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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

19 August 2023 Venue JobServe Community Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Preview: Colchester United

All you need to know ahead of today's Sky Bet League Two fixture at the JobServe Community Stadium...

19 August 2023

MK Dons will look to return to winning ways today when they take on Colchester United at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Graham Alexander’s men took six points from their opening two league matches before falling to their first league defeat of the season in midweek.

This afternoon’s match in Essex provides an opportunity for the Dons to get back on the winning trail right away and make it nine points out of a possible 12 to start their Sky Bet League Two campaign.

Goals have been a big reason for the strong start made by Alexander’s side, with only Crewe Alexandra and Wrexham (8) having found the net more times than MK Dons (7) so far. Mo Eisa has three of their seven goals, netting in each of the first three games – he is only the second player in Club history to achieve that feat alongside Keith Andrews.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Colchester United will be in search of their first league victory of the season this afternoon at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The U’s, who saw their opening-day clash with Swindon Town postponed, were beaten 2-1 by Bradford City last Saturday before suffering a 2-0 loss at home to AFC Wimbledon in midweek.


Ben Garner’s side can, however, take confidence from an impressive display against Championship opposition in the Carabao Cup earlier this month – Colchester held Cardiff City to a 2-2 draw in South Wales before being defeated on penalties.

Colchester have welcomed 11 new faces to Essex this summer, including six young talents from Premier League clubs. One of those, Joe Taylor, has already found the net twice this season, including the equaliser in their aforementioned draw at Cardiff.

MK Dons fell to their first Sky Bet League Two defeat of the season in midweek as they were beaten 2-1 by Crawley Town at the Broadfield Stadium.

Nick Tsaroulla put the home side ahead with a tight-angled finish just past the quarter-hour mark, but Mo Eisa levelled the scores for the Dons, netting in his third successive game after latching onto MJ Williams’ pass.

Crawley, though, restored their lead – and earned the victory – seven minutes into the second half when Danilo Orsi capped off a neat attacking move with a curling effort into the bottom right corner.

Colchester United were beaten 2-0 by AFC Wimbledon in their opening home match of the 2023/24 season.

The U’s had two good chances to open the scoring in the first half – first through John Akinde, who was foiled from close range by the goalkeeper, and then with Joe Taylor firing wide with a low shot from the edge of the area.

Colchester were punished on 54 minutes when Joe Tilley converted from Josh Neufville’s cross. Those two players combined again to double AFC Wimbledon’s lead five minutes from time – Tilley the scorer to complete his brace.

Graham Alexander: “There is no form at the moment, it's too early. Whatever the league table looks like now, it's irrelevant. No-one knows how many points it will need for us to be successful, you've just got to get as many points on the board by picking them up all the time - that's all we can focus on.

“Every team is motivated to win games, and we have to go there and make sure we're ready to earn the right to win the game. We cannot set our standard of performance by what the opposition bring to the game, we have to set our own levels. If we can do that consistently, I believe that is key to a successful season.”

Ben Garner: “They have maintained a lot of their squad so have a lot of talent there. They have added some experience and know-how over the summer. They have had a strong start, although they lost at Crawley (Town) on Tuesday night. We want to hope that’s the case again on Saturday.

“We respect them but the focus has to be on us and getting our performance levels right. If we do that, we’ll come out with the result that we want.”

MK Dons Head Coach Graham Alexander revealed no fresh injury concerns when he met with the media ahead of today’s game at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Matthew Dennis, Conor Grant, Dean Lewington and Charlie Waller have all yet to feature following pre-season injuries and it remains to be seen whether any of the quartet will be fit enough to be involved in Essex.

Colchester United will be without summer signing Ellis Iandolo, who is expected to undergo surgery on an ankle injury sustained in last weekend’s game at Bradford City.

In more positive news for the U’s, defender Fiacre Kelleher is back training after missing the opening matches of the season with a calf injury. He could make his return today against MK Dons.

Alex Gilbey and Tommy Smith both make returns to Essex this afternoon, the former returning to the club where he began his football career.


Gilbey progressed through the Academy set-up at Colchester United and made 121 appearances in Blue and White before joining Wigan Athletic in June 2016.

Smith, meanwhile, enjoyed two spells with the U’s, including a three-year stint between August 2020 and June this year – in total, he played 101 times for the Essex club.

Carl Brook will be the man in the middle this afternoon.

The East Sussex official has taken charge of two matches so far this season, producing 11 yellow cards. He has yet to brandish his red card or award a penalty.

Carl Brook.jpg

Today will be the sixth time he has refereed MK Dons, with his most recent appointment being last season’s 1-1 draw with Portsmouth at Stadium MK. That day, he booked four Pompey players and sent off their defender Joe Morrell for an off-the-ball incident.

His assistant referees are Sam Ogles and Stuart Butler while the fourth official is Daniel Bonneywell.

MK Dons wins: 12
MK Dons wins at the JobServe Community Stadium: 5
Last MK Dons win: 1-0, 17 Feb 2015 (JobServe Community Stadium)
Biggest MK Dons win: 6-0, 29 Nov 2014 (Stadium MK)

Draws: 4
Draws at the JobServe Community Stadium: 0
Last draw: 0-0, 1 Jan 2014 (Stadium MK)

Colchester United wins: 6
Colchester United wins at the JobServe Community Stadium: 3
Last Colchester United win: 2-0, 27 Apr 2019 (JobServe Community Stadium)
Biggest Colchester United win: 3-1, 26 Nov 2013 (JobServe Community Stadium)

Accrington Stanley v Harrogate Town
Crawley Town v Gillingham
Crewe Alexandra v Walsall
Doncaster Rovers v Notts County
Forest Green Rovers v Newport County
Grimsby Town v Mansfield Town
Morecambe v Bradford City
Stockport County v Barrow
Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon
Tranmere Rovers v Salford City
Wrexham v Swindon Town

Tickets can be bought at the JobServe Community Stadium ahead of kick-off from the self-serve ticket machine in the Club Shop - sales will be card only. Tickets are no longer available to buy through MK Dons.

Tickets bought today will be subject to matchday increases and will be priced at £23.50 adults, £18.25 concessions and £14.50 under-18s.

Can't make the game? Listen LIVE on iFollow MK Dons with an Audio Match Pass - CLICK HERE to purchase your Audio Match Pass for £2.50!

Live text updates will also be provided on the Match Centre as well as Twitter, while a full report will be available to read shortly after the full-time whistle. Post-match reaction and highlights will follow after.

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Match Reports

Report: Colchester United 2-3 MK Dons

Matthew Dennis' stoppage-time strike secures dramatic away win...

19 August 2023

MK Dons scored a stoppage-time winner to beat Colchester United 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The goalscoring action started as early as the eighth minute when Mo Eisa netted in his fourth successive game, heading home from Cameron Norman’s cross. Colchester, though, turned things around by the quarter-hour mark, with Joe Taylor’s brace giving them a 2-1 lead.

Graham Alexander’s men pushed throughout the remainder of the game in search of salvaging a result and two late goals from Alex Gilbey and Matthew Dennis - the latter coming in the ninth minute of stoppage time – saw them complete a dramatic turnaround and secure all three points.

Alexander was forced into one change as Dawson Devoy replaced MJ Williams, who was unavailable after picking up a knock. In more positive injury news, Matthew Dennis and Conor Grant returned to the squad and were amongst the substitutes.

The Dons worked their first chance on goal after only 40 seconds. Former Colchester man Alex Gilbey won possession deep in the United half, providing the opportunity for Mo Eisa to drive towards goal and shoot – his right-footed effort, however, was off target.

Alexander’s men threatened again on four minutes, after Cameron Norman’s long throw into the area was headed clear only as far as Devoy. The Irishman did well to create room for a shot but couldn’t keep his 20-yard strike down.

Norman sent another ball into the box three minutes later – one which was just about dealt with by the Colchester defender with Mo Eisa lurking. Norman’s next for cross for Eisa did find its target and from it, MK Dons took the lead.

Gilbey created the opportunity with a block inside the Colchester half, providing Norman with a second chance to deliver a cross in from the right. This one was placed perfectly onto the head of EISA, who glanced home past Owen Goodman for his fourth goal in as many games. 0-1.

The Dons’ lead, however, would last less than a minute, as the home side levelled the scores with their next attack – TAYLOR managing to bundle home at the far post from Jayden Fevrier’s low ball across the six-yard area. 1-1.

Colchester then turned things around completely, scoring a second just four minutes later. It was TAYLOR again on the scoresheet, with the forward this time converted from close range after a cross in from the Dons’ left. 2-1.

Alexander’s men almost had an instant response of their own but neither Eisa, nor Leko, were able to convert their chances inside the penalty area. Eisa wasn’t able to sort his feet out in time to convert from Leko’s deflected cross while the MK Dons number 7 was then denied by a sliding block with his 10-yard follow-up effort.

A lengthy stoppage, owing to a head-to-head collision involving Tommy Smith and a Colchester man, disrupted the flow of the game. It was the hosts who regained some momentum quicker, and they were denied a third by a goal-line clearance from Jack Tucker on the half-hour.

O’Hora and Devoy then produced blocks to keep long-range efforts from troubling MacGillivray. They then started to regain control of the contest but were finding it difficult to break down a Colchester side content to get men deep behind the ball in the closing stages of the first half.

There were appeals for a penalty on 38 minutes when Norman’s cross appeared to strike the arm of a defender but those shouts were waved away. Soon after, both Gilbey and Tucker had efforts on goal but both saw their attempts blocked.

Leko tried his luck as the first half moved into stoppages but he couldn’t find the target with his 20-yard strike. The number 7 ten teed up Eisa in the fifth minute of additional time but his strike partner was denied by a goal-saving block from Nico Lawrence.

Alexander’s men returned for the second-half unchanged and with a point to prove, attacking the goal behind which the 569 travelling Dons supporters were situated. They watched on as Devoy tested Goodman early in the second half – the Colchester goalkeeper equal to the Irishman’s left-footed shot from the edge of the area.

Harvie was the next to go for goal, after receiving the ball back from Leko who had sprung clear down the left. The left-back’s curling shot appeared to be on target but was blocked by the head of Lawrence.

From the resulting corner, Leko glanced a header towards goal from Robson’s cross but this, too, was blocked by a United man. The attack continued, with Harvie delivering a ball into the area for Gilbey, whose header back across goal was just of Eisa’s reach.

Smith got in the way of a shot from Taylor as the hosts offered a reminder of their threat just past the hour. MacGillivray was then forced into a save by Noah Chilvers, diving to his right to keep out the midfielder’s bending effort.

Alexander made a double change with 64 minutes on the clock, handing a first appearance of the season to Dennis, in place of Leko, while also switching out Robson for Ashley Hunter in the middle of the park.

Dennis teed up Harvie for a cross soon after his introduction. His ball in was met by his opposite full-back at the far post, but Norman wasn’t able to direct his header on target. Dennis was then brought down for a free-kick, which saw O’Hora turn wide from Hunter’s set-piece delivery.

MacGillivray did well when called into action by substitute Al-Amin Kazeem, tipping the wing-back’s fierce effort over his crossbar. He was then able to watch Taylor blaze high and wide with a good opportunity on 75 minutes.

Alexander made his third change, handing Grant his maiden appearance of the season, with Smith making way. His side then went close through Norman, whose volleyed effort, following Tucker’s header back across goal, flew wide.

With four minutes to play, space opened up for Hunter, 25 yards out, and he forced a save out of Goodman with low shot. Moments later, he turned provider, to set up GILBEY to level the scores for MK Dons.

Hunter did well to improvise when faced with a bouncing ball, acrobatically sending a pass through to GILBEY, who forced his way between two Colchester defenders before looping a chip over Goodman and into the back of the net. 2-2.

With the game finely poised, 11 minutes of added time were added by the fourth official and the Dons went agonisingly close to scoring in the second of those but a combination of Goodman and the crossbar somehow prevented Tucker’s header from finding the net.

The Dons kept pushing and in the ninth minute of time remaining, they were rewarded with a winning goal. Hunter was involved again, latching onto a ball inside the box but showing the composure to tee up DENNIS instead of having a shot.

The substitute took one touch before drilling home a right-footed shot from the edge of the area, sending the travelling MK Dons fans into raptures and completing a memorable away day in Essex. 2-3.

MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker, O’Hora, Leko (Dennis 64), Gilbey, Eisa (Ilunga 90+11), Smith (Grant 77), Robson (Hunter 64), Harvie, Devoy.

Subs: Harness, Holland, Dean.

Goals: Eisa (8), Gilbey (88), Dennis (90+9)

Booked: Eisa, Harvie, Gilbey, Grant

Colchester United: Goodman, Hall, Dallison (Kazeem 55), Chilvers, Read, Egbo, Tchamadeu, Lawrence, Taylor, Fevrier, Ihionvien (Bandeira 78).

Subs: Smith, Greenidge, Jay, Newby, Thomas.

Goals: Taylor (10, 14)

Booked: Ihionvien, Fevirer, Chilvers, Tchamadeu, Egbo

Referee: C Brook

Attendance: 3,857 (569 away)

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