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29 August 2023 Venue Stadium MK Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League Trophy

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Match Previews

Preview: Chelsea U21

All you need to know ahead of tonight's EFL Trophy tie...

29 August 2023

MK Dons kick-off their EFL Trophy campaign this evening when they take on Chelsea Under-21s in their Southern Group F opener at Stadium MK.

Graham Alexander’s side will be competing with the Young Blues, as well as Oxford United and Northampton Town, for the two places on offer in the knockout stages of the EFL competition.

The Dons have made it past the Group Stage in each of the last four seasons and will be hoping to maintain that record this campaign. It’s a competition that the Club won in 2008 while Head Coach Graham Alexander led his Salford City side to the Final in 2020.

A reminder that if the scores are level at the full-time whistle, a penalty shoot-out will take place to determine who will receive a bonus point.

Kick-off is at 7pm.

Chelsea U21 are involved in the EFL Trophy for the fifth season in succession, following the introduced of Invited U21 Clubs in 2018/19.

The Young Blues reached the Last 16 of the competition this past campaign, beating Peterborough United 4-2 in the Round of 32 after finishing top of their group. They were eventually knocked out by Cheltenham Town.


Mark Robinson's side have enjoyed mixed results so far in their Premier League 2 Division One campaign, suffering back-to-back defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Norwich City after an impressive 6-1 win over Blackburn Rovers to start their season.

England youth international, Ronnie Stutter, is one to watch if involved – the striker has scored five goals already this campaign, including two sets of braces.

MK Dons made it four wins from five courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers at Stadium MK.

Graham Alexander's men did their damage in the first half, scoring twice inside the opening 33 minutes. Daniel Harvie put them in front with a composed finish after Jonathan Leko's initial effort deflected into his path, a quarter of an hour before Warren O'Hora headed home a second from Dawson Devoy's cross.

Luke Molyneux scored a terrific goal for Doncaster with a little under 20 minutes left to play but it proved nothing more than a consolation, as the Dons held on for all three points.

Chelsea Under-21s were beaten 3-2 by Norwich City in a Premier League 2 clash last Friday night.

The Young Blues went behind to a Tom Dickson-Peters goal after only 10 minutes, but levelled the scores just four minutes later through Jimmy-Jay Morgan.

Norwich, though, restored their lead through Aiden Manning before Emmanuel Adegboyega added a third with a header past Max Merrick. Ronnie Stutter added a 64th-minute consolation for Chelsea, who fell to a second successive PL2 defeat.

Erbil Bozkurt: “It’s a game that we want to win, especially being at home, and it’s a competition that we want to do well in. It’s also a competition where we can give some players an opportunity to play some games – but whoever plays, it’ll be a team that gives us the best chance to win the match.

“It will be an interesting test for us. There is a reason why these players are representing an elite club so while I’m sure they will provide a different test to what we usually face, we know they will be good players and it will be a good challenge.”

MK Dons must have at least four 'qualifying' outfield players in their line-up for EFL Trophy fixtures.

Qualifying players include those who started the previous or following first-team fixture; are in the top 10 players at the club who have made the most starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions so far this season; have 40 or more first-team appearances in their career; are on loan from a Premier League club or any EFL 'Category One' academy club. A club can also play any eligible goalkeeper in the competition.

In terms of availability, Dean Lewington and Charlie Waller are yet to feature this season, owing to injuries picked up in pre-season. Mo Eisa limped out of Saturday’s win over Doncaster Rovers and it remains to be seen whether he will be involved tonight.


Jacob Miles will run the rule over this evening’s EFL Trophy tie at Stadium MK, refereeing an MK Dons match for the very first time.

So far this season, Miles has taken charge of two games – both in Sky Bet League Two. He has produced a total of nine yellow cards but is yet to brandish his red card or award a penalty.

His assistant referees are Johnathon Bickerdike and Shaun Farrer while the fourth official is Adrian Tranter.

MK Dons wins: 0

Draws: 0

Chelsea U21 wins: 1
Chelsea U21 wins at Stadium MK: 1
Last Chelsea U21 win: 4-0, 6 Dec 2017 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Chelsea U21 win: 4-0, 6 Dec 2017 (Stadium MK)

Grimsby Town v Manchester City U21, 7.30pm

Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off, priced at £13 adults, £10 seniors/under-25s, £6 under-21s and £1 under-14s. To book tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622933.

Can't make the game? Supporters can WATCH this tie live on iFollow MK Dons for £10 - to purchase a Video Match Pass CLICK HERE!

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: MK Dons 4-1 Chelsea U21

Winning start to the EFL Trophy for MK Dons...

29 August 2023

MK Dons made a winning start to their EFL Trophy campaign, beating Chelsea Under-21s 4-1 at Stadium MK.

Goals from Matthew Dennis and Jonathan Leko, either side of Jimmy-Jay Morgan’s effort, had Graham Alexander’s men in front, before substitute Max Dean scored a brace off the bench to put some gloss on the scoreline.

Head Coach Alexander made eight changes to his starting XI as the Dons prepared to embark on their EFL Trophy campaign.

Dean Lewington returned to captain the side following his recovery from an injury during pre-season. The likes of Nathan Harness, Phoenix Scholtz, and Callum Tripp were all awarded with their full MK Dons debut.

Whilst Conor Grant, Brooklyn Ilunga, Ashley Hunter and Matt Dennis all received their first start of the season.

Chelsea’s Under-21s would register the first shot of the game after a ball into the box landed at the feet of their number 67. His quick turn out gave him enough space for a shot, but it wouldn’t trouble Harness between the stick as hit smashed off the outside netting.

The travelling side looked to break once again after they turned over an oncoming MK Dons attack. It could’ve proved costly if not for Callum Tripp’s anticipation, the number 34 stepped up to prevent the ball from travelling through towards the opposition’s forward.

Dawson Devoy had won the ball before Matt Dennis had broken the deadlock at Stadium MK through a brilliantly taken finish.

The number 30 had received the ball near the right of the field before turning his defender and using his speed to his advantage, which allowed the 30 to break towards the edge of the area.

Whilst he breached the box, Dennis then unleashed a strike that would locate the bottom left corner, which left the Chelsea goalkeeper no chance of stopping it. 1-0

MK Dons were close to doubling their lead soon after through Jonathan Leko, but the young Blues’ goalkeeper had made himself wide enough to prevent the close-range chance.

With the momentum gained from the opening goal, Graham Alexander’s men sought to double their lead, mustering multiple attacks to accomplish that mission.

Once again, Tripp’s anticipation almost rewarded him. The young player pounced on a loose ball, but a strong stop for the opposition’s ‘keeper denied the young Don of hist first senior goal for the time being.

Phoenix Scholtz, on the far right of the field won a corner for the Dons after his initial cross was blocked behind by-line. Hunter crafted the delivery, but Chelsea was quick to clear the oncoming danger.

Just after the 30-minute mark, a precise cross met Chelsea’s number 55, who equalised through a close-range header that bounced off the floor and into the roof of the net. 1-1

Leko saw sight of goal as he broke into a dangerous area, but only for his strike to matched by an onrushing Beach in between the sticks. This occurred Five minutes prior to the interval.

Four minutes were added onto the first-half of action, but the score-line remained level once the referee signalled for the half-time break.

Upon the restart, Chelsea were the first team to claim a corner-kick following a block from Brooklyn Ilunga to turn behind an initial ball into box.

The young Blues were awarded with a second successive set-piece, but Tucker’s headed clearance prevented any further danger.

Dennis responded as he conjured the first shot of the half for the home side seven minutes following the interval, but Eddie Beach watched as it dragged wide of the target.

MK Dons restored their lead through Jonathan Leko. The goal-scorer had played the ball into the run of Phoenix Scholtz, whose first strike at goal was dealt with by Eddie Beach.

However, the shot was too powerful to handle and although the first deflected attempt from Leko was saved, the number seven made no mistake at the second time of asking. 2-1

The young Blues looked set to respond almost immediately and they would’ve been effective in their effort if not for the heroics of Nathan Harness, who flung himself at the oncoming ball to divert its path wide.

Graham Alexander made three changes at the hour-mark, which saw Warren O’Hora take to the field, Max Dean awarded with his first appearance this season and Charlie Waller earn the honour of his MK Dons senior debut.

Chelsea came close to levelling the game once again with a strike that whistled over the crossbar. This was followed soon after by another attack created by the team in blue, but a vital block by Waller was made to deny a possible second equaliser.

Max Dean doubled the Dons’ advantage. Warren O’Hora created the chance with a header that travelled through Chelsea’s half to locate the feet of Joanthan Leko.

The striker held his run just enough to be played in-behind by Leko, and the empathic finish produced by Dean was the final piece of the puzzle to grant the hosts a 3-1 lead 70 minutes into the tie.

The young Blues replicated a chance from when they went a goal behind previously, but once again, Nathan Harness was there to deny any setback.

Jonathan Leko then made way for Joel Anker as the young Don achieved his first senior MK Dons appearance at Stadium MK.

The young striker Max Dean collected his brace with a brilliantly placed curled finish. The ball returned to his feet after his driving run progressed the Dons further up the field.

From a very difficult range and angle Dean perfected his curled effort with enough power to beat Beach, but also with enough precision to find the far netting in the final eleven minutes of the match. 4-1

A chance arose late on for Joel Anker, only for the young forward to be spurned by the offside flag before he could turn and get a shot away.

Similarly, Chelsea’s Leo Castledine had found the back of the net, but the offside flag denied him of reducing the deficit soon after seven minutes of added time was displayed.

To cap off an excellent evening’s work, there was an incredible moment from Brooklyn Ilunga, who made a goal-line clearance with a quick acrobatic reaction to get a leg onto the oncoming shot. The Linesman’s flag was raised shortly after, but the young defender wasn’t aware.

MK Dons: Harness, Lewington (C) (O’Hora 60), Tucker (Waller 60), Leko (Anker 70), Grant, Ilunga, Hunter, Scholtz, Devoy, Dennis (Dean 60), Tripp

Subs: MacGillivray, Gilbey, Harvie

Goals: Dennis 8, Leko 56, Dean 70 79,

Booked: Scholtz 13, Devoy 59, Leko 67

Chelsea Under-21s: Beach, Gilchrist, Williams, Matos (McMahon 79), Castledine, Morgan (McNeilly 79), Hughes (Gee 85), Stutter, George, Boniface, Dyer (Rak-Sakyi 79)

Subs: Merrick, Ampah, Wilson

Goals: Jimmy Jay-Morgan 31

Booked: Boniface 90+3

Referee: J Miles

Attendance: 1,704 (284 away)

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Ticket News

Date confirmed for EFL Trophy clash with Chelsea U21

MK Dons to face Chelsea U21, Oxford United and Northampton Town in this season's competition...

9 August 2023

A date has been confirmed for MK Dons’ EFL Trophy Group F opener with Chelsea Under-21s.

Graham Alexander’s side will face the Young Blues at Stadium MK on Tuesday 29 August, kick-off 7pm.

The Dons will play two other Group Stage fixtures following on from their clash with Chelsea later this month. They will travel to Oxford United on Tuesday 19 September before rounding off their Group F campaign at home to Northampton Town on Tuesday 21 November. Both matches will also kick-off at 7pm.

Ticket details for all three EFL Trophy Group F fixtures will be announced in due course.

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