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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-0
28 October 2017 Venue The Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Preview: Bristol Rovers

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

28 October 2017

MK Dons will be looking to return to winning ways when they take on Bristol Rovers this afternoon

Robbie Neilson’s men are without a victory in their last four matches and were held to two frustrating draws at Stadium MK last week. Still, the Dons remain just four points adrift of the play-off places and could close that gap with a success in Bristol.

In terms of their away form, Neilson’s side go into the match in relatively good shape – they have won three of their last five games on the road, which is the fifth-best record in Sky Bet League One over that period of time.

Can they make it four from six?

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Bristol Rovers will be out to end a three-game losing streak this afternoon.

Prior to the run, the Pirates had won three out of four games, including a stunning 6-0 thrashing of Northampton Town away from home, but since that win at Sixfields Stadium they have failed to find the net on three occasions and conceded six times.

Darrell Clarke’s side, who sit 16th in the Sky Bet League One table, have been strong at home this season. They currently have four wins to their name at the Memorial Stadium and have scored 13 goals – one of the better records in the division.

The Dons fought back from 4-2 down to earn themselves a share of the spoils in a thrilling match at Stadium MK last weekend.

Craig Davies initially opened the scoring just seven minutes in but the Dons responded shortly afterwards through Alex Gilbey’s first goal for the Club. Oldham, however, went into the half-time break 3-1 up courtesy of Eoin Doyle’s finish and an own goal from Joe Walsh.

Robbie Neilson’s men again responded – Ed Upson reducing the deficit direct from a free-kick – before the Latics again re-established their two-goal lead.

The men from MK1 weren’t to be denied, though, and goals from Aidan Nesbitt and Ed Upson in the final 10 minutes of regulation time saw them leave with a point.

Bristol Rovers suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat away at Rochdale in their Sky Bet League One encounter last Saturday.

The only goal of the game came seven minutes in when Dale captain Ian Henderson set Brad Inman free down the left-hand channel. He drew Rovers keeper Adam Smith off his line before clipping a ball for Matt Done to have the simplest of close-range finishes.

Rovers almost equalised on 29 minutes when a hashed clearance from Joe Rafferty dropped invitingly for Ollie Clarke but he sent his volleyed effort over the crossbar.

After the break, Clarke sliced wide when presented with an opening 10 yards from goal but neither he nor his teammates could find a leveller, making it three straight defeats to the Bristol club.

Robbie Neilson: “It's still very tight (in Sky Bet League One) at the moment. If we pick up two or three wins then we'll be in the play-offs and then we can kick on from there.

“We need to get back to winning ways. I have huge faith in the players and there are things I can see they're doing really, really well. We hope we're through that patch and now we can start building some momentum.”

Darrell Clarke: “They had a really entertaining game (last) weekend. They’ve got a good mixture of players – they have got players who can hurt you and they’ve got some experienced players too.

“Like ourselves, they are searching for more consistency. We’ve just got to play the game full of confidence. Our record at home over the last three years has been outstanding and we’ll look to continue that on Saturday.”

The Dons remain without striker Osman Sow, who looks set to be sidelined for six weeks with an ankle injury suffered in the 1-1 draw with Walsall.

Peter Pawlett is also unavailable today but the midfielder has returned to light training.

Bristol Rovers striker Ellis Harrison is suspended for this afternoon's clash after picking up his fifth booking of the season last weekend.

The Pirates will, though, be hoping to have forward Billy Bodin (hamstring) available.

Michael Salisbury will referee today's fixture at the Memorial Stadium.

The official, in his second year in the EFL, took charge of the Dons’ 2-0 victory over Bury back in September. That day he produced five yellow cards.

Salisbury, who has never before refereed Bristol Rovers, has made 27 bookings this campaign but shown just one red card – that sending off did, however, come in his last appointment.

The assistant referees are Robert Dabbs and Louis Marks while the fourth official is Adam Penwell.

Dons wins: 6
Dons wins at the Memorial Stadium: 2
Last Dons win: 2-1, 2 Feb 2011 (Memorial Stadium)
Biggest Dons win: 2-0, 19 Aug 2006 (National Hockey Stadium); 2-0, 1 Jan 2011 (Stadium MK)

Draws: 3
Draws at the Memorial Stadium: 2
Last draw: 0-0, 19 Nov 2016 (Memorial Stadium)

Bristol Rovers wins: 1
Bristol Rovers wins at the Memorial Stadium: 1
Last Bristol Rovers win: 1-0, 5 Apr 2010 (Memorial Stadium)
Biggest Bristol Rovers win: 1-0, 5 Apr 2010 (Memorial Stadium)

Result
Dons win – 13/5
Draw – 13/5
Bristol Rovers win – EVENS

First goalscorer
Chuks Aneke – 6/1
Kieran Agard – 6/1
Gboly Ariyibi – 7/1
No goalscorer – 12/1
Billy Bodin – 4/1
Rory Gaffney – 4/1
Dom Telford – 11/2

Scorecast
Chuks Aneke to score first and MK Dons to win 1-0 – 45/1

Sky Bet tip
Six or more goals to be scored – 9/1

*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 1pm.

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 today's clash with Bristol Rovers can now only be bought, cash only, at the Memorial Stadium.

Tickets are are priced from £18 adults, £14 under-21s and £10 seniors/£8 under-16s when bought in advance of matchday. Supporters have the option to purchase in a standing area or a seated section.

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Match Reports

Report: Bristol Rovers 2-0 MK Dons

Robbie Neilson's men suffer defeat in Bristol...

28 October 2017

Second-half goals from Tom Nichols and Rory Gaffney saw MK Dons fall to a 2-0 defeat away at Bristol Rovers.

After an evenly-contested first half at the Memorial Stadium, Nichols pounced on a loose pass to open the scoring for the home side. Gaffney then sealed the points for Rovers with a left-footed finish from the edge of the area.

The result dropped the men from MK1 one place to 16th in the Sky Bet League One table, six points adrift of the play-off places.

Dons boss Robbie Neilson made three changes to the side which began the 4-4 draw with Oldham Athletic, with George Williams, Aaron Tshibola and Gboly Ariyibi all coming into the side.

Hosts Bristol Rovers paid a fitting tribute to their former chairman Geoff Dunford prior to kick-off and urged on by a vocal home support, they made a positive start to the game.

Scott Wootton blocked an effort from Gaffney in the third minute before Lee Nicholls watched Nichols’ 20-yard strike fly past his right post. Nicholls then got down well to palm away a deflected effort from striker Nichols on 10 minutes.

The Dons then threatened - Chuks Aneke, after some excellent hold-up play, was almost able to play in an on-rushing Tshibola. A similar chance occurred five minutes later but Ed Upson’s through pass for Alex Gilbey had just a little too much on it.

In the 21st minute, Upson had a curling shot blocked by a defender - the opportunity arose after a surging into the area from Ariyibi which resulted in a Dons corner. Aneke was then denied by a sliding tackle from Tom Lockyer, after he latched onto Upson’s pass into the area.

On the half-hour mark another Ariyibi run saw the Dons earn themselves a corner. From that set-piece, the Dons’ number 7 shot over with an acrobatic, improvised effort.

Soon after that Ariyibi chance, Tshibola had a right-footed volley deflected into the arms of Adam Smith. On the break at the other end, Lee Brown produced a save out of Nicholls at his near post.

An evenly-contested first half ended with Rovers in the ascendancy. Former Dons loanee Chris Lines curled a free-kick over the bar in the 41st minute before Nicholls and Joe Walsh combined to keep out efforts from Liam Sercombe and Gaffney - Nicholls parried away the initial strike from Sercombe and then Walsh cleared off the line from Gaffney’s shot.

The second half began with Williams forcing a save out of Adam Smith courtesy of a low drive from distance.

Nelson’s men then had Nicholls to thank for the keeping the scores goalless on 55 minutes after he did brilliantly to keep out Gaffney’s powerful header - the Dons’ No. 1 got a strong right hand to the effort which then cannoned off the crossbar and was cleared away by Golbourne.

Gaffney had yet another opportunity to break the deadlock near the hour mark but his first-time shot from Sercombe’s free-kick went into the side netting.

Rovers’ dominant start to the second period eventually resulted in them taking the lead on 65 minutes and, again, it came in fortuitous circumstances. Upon, heading it back to his goalkeeper, didn’t spot the lurking Nichols, who pounced on the pass and took advantage of the error by finishing into the bottom left corner. 1-0.

Neilson introduced Kieran Agard and Aidan Nesbitt in the 71st minute, hoping they would inspire his side to complete a turnaround. That task, however, was made all the more difficult just 60 seconds later when Gaffney was allowed to turn on the edge of the area and rifle a left-footed shot into the corner. 2-0.

Aneke bent a shot wide almost immediately from kick-off as the Dons looked to salvage something from the contest. However, they continued to be frustrated in their efforts to do so and were unable, in the final 15 minutes, to prevent a disappointing away defeat.

Starting XI (3-5-1-1): Nicholls; Williams, Wootton, Walsh; Brittain (Agard 71), Tshibola (Nesbitt 71), Upson, Gilbey, Golbourne; Ariyibi (Seager 80); Aneke.

Unused subs: Sietsma, Cisse, McGrandles, Nombe.

Booked: Upson

Attendance: 8,701 (225 away)

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