MK Dons Under-18s bow out of the FA Youth Cup after they fell short in their second-round skirmish against Southend United.
John Bitting’s boys were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup competition after their close contest resulted in a narrow 3-2 defeat. Anker’s brace was enough to instil hope within the travelling side, but not enough to catch the opponent’s advantage.
The Young Dons crafted an exciting chance within the opening minute of the game. Ed Daffern played a ball behind the Shrimpers defence with Albert Wood being the target, Wood burst into the area where the ball fell, but he failed to connect with the chance.
The early opportunity alerted the hosts, who then controlled the ball high-up the field. However, they struggled to break down the Dons’ defence.
Another chance went begging for the travelling team. Phoenix Scholtz, who received a ball out to the left from Jediah Bombo, cut inside before he unleashed a shot that flashed across the face of goal.
Southend United then opened the scoring through Max Fiddes, who gained the advantage 25 minutes into the fixture. 1-0
MK Dons had levelled the game, merely minutes after the opener. Joel Anker stood over a free-kick, which was located 20-yards away from the goalmouth. The number 11 then curled his effort around the defensive wall and bulged the top-right corner of the Shrimpers net. 1-1
Southend United rapidly responded to their set-back and regained the lead over John Bitting’s boys. Three goals were scored within a ten-minute period, Henry Sadat was the player who increased the score line to 2-1 in favour of the Shrimpers.
The action-packed first half didn’t end there. Minutes before the break, Scholtz was tripped in the box and the referee awarded the Dons with a penalty.
Tommy Blennerhasset stepped over the spot-kick, but the chance to level the game once more crashed off the right post.
Following the marginal miss, Southend United collected the ball and rushed their way up the field. An effective counter-attack from the opposition, which led to them doubling their advantage through Omari Williams. 3-1
Although down, MK Dons were not yet out. John Bitting’s boys had an electric start to the second half and cut the deficit through Anker, who claimed his brace after he fired the ball across goal. 3-2
The young Dons used momentum to their advantage and created another chance minutes after they netted their second goal. Unfortunately, Daffern’s effort was denied by the woodwork.
Fiddes looked for his brace in the 58 minute, though, Sandford stood strong and produced a great save to deny the number ten.
20 minutes before the end of regulation time, the woodwork was rattled again from a Southend strike.
The fixture concluded 3-2 in favour of the hosts, a narrow contest which the Shrimpers prevailed from.
MK Dons displayed fighting spirit throughout the game, however, their efforts were snubbed by Southend United, who knocked the young Dons out of the tournament.
MK Dons: Sandford, Wood, Scholtz (Olaleye 86), Anderson, Mann (Boyce 65), Waller (C), Bombo, Tripp, Blennerhasset, Daffern (Adepoju 65), Anker
Subs: Stacey, Lucas, Troso, Clark-Anderson
Goals: Anker 28, 46
Southend United: Purcell, Kamara (Bragg 74), Fallows, Bland, Droney, Bolarinwa, Amir, MacDonald (Shehu 85), Sandat (Hatcliff 85), Fiddes, Williams
Subs: Cerullo, Poxon, Bangs, Ebondo
Goals: Fiddes 25, Sandat 35, Williams 44