Two late goals helped MK Dons Under-18s to come from behind and win their first home match of 2019 in the Youth Alliance League at Woughton-on-the-Green.
Goals in the last five minutes from sub Recoe Martin and Jay Bird helped the Dons to a win against Leyton Orient who proved dogged and stubborn opponents throughout.
The Dons had two chances in the first quarter courtesy of Jenson Wright however both the number ten’s efforts missed the target.
The Londoners took the lead from a set piece in the 25th minute after a free-kick from the right hand side was whipped into the box and headed home by O’s captain Mason Hall – 0-1.
Five minutes later, the Dons had a great double chance to level after a ball in found Bird whose close range header was clawed away by the Orient keeper.
Some indecisive defending saw the ball only cleared as far as Dylan Asonganyi whose shot from just inside the box went wide of the goal.
The Dons were now enjoying their first sustained spell of pressure and moments after Asonganyi’s chance, Bird tested the O’s keeper who had to parry his shot away from the edge of the area.
Chances were at a premium early in the second half as both teams adjusted to tactical substitutions.
The Dons best opening of the second period came around the midway point as sub Martin produced a driving run into the box, beating a couple of players in the process, but his effort missed the target.
Minutes later Orient threatened to kill the game off but after a blocked shot the rebound came to the visitors number nine who struck the post when it seemed easier to score, before a third effort was wayward and the Dons survived.
Martin produced another good driving run into the penalty area with 12 minutes remaining, forcing the Orient keeper into blocking his shot.
A deserved leveller eventually came for the Dons with five minutes remaining albeit with a helping hand from the O’s who gave the ball away on the edge of their own box.
The ball found its way to Martin in space just inside the box and he smartly guided a first time shot into the bottom right hand corner to make it 1-1.
The Dons comeback was complete in stoppage time after a spell of pressure from the hosts. The ball came to Bird just inside the area whose low, close-range effort went into the net to make it 2-1 to the Dons.
The Under-18s held on for a hard-earned three points and, after the match, Edu Rubio said: “We had a poor first quarter of the game and conceded a sloppy goal.
“We reacted well and finished the first half with more chances and could have levelled. The whole of the second half we dominated, we created chances and kept Leyton Orient quiet.
“I felt we deserved the win and what is good is that we had to fight for the victory – the boys have shown a lot of character. The fight, the belief, the determination was second to none – I’m very pleased.
"What we have to learn from this game is not to start poorly because you then give yourself a scenario where you have to work much harder than you should. Over the next week we will be working on crosses into the area and finishing.
"We have won three games in a row and had six or seven good performances so we want to generate momentum for the merit league in February.”
Starting XI: Jones, Sule, Leach, Pattison (c), Davies, Ackom (Davies 73), Bird, Sorinola, Asonganyi (Martin 61), Wright (Holmes 70), Brennan (Robinson 46).
Unused sub: Rose.
Goals: Martin 86, Bird 90+1.
Referee: Cameron Smith.