MK Dons Under-18s maintained their unbeaten home record in the Youth Alliance League this season with a 2-1 win over Luton Town at Woughton-on-the-Green.
The young Dons came from behind as strikes from Jay Bird and captain Finn Tapp helped the hosts, who were unchanged from their previous home win seven days ago against Dagenham and Redbridge, beat the Hatters.
They started brightly, creating a good early chance 13 minutes in when the Hatters keeper was forced to parry away Liam Sole’s cross-cum-shot.
Against the run of play, the side from Bedfordshire went 1-0 up in the 20th minute when a break down the right saw the ball squared to Josh Neleville inside the box. His left footed shot went through a crowd of players and into the net.
The Dons regrouped and threatened on a couple of occasions with a long range shot from Sole and a dangerous whipped ball in from Dylan Asonganyi which just evaded everyone inside the area.
Right on the stroke of half-time the Dons levelled when left-back Matt Sorinola and Asonganyi combined well, before the ball found winger Bradley Bell on the right.
Bell’s cross in just evaded the incoming Dons number nine, and sat up for Bird to thump it right-footed into the corner of the net to make it 1-1 at half-time.
The Dons’ goalscorer Bird had another chance on the hour mark when his first-time right-footed shot from the edge of the area was parried over the bar by the Luton keeper.
An impressive turnaround was completed on 65 minutes when Dons captain Tapp led from the front and hit one of the strikes of the season so far – a 25-yard right-footed effort which went into the back of the net making it 2-1.
Dons substitute keeper Nathan Pickworth, who replaced the injured Alfie Jones on 40 minutes, showed good reflexes on 73 when he tipped an attempted lob from a Luton substitute over the bar.
During a frenetic finish, the side from Bedfordshire had a spell of sustained pressure on the Dons goal, and they could have levelled it in added time when a free-kick to the back post was headed towards goal.
The ball hit the woodwork but the Dons managed to scramble it away and see out time for another impressive win, in which they showed good character to bounce back from conceding their first goal at home in the league this campaign.
After the match, Edu Rubio said: “I am particularly pleased with this performance because even though it was a bit of an ugly game at times, we managed to win it, secure the ball and show character.
“It is the sort of game where you find out a lot about the players – the ones who are prepared to put the shift in and the ones who show leadership and character for the whole 90 minutes.
“It will be difficult to win every game in the league and win every game with style, so sometimes you need to win through passion, character and determination, and those are the three big values we can take today – it was ultimately a victory based on belief.
“Both the goals were well taken today, but I am particularly happy about Finn’s goal. He doesn’t score too many goals so it is refreshing that other players can score, not just the strikers.”
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jones (Pickworth 40); Ackom, Tapp (c), Hope, Sorinola; Kasumu, Pattison (Wright 75); Bell, Sole (Evans 56), Bird (Martin 69); Asonganyi.
Unused subs: None.
Goals: Bird (45), Tapp (65).