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28 October 2023 Venue Stadium MK Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 3-2 Swindon Town

28 October 2023

MK Dons made it back-to-back Sky Bet League Two victories courtesy of a 3-2 win over Swindon Town at Stadium MK.

Mike Williamson’s men led at the break courtesy of Max Dean’s fourth effort in three home games, before an eventful second-half followed in which four goals were scored.

Swindon’s Jake Young levelled the scores on 59 minutes, only for Warren O’Hora to restore the Dons’ lead with an excellent finish. Alex Gilbey then saw a cross deflect in off George McEachran – a moment which proved crucial after Frazer Blake-Tracy headed in a late header for the visitors.

That goal was little more than a consolation, however, as Williamson’s men secured a second successive Stadium MK triumph to move to within four points of the play-off places heading into the Emirates FA Cup break.

Head Coach Williamson named the same starting XI that beat Bradford City in midweek, with Max Dean continuing to lead the line in attack with three goals to his name from his last two Stadium MK appearances.

There was an early run made by Joe Tomlinson, who was a yard away from latching onto Jack Tucker’s through pass and having a clear sight of goal. Swindon Town had a chance of their own inside the opening five minutes but Rushian Hepburn-Murphy took an air-shot when well placed inside the box.

Despite seeing a lot of the ball, it took until the 20th minute for the Dons to work their way into the Swindon penalty area. Conor Grant won possession for his side, allowing Dean to play through Gilbey. The MK Dons captain tried to cut the ball back for Tomlinson to finish but Robins goalkeeper Murphy Mahoney intercepted.

A late challenge on Daniel Harvie provided Williamson’s men with a chance to deliver a free-kick into the box from the left flank. Tomlinson, though, wasn’t able to pick out a teammate with his deep cross.

The first shot on goal came soon after, following an excellent ball around the Swindon backline from Cameron Norman to Dean. His touch was a good one, to set up the chance, but his stinging volley was brilliantly kept out by Mahoney.

Mahoney denied Dean again, diving to his left to keep out the striker’s low curling attempt from the edge of the D. The striker wasn’t to be denied a third time, however, slotting home with 39 minutes on the clock to give MK Dons the lead.

Norman won possession and found Gilbey who, in turn, picked out Grant. His pass into DEAN set the forward up for an effort on goal inside the area and, with his right foot, he coolly guided a shot past the outstretched arm of Mahoney for the game’s opener. 1-0.

The Dons maintained their advantage through until half-time and they went agonisingly close to doubling that advantage six minutes into the re-start but, after an excellent passing move which heavily involved Tomlinson, Gilbey saw his low shot kept out by the fingertips of Mahoney.

From Grant’s cutback, Gilbey had another try on 52 minutes, though this effort was blocked by a Swindon defender. That proved to be Grant’s final contribution as he was soon withdrawn in place of MJ Williams.

In the same stoppage, Swindon Town brought on their leading scorer, YOUNG, and with virtually his first touch, he pulled his side level out of nowhere – firing a right-footed shot past MacGillivray from 20 yards. 1-1.

Gilbey and Payne almost combined with a neat one-two as the Dons searched for an instant response. Then Payne and O’Hora had a go – and this one resulted in a second goal for the home side.

Intercepting a loose pass, O’HORA stepped forward and found Payne, who returned the ball into the defender’s path. The Irishman took one touch inside the area before curling a left-footed shot beyond Mahoney and into the far corner. 2-1.

The Dons went in search of a third on 70 minutes but, from Gilbey’s lay-off, Payne had his low drive blocked by a sliding defender. At the other end, MacGillivray produced a save at his near post to keep Hepburn-Murphy’s header finding the net.

Payne had another shot blocked shortly after, with Williamson’s men intent on extending their lead, rather than consolidating. Payne almost turned provider for Gilbey on 79 minutes but his midfield teammate was denied at point-blank range by Mahoney.

The Dons were almost made to pay for that missed chance a minute later but Hepburn-Murphy headed wide when well placed inside the area. Williamson then readied a triple change but before he could introduce his trio from the bench, his side extended their lead.

A neat passing move down the right eventually saw Gilbey set away Norman, who held his run well to allow the MK Dons captain to catch him up. Gilbey received the pass on the underlap and took his time before drilling in a low cross which, inadvertently, diverted into the net off the sliding McEACHRAN. 3-1.

The triple change came after then, with Dawson Devoy, Jonathan Leko and Mo Eisa all introduced by Williamson for the closing stages.

His side were forced to battle their way through six minutes of stoppage time and, in the third of those, they saw their lead cut in half by a header from BLAKE-TRACY, who got on the end of a deep free-kick to make it 3-2.

Their wasn’t to be a dramatic late fightback from the visitors, however, as Williamson’s men hung on to celebrate their second home victory of the week. A huge boost for the Dons, who are now back in the top half of the Sky Bet League Two table.

MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker, O’Hora, Gilbey, Payne (Leko 86), Tomlinson, Grant (Williams 56), Robson (Devoy 86), Dean (Eisa 86), Harvie.

Subs: Kelly, Smith, Ilunga.

Goals: Dean (39), O’Hora (66), McEachran OG (84)

Booked: Grant, Harvie, Eisa

Swindon Town: Mahoney, Hutton, Clayton (Young 55), Blake-Tracy, McEachran, Khan, Hepburn-Murphy, Godwin-Malife, Kinsella (Minturn 82), Shade, Austin (Obodo 89).

Subs: Ward, Genesini, Hart, Alston.

Goals: Young (59), Blake-Tracy (90+4)

Booked: Clayton, Khan, McEachran

Referee: R Joyce

Attendance: 7,821 (2,595 away)

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