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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

1-2
04 August 2018 Venue Boundary Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Preview: Oldham Athletic

All you need to know ahead of day's season opener...

4 August 2018

Today marks the start of a new era for MK Dons as Paul Tisdale takes charge of his first competitive game as manager.

Tisdale, who took over the reins at MK Dons back in May, will lead the team out at SportsDirect.com Park this afternoon as they begin their 2018/19 Sky Bet League Two campaign against Oldham Athletic. Kick-off is at 3pm.

MK Dons boast a strong record on opening day having lost just one of their last nine curtain-raisers - last season’s 1-0 reverse to Stadium MK. Four of the five seasons prior to 2017/18, MK Dons came out on top in their opening match including a 2-0 victory over Oldham back in August 2012.

A similar result today would provide Tisdale and his new-look side with the perfect start to life back in the fourth tier.

Oldham were relegated from Sky Bet League One with MK Dons last season and will similarly hold aspirations of returning to the division at the earliest possible opportunity.

They too have a new man in charge - former Latics striker Frankie Bunn who, at the age of 55, is beginning his first stint as a full-time manager - and he has been busy during the transfer window.

The likes of Jose Baxter and Andy Taylor have arrived from Everton and Blackpool, respectively while strikers Chris O’Grady, Sam Surridge and Ishmael Miller are more recent additions to the squad. Those signings have helped to replace the players who have left over the summer - Craig Davies, Paul Green, Ollie Banks and Aaron Amadi-Holloway to name a few.

During pre-season, Oldham enjoyed mixed fortunes with their standout result a respectable 2-2 draw at home to Nottingham Forest. Their only defeat came in their final friendly - a 3-0 reverse to Preston North End - but their first three games, against non-league opposition, all resulted in victories.

The Dons wrapped-up their pre-season schedule with a deserved 1-0 win over Oxford United at Stadium MK.

Kieran Agard grabbed the decisive goal 20 minutes into the second half to ensure Paul Tisdale’s side headed into Gameweek One on a positive note.

Oldham were beaten 3-0 by Preston North End in their final pre-season match-up at SportsDirect.com Park.

The Latics impressed during the first 45 minutes but three second-half strikes saw the Sky Bet Championship run out winners.

Paul Tisdale: “I'd be lying if I said I knew everything about them - they're in transition too, coming down like us, and it’s one of those times of year where you don't get the full picture on a team because you don't get to see behind the scenes.

“Therefore, it’s important for us to establish our own patterns on the game as soon as possible.”

Frankie Bunn: "There are smiles around the place again and everyone’s working hard towards our goal. So things are looking good.”

"We want to get out of this league as quickly as possible. Hopefully we get off to a terrific start. There is a lot of optimism around the place and the players are bright and bubbly. Hopefully that’ll put us in good standing.”

Paul Tisdale provided a positive injury update in his Thursday press conference, ruling only three players out of this afternoon's opener - forwards Osman Sow, Brandon Thomas-Asante and Sam Nombe.

Last season’s top goalscorer Chuks Aneke is back in training and Tisdale didn’t dismiss the possibility that he could be involved today while he also confirmed that Callum Brittain, Alex Gilbey and Joe Walsh are all fit and in contention to feature at Oldham.

Oldham midfielder Jose Baxter is set to feature this afternoon despite missing a large portion of pre-season with an injury. He is expected to play alongside new arrivals Ishmael Miller, Chris O’Grady, Andy Taylor, Giles Coke and Sam Surridge in the squad.

The only absentee for the Latics is midfielder Ousmane Fane, who is sidelined with a broken fibula and dislocated ankle.

EFL debutant Neil Hair will take charge of today's affair in Greater Manchester.

Hair has spent the past two seasons in the National League and last season refereed 26 games, including the National League Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium where he produced a red card after just one minute. In total, he made 81 bookings and sent three players off in 2017/18.

Despite never officiating in the EFL before, Hair has come across Paul Tisdale once before. Back in November 2017, he was the man in the middle for Exeter City’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Heybridge Swifts.

Hair’s assistant referees are David Benton and Danny Gratton while the fourth official is Paul Hodskinson.

MK Dons wins: 11
MK Dons wins at SportsDirect.com Park: 5
Last MK Dons win: 1-0, 7 Feb 2017 (Stadium MK)
Biggest MK Dons win: 7-0, 20 Dec 2014 (Stadium MK)

Draws: 4
Draws at SportsDirect.com Park: 0
Last draw: 4-4, 21 Oct 2017 (Stadium MK)

Oldham wins: 7
Oldham wins at SportsDirect.com Park: 6
Last Oldham win: 1-0, 13 Feb 2018 (SportsDirect.com Park)
Biggest Oldham win: 3-0, 28 Aug 2004 (SportsDirect.com Park)

Result
MK Dons win: 13/8
Draw: 12/5
Oldham win: 13/8

First goalscorer
Chuks Aneke: 9/2
Kieran Agard: 11/2
Robbie Muirhead: 13/2
Robbie Simpson: 13/2

Scorecast
Alex Gilbey to score first and MK Dons to win 2-0: 105/1

Tip
MK Dons to win 2-0: 11/1

MK Dons and Oldham Athletic have faced each other on opening day before. That afternoon, in August 2012, a then-Karl Robinson led team won 2-0.

Tickets are priced at £22 adults, £10 seniors, students and under-21s and £7 under-18s, and can now only be bought at SportsDirect.com Park.

Supporters living outside the UK and Ireland 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 and Ireland-based fans – click HERE to sign up for as little as £4.49 for a month.

Supporters can also stay in touch with the action 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 along with full reaction from Paul Tisdale and a player. Highlights will be available to view from midnight.

***
Elsewhere in Sky Bet League Two...
Bury v Yeovil Town
Cheltenham Town v Crawley Town
Crewe Alexandra v Morecambe
Exeter City v Carlisle United
Grimsby Town v Forest Green Rovers
Mansfield Town v Newport County
Northampton Town v Lincoln City
Notts County v Colchester United
Port Vale v Cambridge United
Stevenage v Tranmere Rovers
Swindon Town v Macclesfield Town

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Match Reports

Report: Oldham Athletic 1-2 MK Dons

Paul Tisdale begins life as MK Dons manager with a win...

4 August 2018

MK Dons began the 2018/19 season with 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park.

Kieran Agard struck a ninth-minute penalty to put Paul Tisdale’s side ahead before the striker turned provider for Ryan Harley to double the lead.

Oldham responded through Dan Gardner but MK Dons battled through to the final whistle to secure three points, despite losing three players to injury and playing the final few minutes with 10 men as a result.

Tisdale’s first starting XI as MK Dons manager included two debutants - Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jordan Houghton - as well as Alex Gilbey, who feels like a new signing this season having been sidelined since January due to injury.

On the bench, there was a place for Chuks Aneke, who returned to full training earlier this week, and Joe Walsh who, similarly to Gilbey, was back in the squad after seven months out.

Oldham worked their way into the area inside the opening 30 seconds but Ishamel Miller’s pass was intercepted by Harley. He quickly sent Peter Pawlett away down the left and the MK Dons number 11 drove towards the byline before sending in a cross - one aimed towards Kieran Agard - that was claimed by Daniel Iversen.

Referee Neil Hair, however, spotted a foul on Pawlett and awarded MK Dons a free-kick. Lewington delivered the set-piece over to Moore-Taylor but he headed above the crossbar with the game’s first shot.

A foul by Moore-Taylor on five minutes presented the Latics with a chance to test Lee Nicholls from a free-kick of their own. Instead of going for goal, the hosts tried a clever routine and that was quickly snuffed out by the men in red and gold.

Agard, playing up front on his own, won his side a corner in the seventh minute and from that set-piece, MK Dons were awarded a penalty courtesy of blatant pull on the shirt of George Williams.

Agard stepped up to take the spot kick and confidently fired the ball past Iversen to give Tisdale’s side an early lead. 0-1.

MK Dons earned themselves another corner soon after but weren’t able to create a scoring chance. Oldham then responded by winning their own corner but that was dealt with by Moore-Taylor.

It was a positive opening quarter of an hour for Tisdale but he suffered a blow when Pawlett was forced off with an injury. The midfielder appeared to pick up the knock early in the game and wasn’t able to shake it off, so was replaced by Robbie Simpson.

The visitors didn’t let the substitute affect them and they went straight on the attack, producing a chance for Conor McGrandles, who had made his way into the area. The midfielder, though, saw his shot blocked.

Nicholls was tested for the first time 60 seconds later when Dan Gardner sent a fierce drive his way from 20-yards out - the MK Dons goalkeeper stepped across his line to claim the effort.

Moore-Taylor then produced a stunning bit of defending to keep the hosts out - first, blocking a shot, then nicking the ball off a striker’s toes and then showing great strength to win possession inside the box.

Those defensive passages proved crucial as just a minute later, MK Dons doubled their lead through Harley.

The move started with Gilbey down the right, who spotted the run of Agard inside of him and picked him out with a neat pass. Agard, unselfishly, sent a ball across goal and Harley was there at the far post to convert - his first goal since returning to the Club. 0-2.

Substitute Simpson had a decent chance to make it three-nil in the 25th minute but he headed wide from Lewington’s in-swinging cross. Oldham responded through Sam Surridge, who fired over from 25-yards a minute after.

Nicholls was then forced into a save to keep out Giles Coke’s curling shot before his midfield teammate Rob Hunt sent one over from similar range.

With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Simpson met a cross from Brittain but couldn’t direct his header on target. Agard then got behind the Oldham backline but his left-footed effort was blocked by a defender. Harley followed up but shot wide from the edge of the D.

Oldham pulled a goal back five minutes before half-time when MK Dons failed to deal with a ball on the edge of the area and Gardner pounced to fire a fierce right-footed strike past Nicholls. 1-2.

MK Dons tried to restore their two-goal advantage before half-time but Williams wasn’t able to send his volley towards goal from a Lewington free-kick.

In stoppage time, a vital touch from Williams inside his six-yard box prevented anybody in an Oldham shirt connecting with Miller’s low cross. Williams then got in the way of another drive from goalscorer Gardner.

MK Dons saw their lead through to the break and within 90 seconds of the re-start they almost extended it but McGrandles couldn’t beat Iversen after running free onto Agard’s cross. Credit to the Oldham goalkeeper for his save.

Ten minutes later, Latics substitute Gevaro Nepomuceno sent a left-footed effort wide of Nicholls’ left-hand post. It then took a crucial block from Williams to deny Surridge, who did well to meet Chris O’Grady’s cross, before Nepomuceno threatened once again with a drive which sailed just over.

Williams was at it again in the 64th minute, sweeping across well to prevent Surridge finding a wide open O’Grady on a Latics counter.

Tisdale made his second substitution shortly afterwards, replacing Gilbey with Walsh as MK Dons moved to a back five. The Welshmen was straight into the action, booked almost immediately for a foul on Oldham striker Surridge.

Walsh later made amends with a crucial clearance from an Oldham corner which was followed by a surging run forward - a run which resulted in a free-kick to MK Dons. Moore-Taylor went close to meeting the delivery from Lewington but the Latics cleared.

On 78 minutes, MK Dons almosted added a third goal following a quick breakaway forwards. Harley drove to the edge of the box and timed his lay-off for Brittain perfectly but the defender’s first-time strike was well saved by Iversen.

Nicholls didn’t have too much to do in the second half but he was there when called upon in the 83rd minute to gather a header from Surridge. MK Dons were then put under real pressure by their hosts but managed to weather the storm.

Simpson was forced off with five minutes to play due to cramp which saw Ousseynou Cisse enter the field to help MK Dons see out the remainder of the contest.

Oldham kept pushing and Moore-Taylor denied Surridge in the 88nd minute with a stunning slide tackle.

Four minutes of stoppage time were awarded by referee Hair and MK Dons were forced to play those additional minutes with 10 men after McGrandles was forced off on a stretcher due to an eye injury - the third MK Dons player to be withdrawn from the match.

The hosts tried to take advantage of their superior numbers and went close with a Nepomceno strike in the 97th minute. Nicholls, though, saved for MK Dons.

Oldham then had two late corners which saw goalkeeper Iversen come up from his net. However, the brilliant MK Dons defence saw out the set-pieces and were then able to celebrate the referee’s final whistle. Job done.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain, Williams, Moore-Taylor, Lewington (c); Houghton; McGrandles, Harley; Gilbey (Walsh 66); Pawlett (Simpson 15 (Cisse 86)), Agard.

Unused subs: Sietsma, Hancox, Watson, Aneke.

Goals: Agard (pen 9), Harley (22)

Booked: Walsh

Attendance: 4,764 (397 away)

Referee: N Hair

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