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21 November 2017 Venue Stadium mk Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Preview: Southend United

All you need to know ahead of tonight's Sky Bet League One fixture...

21 November 2017

MK Dons will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five games when they take on Southend United at Stadium MK this evening.

The men from MK1 have won three of their last four matches in all competitions and will be hoping to maintain that good form tonight against the Shrimpers, as they look to continue their climb back up the Sky Bet League One table.

Robbie Neilson’s side currently sit five points adrift of the top six, in 13th place but would likely close that gap by taking three points from this evening’s contest.

A victory would also make it back-to-back home wins for the first time this season – the Dons beat Fleetwood Town 1-0 in their last Stadium MK outing.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Southend will arrive in Milton Keynes tonight with intentions of leapfrogging the Dons in the Sky Bet League One table.

Phil Brown’s outfit, who sit one place below the men from MK1 due to a slightly inferior goal difference, have lost just once in their last four league fixtures, although that defeat came in their most recent outing – a 1-0 reverse away at Portsmouth.

Away from home this season, the Shrimpers have won just twice and lost on six occasions. They have scored a respectable 10 goals on their travels but have conceded a league-high 21 times.

Kieran Agard scored twice to earn the Dons a point away at in-form Charlton Athletic.

The striker, introduced as a second-half substitute, scored a terrific header to cancel out Josh Magennis’ early finish.

Agard then netted a 91st-minute penalty, soon after Scott Golbourne’s own goal, which ensured his side of a share of the spoils at The Valley.

Brett Pitman’s second-half header saw Portsmouth beat Southend 1-0 at Fratton Park, as the Shrimpers were made to regret a missed penalty from Nile Ranger.

Blues were awarded the spot-kick right on half time after Christian Burgess handled a shot but Ranger sent his effort over the crossbar.

The home side were lifted by that miss and broke the deadlock nine minutes after the interval through their talisman Pitman, who flicked in a Matty Kennedy cross – a goal which was enough to see Portsmouth secure all three points.

Robbie Neilson: “[Southend] are a very experienced team and a team that has been together for quite a long time. They have got good physicality in the team – [Nile] Ranger, [Anton] Ferdinand and [Ryan] Leonard in the midfield. They have also got good movement up front from [Simon] Cox and [Theo] Robinson.

“I expect them to be round and about the play-offs this year so we know it is an important game for us. If we can get a result it will push us on and show us where we are in this league.”

Phil Brown: “[MK Dons] are a decent side and they’re a footballing team. They’ve changed since the Karl Robinson days and they’ve now gone a little bit more physical as opposed to technical, however they still try and play out from the back.

“They have a promising front four. Chuks Aneke plays as a number 10 – probably the biggest number 10 in the division – and on the left wing Ariyibi has a lot of pace, so they’ve got a threat. The deficiencies at the back we need to exploit with our passing and with our confidence in front of goal.”

The Dons are without three players due to suspension – George Williams, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Ed Upson will all miss tonight’s match after totalling five yellow cards for the season.

Striker Osman Sow (ankle) and midfielder Ousseynou Cissé (knee) both remain sidelined with their respective injuries.

Anthony Wordsworth is unavailable to Southend this evening but John White and Michael Turner are expected to be fit.

Jason Demetriou faces a late fitness test but could feature. Defenders Stephen Hendrie and Rob Kiernan are both out, as is Ben Coker.

Tim Robinson takes charge of tonight’s clash – the first time he has refereed the Dons since their Sky Bet Championship fixture with Fulham in April 2016.

The West Sussex official, who ran the rule over Southend’s clash with Rochdale earlier back in September, has produced 55 yellow and eight red cards in 20 games this season. One of those dismissals came in the Shrimpers’ goalless draw with Dale.

Robinson’s assistant referees tonight are Darren Blunden and Daniel Robathan while the fourth official is Brett Huxtable.

Dons wins: 7
Dons wins at Stadium MK: 3
Last Dons win: 2-1, 17 Apr 2017 (Roots Hall)
Biggest Dons win: 3-1, 20 Feb 2010 (Stadium MK)

Draws: 1
Draws at Stadium MK: 0
Last draw: 0-0, 26 Dec 2005 (Roots Hall)

Southend wins: 2
Southend wins at Stadium MK: 1
Last Southend win: 3-0, 22 Oct 2016 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Southend win: 3-0, 22 Oct 2016 (Stadium MK)

Result
Dons win – 7/5
Draw – 23/10
Southend win – 9/5

First goalscorer
Chuks Aneke – 5/1
Kieran Agard – 5/1
Ryan Seager – 6/1
No goalscorer – 10/1
Simon Cox – 11/2
Nile Ranger – 13/2
Theo Robinson – 7/1

Scorecast
Kieran Agard to score first and MK Dons to win 2-0 – 40/1

Sky Bet tip
Kieran Agard to score a brace – 10/1

*all odds correct at the time of writing

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

Supporters living outside the UK can watch the match LIVE with an iFollow MK Dons Season/Monthly Pass or by purchasing a Match Pass – click HERE for more information!

iFollow MK Dons will have also live commentary of the game for UK-based fans – 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 6pm.

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 Sky Bet League One clash with Southend United at Stadium MK are priced from just £10 adults and £5 under-18s. while under-12 Young Dons (Plus) members can still attend for FREE.

Supporters can upgrade to East Centre for a £5 premium, while a seat in clubRed is a £10 premium on the regular ticket price. Groups of 20 can book tickets at a discounted rate of £10 adults and £3 under-18s.

To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office or call 01908 622988. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.

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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-1 Southend United

Agard nets a second-half penalty to earn the Dons a point...

21 November 2017

MK Dons and Southend United shared the spoils at Stadium MK, with Kieran Agard on target once again from the penalty spot.

Josh Wright missed an early penalty for the Shrimpers, who then took a first-half lead through Stephen McLaughlin's terrific long-range effort.

However, the man who rescued a point at the weekend - Agard - once again showed his composure to convert a 76th-minute spot-kick in front of the Cowshed, making it five unbeaten for Robbie Neilson's side.

Neilson was forced into making changes to his starting XI, with trio George Williams, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Ed Upson all suspended. In came Callum Brittain, Joe Walsh and Conor McGrandles while there were also starts for Aidan Nesbitt and Agard, fresh from his brace off the bench against Charlton Athletic.

It took just three minutes for the game to have its first talking point - a penalty awarded following a free-kick delivered into the area, although there were few inside Stadium MK who seemed to know what the foul was for.

Nonetheless, Wright stepped up to take the spot kick but the forward - who missed a penalty at Stadium MK earlier this season while playing for Gillingham - was denied by a well-timed dive from Nicholls, which kept the scores level.

Despite its frantic start, the game failed to really get going in the opening quarter of an hour, with neither side able to sustain any real pressure on their opponents.

In fact, the next shot on target following the penalty didn’t arrive until the 20th minute when Nicholls stood tall and kept out an effort from Marc-Antoine Fortune at his near post.

Five minutes later, the Shrimpers threatened direct from a corner with Nicholls doing well to tip the delivery from Michael Kightly over the crossbar.

It was the visitors who looked the more likely to break the deadlock and in the 27th minute they did open the scoring - after a quick breakaway, McLaughlin received a pass from Fortune and fired in to the top left-hand corner of the net.

The Dons responded - Aneke came close to connecting with a cross from Nesbitt before Scott Golbourne had an effort blocked inside the area.

The aforementioned chances aside, there was very little in the way of action in the final thirds for much of the first 45.

In the closing stages of the half, a last-ditch tackle deep inside the area prevented Gboly Ariyibi from what would have been a golden opportunity to equalise.

An even better chance on goal fell the way of McLaughlin in stoppage-time but, after latching onto a through-ball, the Shrimpers man couldn’t beat Nicholls, who made a terrific one-on-one save to keep the deficit at a single goal going into the break.

Neilson introduced Peter Pawlett at the the interval, hoping the summer recruit would provide a spark for his side.

His teammates Aneke threatened with a strike on 55 minutes but the shot was blocked by a defender. The powerful forward then headed over from Pawlett’s free-kick, moments after Southend forced Nicholls into a save from a free-kick of their own.

The Dons’ best chance of the match to date came in the 65th minute when Gilbey saw a low drive deflected just wide of the left post from the edge of the area. From the resulting corner, Nesbitt drilled wide with a strike of his own.

The home supporters inside Stadium MK continued to urge their side on and with a quarter of an hour remaining they were handed a lifeline after Mark Oxley crashed into Aneke inside the area, with the ball already way past the goalkeeper.

Agard stepped up to take the spot kick and, just like he did at the weekend, confidently fired home his third goal in two games to draw the men from MK1 level.

After getting themselves back into the game, there were hearts in Dons’ mouths on 88 minutes when Simon Cox rattled the crossbar with a header. Michael Turner then hit the woodwork with a headed effort of his own soon after.

Substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante sent a 25-yard shot wide early in stoppage-time with the Dons' final chance of the contest.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain, Wootton, Walsh, Golbourne; Ariyibi (Pawlett 46), McGrandles (Thomas-Asante 84), Gilbey, Nesbitt; Aneke; Agard.

Unused subs: Sietsma, Lewington, Seager, Muirhead, Nombe.

Goal: Agard (76 pen)

Booked: Gilbey, Pawlett

Attendance: 7,521 (524 away)

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