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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

30 March 2019 Venue The New Lawn Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Forest Green Rovers

All you need to know ahead of today's clash...

30 March 2019

MK Dons are back on the road this afternoon as they travel to Gloucestershire to face Forest Green Rovers.

It will be the first time the Dons have visited The New Lawn for a league fixture - with their only previous visit coming in the Carabao Cup.

Two will certainly be an entertaining affair, with Forest Green Rovers currently occupying sixth place in the Sky Bet League Two table - eight points behind the MK Dons, who sit third.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

After earning promotion into the EFL back in 2017, Forest Green Rovers retained their Football League status with a 21st placed finish last season. Rovers would then build upon their survival by mounting a serious promotion challenge, and with seven games left in the season, Mark Cooper's side are in the picture for both automatic promotion and a play-off finish.

Cooper has been at the helm at The New Lawn since their first game in the EFL, a Club where the former midfielder featured over 45 times during his playing career.

MK Dons Academy Graduate George C Williams signed on at Forest Green Rovers in the Summer of 2018 and has certainly impressed since his arrival - he's found the net seven times this season. Forest Green's side also contains a handful of recognisable faces to the MK Dons coaching staff with both Reuben Reid and Lloyd James turning out for the Club.

MK Dons moved back into the automatic promotion places in Sky Bet League Two courtesy of a professional 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town at Stadium MK.

Ryan Harley put the Dons ahead with his second goal of the campaign before Chuks Aneke doubled the lead late in the second half with a terrific solo goal.

The result lifted Paul Tisdale's men into third in the Sky Bet League Two and within two points of second-place Bury.

Forest Green Rovers, meanwhile, picked up an important three points as they overcame Port Vale 2-0 at Vale Park.

Reece Brown's second-half brace was enough to earn Mark Cooper's side all three points. 

MK Dons manager Paul Tisdale: "Forest Green Rovers play a very good brand of football, they're one of the standouts in the league, and have improved a lot on last season. They have signed good players who have kept the team improving. They will be a real challenge to anyone in that top seven or eight. I've watched them play a few times. They're a good team."

Forest Green Rovers manager Mark Cooper: "I think they [MK Dons] will come and have a good go. They've got a fantastic squad of players, a really experienced manager who knows the league and has got to the play-off final in the last two years"

Paul Tisdale provided updates on Alex Gilbey, Jordan Moore-Taylor and Baily Cargill in his weekly press conference this week.

On Gilbey, Tisdale said: "He's sore. He's been on the training ground today. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed but it will be a late call."

Meanwhile, speaking about other injuries, Tis commented, "Jordan [Moore-Taylor] is making good progress. We're hoping he won't be out too much longer.

"Baily [Cargill] is really close but I don't think he'll be back this Saturday. George [Williams] is making the best progress but if we get anything before next season that will be a bonus."

Mark Cooper noted in his pre-match press that the only player he will be without this afternoon is Lee Collins.

Christopher Sarginson will take charge of today's affair. It'll be the third time he's overseen an MK Dons game this season.

He most recently run the rule over a Dons game back in February 2019, during MK Dons' 3-2 defeat against Swindon Town.

Mr Sarginson has officiated 38 matches this campaign, producing a total of 110 yellow cards and showing just five reds.

His assistant referees are Marvyn Amphlett and Christopher Wade while the fourth official is Steven Plane.

This will be the first time MK Dons have travelled to The New Lawn for a league fixture, with their only previous visit taking place in August 2017 - a game the Dons won 1-0.

In the reverse fixture back in September 2018, the two sides were forced to share the spoils after goals from Chuks Aneke and Rueben Reid ensured the points were shared.

Dons win - 9/5
Draw - 12/5
Forest Green Rovers win - 6/4

Click HERE for more Sky Bet odds, with up to 118 more odds available for this fixture.

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Tickets can be bought at The New Lawn ahead of kick-off, with prices starting from £18 adults, £14 over-65s, £9 under-21s and £6 under-16s, while under-11s go FREE. 

Can't make the game? Listen to live commentary of this afternoon's affair on iFollow MK Dons - click HERE to sign up for as little as £4.49 a month!

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 straight after the final whistle along with full reaction from Paul Tisdale and a player. Highlights will be available to view from midnight.

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Match Reports

Report: Forest Green Rovers 1-2 MK Dons

Martin's late goal sends MK Dons second...

30 March 2019

Russell Martin’s first goal for the Club earned MK Dons a crucial 2-1 victory over Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn.

Kieran Agard had given the Dons a first-half lead with his 21st strike of the campaign but former Don George Williams levelled the scoreline on 62 minutes.

It looked as though Paul Tisdale’s men were to be frustrated in Gloucestershire but, with three minutes to play, Martin converted from a corner to earn the Dons a crucial three points - three points which sees them climb to second in the Sky Bet League Two table.

Boss Tisdale was forced into one change due to the injury sustained by Alex Gilbey last weekend at Stadium MK. Conor McGrandles was his replacement, slotting into the midfield three alongside Jordan Houghton and Ryan Harley.

The Dons showed their attacking intent early on, with two balls sent into the box inside the opening two minutes. Both were delivered by Jordan Houghton - the former was collected by Lewis Ward ahead of Agard and the latter was left, by the goalkeeper, to run out for a goal kick.

Agard was again chasing a long pass on three minutes, this time from Dean Lewington, but he couldn’t get to it before Ward. The striker did get hold of a ball inside the area shorlty after, however his eventual shot was blocked by a Rovers defender.

Forest Green offered their first threat on 10 minutes from a Liam Shepard cross. Christian Doidge met the ball at the near post but poked wide. Shortly after, Joseph Mills delivered from the opposite flank but Martin headed away.

Agard found himself behind the Rovers backline once again in the 14th minute, from Callum Brittain’s neat chip. He made contact with his head but Ward was able to watch the looping effort into his arms.

On 25 minutes, a ball into the area from Lewington caused some panic in the Rovers penalty area. Eventually, they scrambled it behind for a corner. From Lewington’s delivery, Agard saw a shot saved on the line by Ward after Martin’s goal-bound try was blocked.

The Dons had a succession of corners but from the latter of those, Rovers countered. George Williams collected the ball on the half-way line and played in Mills, who sent his left-footed shot into the side netting.

Tisdale’s side then had a chance to break the deadlock through David Wheeler, whose half-volley flew wide of the far post. Rovers striker Christian Doidge then forced a save out of Lee Nicholls at the other end of the pitch - the Dons’ number 1 diving to his right to palm the effort wide.

With 10 minutes left to play in the half, the Dons had penalty appeals waved away by Christopher Sarginson after Agard appeared to be nudged over inside the box while attempting to latch onto a McGrandles cross.

MK Dons continued to feel aggrieved when Sarginson failed to spot a foul on McGrandles in the build-up to a chance for Junior Mondal - fortunately for them, Nicholls was able to keep out the shot at his near post.

They weren’t feeling annoyed for too long, however, as a minute later they took the lead. Wheeler showed great tenacity to chase down Gavin Gunning and dispossess the Rovers defender on the right corner of the pitch. He then had the calmness to thread a pass into an unmarked Agard who, inside the area, took a touch and slotted past Ward. 0-1.

Rovers went close to threatening an equaliser three minutes before half-time but McGrandles was in the right place at the right time to intercept Mills’ cross. Houghton then did well to deny Shepard after he had burst into the box - that led to a corner, from which Doidge headed wide.

The Dons maintained their attacking intent too and a driving run from Wheeler looked to have brought a penalty but Sarginson didn’t spot a handball. Hesketh then earned his side a free-kick in stoppage time - McGrandles, though, sent it just over.

The Scotsman was heavily involved in the Dons' first chance of the second half. After winning the the ball on the edge his own area, McGrandles laid it on for Wheeler, who returned the pass after a drive deep into Rovers territory. Despite having Agard for company, he decided to go for goal alone, however he couldn’t find the finish.

Agard, himself, was presented with an opportunity in the 51st minute after being played in by Hesketh down the left. The Dons number 14 moved into the area and away from the Forest Green defenders, but just dragged his left-footed shot wide of the post.

The Dons then survived two corners on 54 minutes before heading back up the field for another attack, which resulted in Hesketh seeing a shot deflect wide of the target from 20-yards out.

Forest Green then earned themselves a free-kick, which Nicholls was forced to punch away inside a crowded penalty area, but it was with their next attack that Rovers equalised. Williams, who progressed through the youth ranks at Stadium MK, was the man on target, meeting a deep cross from the right and powering a header past Nicholls. 1-1.

Looking to respond and restore the Dons’ advantage, Hesketh sent a volley wide of the target from the edge of the D. At the other end, Carl Winchester dragged a low right-footed shot wide.

On 71 minutes, Tisdale introduced Chuks Aneke off the bench in place of Wheeler. Seconds after his introduction, the Dons had the ball in the net but Agard’s effort was chalked off for offside.

Aneke was involved for the first time a minute later, bringing down Lewington’s ball and setting it into the path of Harley, whose first-time effort fizzed into the arms of a diving Ward.

Two more changes then followed from Tisdale, who brought on Ousseynou Cisse and Robbie Simpson with 12 minutes to play.

With 82 minutes on the clock, McGrandles missed a glorious opportunity to put his side ahead for a second time as he could only find the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

Aneke then came within an inch of poking home from a McGrandles free-kick but was denied by a save from Ward. From the resulting corner, the Dons netted their winner.

McGrandles delivered from the left and while they couldn’t create a goalscoring chance from the original cross, Walsh kept play alive at the far post. He found Hesketh, who got away from his man and sent a teasing ball back into the mix. Aneke went for it, attracting two defenders with him - all of whom missed their headers. That saw the ball land at the feet of Martin, who took a touch and then slid home a timely first goal for the Club. 1-2.

Agard had an opportunity to seal the points straight from kick-off but he couldn’t find the far corner while Aneke also went close in the dying moments.

It wouldn’t matter, however, as the Dons saw out the contest to secure all three points and move up one place to second in the table. What a win.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain, Martin, Walsh, Lewington (c); McGrandles, Houghton (Simpson 78), Harley (Cisse 78); Wheeler (Aneke 71), Agard, Hesketh.

Unused subs: Moore, Watson, D’Ath, Walker.

Goals: Agard (37), Martin (87)

Booked: Martin, McGrandles

Referee: C Sarginson

Attendance: 3,220 (601 away)

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