MK Dons suffer a 3-1 defeat after conceding two late goals to Northampton Town in the pre-season friendly finale at Stadium MK.
Graham Alexander named a starting XI which included four out of six summer signings made so far. Tommy Smith, Alexander’s most-recent appointment was named among the substitutes after his mid-week start against Coventry City as a trialist.
Dons’ youngsters such as Joel Anker and Brooklyn Ilunga were awarded with their first start during the pre-season campaign, the team prepared for their friendly finale at Stadium MK.
Within the opening five minutes MK Dons had placed the ball into the back of the net following a delicate touch from Darragh Burns, who connected with a pinpoint cross from MJ Williams. However, the linesman ruled out the goal as Burns was deemed in an offside position.
After the Dons’ chance, Northampton crafted an attack of their own, which rewarded them with the advantage. Akin Odimayo’s blocked shot fell to Mitch Pinnock on the left of the area, who was able to strike the ball into the floor as it bounced beyond the line with assistance from the crossbar. 0-1
Joel Anker, who was awarded with his first senior start at Stadium MK, looked to break through one-one-one, although an important challenge was made by Marc Leonard to prevent the chance on the 15-minute mark.
Minutes later, Pinnock aimed to claim his brace, but after he connected with the ball his effort crashed off the far post.
The young Don, Anker, produced a brilliant touch to create space away from his marker before he unleashed a pass through to Jonathan Leko as the attacker bared down on goal. Leko was forced wide, but the ball made its way to Burns, whose shot missed the target.
An early change was made for MK Dons as Ethan Robson replaced Brooklyn Ilunga.
30 Minutes into the clash, the home side received the first corner-kick of the match, which Darragh Burns delivered. The ball fell to Jack Tucker on the far side of the area, and the defender attempted to find Cameron Norman at the back post, but the pass just evaded him.
Substitute Ethan Robson located Leko in the area, but the Cobblers reacted quickly to the danger and swarmed the attacker to prevent a chance at goal.
Cameron Norman stole the ball from the opposition’s grasp before he drove up the field, the defender was stopped in his tracks by a challenge from Sam Sherrinng, who was booked for the offence.
Minutes before the interval, Norman found himself with enough space on the right of the area to craft a low and hard strike. The effort just flashed wide of the far post as the Dons continued to find an equaliser.
Both teams entered the break as Northampton Town held their 0-1 advantage gained in the eighth minute of the fixture.
The travelling team had come out from the break quickly, which provided Tyreece Simpson with a strike that dragged wide of the goal. Burns attempted to respond down the right, but his cross was headed clear.
Five minutes following the break, MK Dons produced two successive attacks which forced the Northampton rear-guard into action. Leko’s trickery earned him the space to fire a shot just wide of the mark before Gilbey’s effort moments later deflected behind for a corner.
The taken by Anker then reached Tucker at the back post, but the centre-half was held off just enough before he could reach the ball.
Within the 56 minute, Graham Alexander made his second and third changes, which saw Mo Eisa and Nathan Holland enter play.
On the 59-minute mark, MK Dons found their equaliser through Warren O’Hora. The home side were awarded with a corner that Joel Anker placed perfectly into a dangerous area, Warren O’Hora met the delivery with a powerful header that flew past Lee Burge. 1-1
Alex Gilbey was brought down on the edge of the area, which result in a free-kick for the Dons, as well as a booking for Northampton substitute Hondermarck. Daniel Harvie steps up to the set-piece and his effort was met by the wall of claret shirts.
25 Minutes prior to the final whistle, MK Dons made another substitution which saw Joel Anker swapped for Max Dean. Anker, who produced a brilliant shift left play with a round of applause from the supporters.
A higher level of intensity was displayed from Graham Alexander’s side within the second 45 minutes of play. However, with ten minutes remaining, the boys in blue continued their search for a lead.
However, Northampton Town restored their precense within the match and began to regain control within the latter stages.
Minutes before the final whistle, Northampton Town restored their advantage through Peter Abimbola. The number 27 had shifted the ball to his left before he curled an effort which bulged the left netting. 1-2
Moments after they restored their lead, the travelling team doubled the Dons’ deficit through Ben Fox. 1-3
MK Dons’ pre-season friendly campaign came to an end after a 1-3 defeat to Northampton Town at Stadium MK.
MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker, O’Hora (C), Williams, Leko (Holland 56), Gilbey, Ilunga (Robson 23), Burns (Eisa 56), Harvie (Scholtz 90), Anker (Dean 75)
Subs: Harness, T Smith, M Smith, Devoy, Tripp
Goals: O’Hora 59
Northampton Town: Burge, Sowerby (Hondermarck 60), Guthrie (C) (McGowan 45), Sherring, Pinnock (Abimbola 75), Mothé (Appéré 60), Koiki (Brough 60), Simpson (Fox 60), Bowie (Trialist A 60), Leonard (Trialist B 60), Odimayo (Dyche 60)
Subs: Dadge, McGowan, Abimbola,
Goals: Pinnock 8, Abimbola 87, Fox 90