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Kick off 19:30 (UK)

07 May 2024 Venue Broadfield Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:30 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Crawley Town 3-0 MK Dons

MK Dons suffer disappointing defeat in first leg…

7 May 2024

MK Dons endured a difficult night in West Sussex as Crawley Town took the early advantage in the play-off semi-finals.

A goal after just five minutes from Liam Kelly set the tone for the evening before Jay Williams stabbed home from a free-kick on the stroke of halftime to double the hosts lead.

In the second half, a cruel deflection on Ronan Darcy’s shot took the ball over Michael Kelly for Crawley’s third to cap off a frustrating night for Mike Williamson’s side.

MK Dons head back to Stadium MK needing to overturn a three-goal deficit in the second leg in order to progress. 

Mike Williamson made just one change to the XI that started against Sutton on the final day of the regular season, with Kyran Lofthouse dropping out in favour of Cameron Norman.


MK Dons had the first chance of the play-offs from a corner won by Alex Gilbey. Jack Payne took it short and played the ball out to Joe Tomlinson. The wing-back lined up a shot from distance but his left-footed effort was always curling over the bar.

MK Dons immediately had the second chance of the game a few moments later. Michael Kelly played through Max Dean who was one-on-one with goalkeeper Corey Addai. The young forward brilliantly took the ball around the keeper and tucked the ball past him only for defender Dion Conroy to heroically clear off the line.

A few minutes later though it was Crawley Town who took the lead. Liam Kelly went on an impressive run towards the edge of the area before combining with Adam Campbell who laid the ball off perfectly for him to hit. The midfielder duly stroked the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to give the hosts the advantage. 1-0.

Max Dean continued to look lively immediately after the goal. The young forward ran at Crawley’s defence at pace before squaring the ball to Jack Payne on the edge of the box, but the midfielder was intercepted by Crawley’s defence before he could shoot.

In the 11th minute Crawley had their second real chance, Warren O’Hora’s clearance from a Crawley corner was punted back towards goal and bounced around before falling to Liam Kelly. The midfielder took the ball on the volley from the edge of the area but saw his effort stopped by a diving Michael Kelly.

It was MK Dons who had the next chance of note. Max Dean again caused Crawley’s problems with his energetic running and fashioned a shooting opportunity just inside the area, but the young striker dragged his effort just wide of the goal post.

On the half-hour mark Crawley had a great chance to add to their lead after capitalising on a mistake in midfield. Klaidi Lolos eventually found himself with time in MK Dons’ area but lingered on the ball too long and was brilliantly tackled by Warren O’Hora.

Around seven minutes later Danilo Orsi had his first chance of the evening. The Crawley number nine tried his luck from distance with an audacious effort but Michael Kelly was more than equal to it.

Not long afterwards Joe Tomlinson received the first yellow card of the evening for a foul around the halfway line. Lewis Bate then earned MK Dons second yellow around five minutes later.

In the first minute of stoppage time Crawley added a second. Will Wright sent a lofted ball into the box from a free-kick which Jay Williams steered home from close range. 2-0.


Crawley Town had the first chance of the second half after a mistake from MK Dons in defence. Harry Forster pounced on the opportunity and cut onto his left foot to shoot, but his effort was always rising over the bar.

In the 50th minute Laurence Maguire was shown a yellow card for Crawley after a nasty challenge on Stephen Wearne.

Not long afterwards Joe Tomlinson struck a powerful effort towards goal from the edge of the area with his left foot, but Corey Addai did well to palm it away.

Around five minutes later Daniel Harvie was booked for a late challenge.

On the hour mark Mike Williamson made a double substitution, with Cameron Norman and Stephen Wearne being replaced by Kyran Lofthouse and Ellis Harrison.

The changes almost made an instant impact as MK Dons played the ball through to Ellis Harrison who bore down on goal. The forward struck a curled effort from just inside the area but saw it squeeze agonisingly wide of the right-hand post.

In the 65th minute Crawley added a third. Ronan Darcy let fire from the edge of the area but the ball took a huge deflection off an MK Dons defender to loop over the top of Michael Kelly and into the net. 3-0.

Around seven minutes later Max Dean had a great chance for MK Dons from the edge of the area, but the forward sent his effort over the bar.

Not long afterwards Jack Tucker had a chance for the Dons from a corner. Jack Payne drove the ball towards the defender who attempted to nod home, but Corey Addai was able to smother it.

In the 78th minute Mike Williamson made another double change, with Alex Gilbey and Jack Payne being replaced by Emre Tezgel and MJ Williams.

A couple of minutes later Crawley had the ball in the net again only for it to be disallowed for offside.

In the 85th minute, Ellis Harrison did well to hold onto the ball for MK Dons in midfield and play it out to Kyran Lofthouse on the wing. The defender sprinted towards goal and let fire from just inside the area but saw his effort fly over the bar.

There were few chances for either team in the six minutes of stoppage time, with MK Dons left with plenty of work to do in the second leg on Saturday.


MK Dons: Kelly, Norman (Lofthouse 60), Tucker, O’Hora, Gilbey (C) (Tezgel 78), Payne (Williams 78), Tomlinson, Dean, Harvie, Wearne (Harrison 60), Bate

Subs: Marschall, Lewington, Robson


Yellow cards: Tomlinson 40, Bate 45, Harvie 56

Crawley Town: Addai, Conroy (C), L. Kelly, Maguire, Lolos, Orsi (Adeyemo 81), Forster (Gordan 60), J. Kelly (Tsaroulla 78), Williams, Campbell (Darcy 60), Wright

Subs: Sandford, Roles, Mukena

Goals: L.Kelly 5, William 45+1, Darcy 65

Yellow cards: Maguire 50

Referee: Thomas Parsons

Stadium: Broadfield Stadium

Attendance: 5,564 (675)

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