end, a good chance fell to Tshibola but he fired off target from 20 yards.

Christian Doidge registered Rovers’ first shot on target in the final real action of the opening 45 – one which saw the Dons enjoy more chances but the hosts were making it difficult.

The men from MK1 made a quick start to the second half, controlling possession and enjoying far greater territorial advantage.

With 52 minutes on the clock, Upson curled a free-kick not too far over the top from 20 yards while, at the other end, Downing put his body on the line to block a fierce drive.

Downing was also proving a threat in attack but he headed off target from a corner prior to Doidge firing wide when well placed after meeting Luke James’ cross.

Tshibola came within inches of a superb opener just past the hour mark, receiving the ball 25 yards out before curling an effort past the right-hand post.

The Dons began to take a real stranglehold of proceedings and substitute Kieran Agard directed Williams’ off target before Upson fired narrowly over the bar from 25 yards – the latter would have been a stunning goal.

Chances kept coming for Neilson’s side as Agard turned and shot wide, but a rare foray forward from Rovers almost saw them take the lead although Lee Nicholls was up to the task to gather a header from Shamir Mullings, who then forced another save following a corner.

Agard was looking equally lively at the other end and he got in behind before sending an effort narrowly over the opposite top corner while, at the other end, Nicholls tipped over Liam Noble’s dipping strike.

Sam Nombe came on for his first senior appearance with 10 minutes remaining and the youngster made an impression almost immediately, chasing back into his own half to win the ball for the Dons.

Ariyibi had flashed throughout and he forced Russell into a save as the game ticked towards the end of the 90 minutes – Agard wasn’t able to beat his marker to the rebound.

Neither side could find the net in normal time so the game went into extra-time but the Dons nearly did on 97 minutes but Brittain over-hit his cross after being picked out perfectly by Upson.

Only the bar denied Rovers and substitute Scott Laird as he connected well with a left-wing corner at the end of the first half of extra-time. A lucky escape for the Dons.

They capitalised fully on 110 minutes in when Ariyibi cut inside and curled a stunning effort into the top right-hand corner – a goal worthy of winning any game.

There was still time for Nicholls to pull off a superb double save in the closing stages to deny Keanu Marsh-Brown and Lee Collins, which proved crucial as the Dons made it through to the second round.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain (Lewington 105), Downing, Ebanks-Landell, Williams (c); Cissé; Ariyibi, Tshibola, Upson, Muirhead (Agard 63); Seager (Nombe 80).

Unused subs: Sietsma, McGrandles, Rasulo, Thomas-Asante.

Goal: Ariyibi (110).

Bookings: Cissé, Ebanks-Landell, Williams, Downing.

Attendance: 1,608 (341 Dons fans).

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