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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

3-1
25 February 2020 Venue Fratton Park Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Preview: Portsmouth

All you need to know ahead of tonight's match at Fratton Park...

25 February 2020

MK Dons travel to Fratton Park tonight, looking to extend their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One to six matches.

Russell Martin’s men have moved 13 points clear of the bottom three following a stretch of three wins from five, including last Saturday’s 1-0 success over Bolton Wanderers.

All three of those victories, however, have come at Stadium MK, with the Dons still winless away from home since the 3-0 triumph over Blackpool back in September.

There have been signs of that baron run coming to an end – the Dons were impressive at Shrewsbury Town and Lincoln City, and should have won at Burton Albion last month – and the side have two opportunities to finally get over the line this week, starting tonight.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

THE OPPOSITION
Portsmouth sit two places above MK Dons in the current form table, having taken 12 points from their last six games.

Pompey sit just below the Sky Bet League One play-off places entering tonight’s encounter and will move into the top six with a win at Fratton Park – a place where Kenny Jackett’s side are unbeaten this term.

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Their home form has been nothing short of excellent in 2019/20, with 10 wins and five draws to their name, and 28 goals and only 12 conceded.

Ronan Curtis has scored the majority of those – he has 11 to his name in total this season. Striker John Marquis is just behind him on seven goals while Ellis Harrison and Gareth Evans are also goal-threats.

LAST TIME OUT
MK Dons secured their third straight home win courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers at Stadium MK.

Russell Martin’s men were dominant throughout the contest last weekend but were being held to a goalless stalemate by the battling Trotters.

They would, though, break the deadlock with 68 minutes played - Rhys Healey the man to seal the points. The striker raced onto a through ball from Alex Gilbey before lifting a shot over the Bolton goalkeeper for his 11th goal of the campaign.

Portsmouth were edged out 1-0 by promotion rivals Fleetwood Town at their Highbury Stadium on Saturday.

Fleetwood struck in the 12th minute when Danny Andrew drilled in a deflected cross to Callum Connolly, who headed home from close range.

Pompey almost evened it up through Ronan Curtis but his free-kick struck the crossbar while Sean Raggett had a header cleared off the line by Lewie Coyle with their final chance.

FIGHTING TALK
Luke Williams: “Our form has given us the luxury of being able to go into these tough away fixtures without it being as crucial as it could have been. We still need to put in good performances at both of these games.

“We know it will be tough but we're going there expecting good performances and we're going there to win. If we can go away from home, grapple the game and make it more like a home game we can pick up more points on the road.”

Kenny Jackett: “They’re a good team and we had quite a lot of the game earlier in the season, but just didn’t get the details right.

“We’ll need to do that and make sure our approach is correct because there are a lot of close matches in this division and the top sides find a way to win them. There will certainly be respect for the opposition, but it's more important to make sure we get our team right.”

TEAM NEWS
Joe Mason remains MK Dons’ only doubt for tonight’s game, after assistant manager Luke Williams revealed no fresh injury concerns following the weekend’s win.

Striker Mason hasn’t featured since the Stadium MK clash with Sunderland last month but is nearing a return to action, and could be involved this evening in Hampshire.

Portsmouth midfielder Andy Cannon could return to action tonight after recovering from a glute problem, while striker Ellis Harrison could also play despite pulling out of the warm-up at Fleetwood Town last weekend.

Lee Brown missed the Fleetwood game with a sickness bug, but the left back has recovered and is available to play this evening.

OFFICIALS
Kevin Johnson will referee tonight’s clash at Fratton Park.

Johnson last ran the rule over the Dons in April, when he oversaw the Sky Bet League Two meeting with Lincoln City at Stadium MK. He handed out seven yellow cards that day and awarded the Imps a penalty.

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This season, he has booked 89 players in 27 outings, while producing his red card on seven occasions. He has also awarded five penalties.

His assistant referees are John Flynn and Paul Kelly while the fourth official is Adrian Tranter.

HEAD TO HEAD
Dons wins: 1
Dons wins at Fratton Park: 0
Last Dons win: 3-1, 30 Dec 2019 (Fratton Park)
Biggest Dons win: 3-1, 30 Dec 2019 (Fratton Park)

Draws: 2
Draws at Fratton Park: 1
Last draw: 1-1, 26 Feb 2013 (Fratton Park)

Portsmouth wins: 2
Portsmouth wins at Fratton Park: 1
Last Portsmouth win: 1-2, 10 Feb 2018 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Portsmouth win: 2-0, 14 Oct 2017 (Fratton Park)

SKY BET ODDS
Dons win: 9/2
Draw: 5/14
Portsmouth win: 4/7

Click HERE for more Sky Bet odds!

ELSEWHERE IN SKY BET LEAGUE ONE
Blackpool v Rotherham
Coventry City v Rotherham United
Oxford United v Accrington Stanley
Shrewsbury Town v Tranmere Rovers
Sunderland v Fleetwood Town

Supporters have until midday to purchase their tickets for tonight's Sky Bet League One clash with Portsmouth, with no tickets to be sold this evening at Fratton Park.

Tickets, which must be bought before midday from MK Dons, are priced at £24 adults, £18 seniors, £16 young adults and £7 juniors.

Official Away travel is still available for this fixture, with coach spaces priced at £19 Season Ticket holders/members and £20 all other supporters. Coaches will depart Stadium MK at 3pm.

To book tickets/travel click HERE or visit the Box Office at Stadium MK. Tickets will be available from the Club until midday. No tickets will be sold tonight at Fratton Park.

Can't make today's match? The will be streamed live on MK Dons’ video service from 7.45pm, with a Video Match Pass priced at £10 - click HERE to purchase your Video Match Pass!

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 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 along with full reaction from Russell Martin and a player. Highlights will be available three hours after full-time.

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Match Reports

Report: Portsmouth 3-1 MK Dons

Dons fall to first defeat in six...

25 February 2020

Ten-man MK Dons saw their unbeaten run come to an end at Fratton Park, as they were beaten 3-1 by play-off chasing Portsmouth.

The hosts took the lead after just four minutes but Russell Martin’s responded in first-half stoppage time through Alex Gilbey, who converted from close-range after his penalty was saved.

Pompey though, restored their lead early in the second half before sealing the victory late on with Marcus Harness adding a third.

Despite defeat, the Dons remain 18th in Sky Bet League One. Their gap, however, over the bottom three is reduced to 10 points, courtesy of Tranmere Rovers’ win at Shrewsbury Town.

Boss Martin made just one change to his starting XI, with Conor McGrandles replacing Ben Reeves in midfield. The switch saw an alteration to the formation, with the Dons reverting back to the 4-4-2 diamond they displayed earlier in Martin’s tenure.

It was Portsmouth who started the brightest with Lee Nicholls claiming at the feet of Ronan Curtis early on.

The Pompey wide-man fired over soon after before the hosts made their fast start count with just four minutes on the clock – Ryan Williams intercepting a pass and then drawing in Nicholls, before teeing up Cannon to slot into the empty net. 1-0.

Louis Thompson went close to an immediate response for the Dons but fired wide from the edge of the D. His midfield partner, Alex Gilbey, then had a glorious chance to level but failed to beat Alex Bass when one-on-one – McGrandles dragged the rebound wide.

The Dons were then awarded a free-kick, for a foul on Healey, five yards from the edge of the box. The striker stepped up to take the set piece but saw his low effort gathered on the dive by Bass.

Portsmouth offered a reminder of their threat midway through the first half when John Marquis broke through on goal. Nicholls, though, was quick off his line and made his body big enough to get in the way of the striker’s effort.

The MK Dons number 1 was called into action again on the half-hour, as he produced a right-handed save to keep out Lee Brown’s fierce drive. He came up trumps again six minutes later to divert a long-range effort from Ben Close over the bar.

Despite those flurry of chances, it was Martin’s men who were in the ascendancy as the half drew to a close and they were handed the chance to restore parity in the penultimate minute of stoppage time when Healey was brought down by Ross McCrorie inside the box.

Gilbey took the spot-kick and, despite seeing his initial effort saved by Bass, followed in the rebound to slam home an equaliser with his first fifth goal of the campaign. 1-1.

Within two minutes of the re-start, the MK Dons number 8 almost had a chance to double his and team’s tally but was denied in the area by a superb sliding tackle from Christian Burgess.

That tackle proved crucial for the home side as they restored their lead almost instantly. The Dons defence failed to deal with a run into the box from the right-hand side and that led to Pompey frontman Marquis converting with the simplest of finishes from close range. 2-1.

Nicholls prevented the home side from doubling their advantage three minutes later, pulling off a routine save to keep out a looping header from Sean Raggett. At the other end, Jordan Moore-Taylor glanced a header of his own just wide from a Dean Lewington free-kick.

Martin made his first substitution of the game just past the hour mark, as he replaced McGrandles with Ben Gladwin in midfield. Within a minute of his arrival, Lewington was forced into a vital block to prevent Williams from testing Nicholls.

Gladwin was then involved at the attacking end of the pitch, delivering in a cross which eventually led to a chance for Thompson, who drilled over. His next ball in was a beauty, as it found the right-foot of Healey, unmarked at the far post – his volley was brilliantly saved by Bass.

The substitute continued to be heavily involved and on 73 minutes, he fired over with a free-kick – an ambitious effort, given the angle, but he was not far away from finding the net.

With a quarter of an hour to play, it was the Dons pushing for the crucial fourth goal of the game. Morris sent a left-footed shot off target from the edge of the D moments before Healey bent one just wide of the right post from similar range.

Martin then threw Sam Nombe on from the bench to bolster his attacking options. Ben Reeves followed soon after. The two combined with five minutes to play but Nombe saw his strike beaten away by Bass at his near post.

The Dons’ attempts to pull themselves back into the match were dented moments later when Carlton Morris was shown a straight red card for denying Marquis a clear goalscoring opportunity, as the Pompey man bore down on goal.

Martin’s men survived the resulting free-kick but they conceded a third in the final minute of regulation time – Harness securing the three points for Portsmouth after getting behind the Dons defence and rounding Nicholls. 3-1.

A disappointing trip to Hampshire for the Dons, who will look to go again on Saturday when they visit league leaders Rotherham United.

MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington (c), Poole, Gilbey, Healey, Moore-Taylor, McGrandles (Gladwin 62), Thompson (Nombe 78), Morris, Houghton (Reeves 83).

Subs: Fisher, Walsh, Brittain, Kasumu.

Goal: Gilbey (45+2)

Booked: Lewington, Poole

Sent off: Morris

Portsmouth: Bass, McCrorie, Raggett, Burgess, Brown, Close, Williams (McGeehan 77), Cannon (Harness 77), Curtis, Marquis.

Subs: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Seddon, Pitman, Hawkins.

Goals: Cannon (4), Marquis (48)

Booked: Burgess, Cannon

Referee: K Johnson

Attendance: 16,577 (170 away)

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