MK Dons exited the Berks and Bucks FA Senior Cup at the Quarter-Final stage after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Slough Town at Arbour Park.
Russell Martin’s men found themselves two goals down after 24 minutes courtesy of two stunning goals from Scott Davies and Ben Harris – the former finding the net from inside his own half.
Dylan Asonganyi pulled a goal back before the break and then doubled his tally from the penalty spot early in the second period.
With nothing to separate the two sides after 90 minutes, the tie was decided on penalties, with the home side coming out on top in the shoot-out, 3-2.
The Dons named a strong starting line-up, with all-but-two of the XI on professional terms with the Club. The two exceptions were first-year scholar Jack Davies and trialist Mich’el Parker – they were both in defence.
They made a fast start too, with Kieran Agard forcing a save out of Rebels goalkeeper Jack Turner inside the opening 50 seconds. Jordan Bowery also had an effort saved by the Rebels keeper, shortly after.
It was the hosts, though, who would open the scoring – and in some style too – with midfielder Davies finding the net with an audacious effort from inside his own half. 1-0.
They would then double their lead on 24 minutes courtesy of another terrific strike – this one a curling free-kick by Ben Harris, 25-yards from goal. 2-0.
Turner denied Agard just after the half-hour with a diving save to his right but he could do nothing to stop Dylan Asonganyi reducing the deficit five minutes later. The striker latched onto a pass from Charlie Pattison before firing his shot across goal and in off the left upright. 2-1.
Slough started the second-half brightly, looking to restore their two-goal advantage. Substitute Dan Roberts had their best chance of the opening exchanges, but dragged his left-footed shot wide.
The Dons were then denied an equaliser when, after a one-two between the pair, Asonganyi’s square pass to Agard was intercepted - his striker partner would have had an open goal to slot into, had the ball got through.
Asonganyi was back on the ball moments later, eventually upended unfairly in the penalty area after some excellent footwork. The striker picked himself to take the spot-kick and confidently sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to equalise with his second. 2-2.
Aaron Kuhl threatened an instant reply from the home side but was twice denied by Parker. At the other end, Agard flashed wide after Slough failed to deal properly with a corner.
First-year scholars Malaki Black and Tom Rowley came off the bench with a little over an hour played, replacing Davies and McGrandles. Within seconds of their introduction, Nombe drove down the left flank but had a low cross intercepted on its way through to Agard.
With an eye on Saturday’s trip to Oxford United, Nombe was withdrawn shortly after and replaced by Ryan Harley. He was involved in the build-up to an Asonganyi chance on 74 minutes – the striker had a right-footed curler deflected wide.
Agard had an opportunity with 10 minutes to play, but was denied, one-on-one, by Turner. That was the closest either side came to a winning goal in regulation, meaning it was penalties that had to decide the winner.
Both sides converted their opening penalties before Turner kept out Boateng’s spot-kick to give his side the advantage. They doubled that lead after Agard fired over but Fisher’s save, and Bowery’s finish, reduced it back to one.
First-year scholar Black showed great confidence to step up and take the Dons’ final penalty, knowing he had to convert. His 12-yard effort, though, fired back off the post, leading to celebrations from those in amber at Arbour Park.
MK Dons: Fisher, Pattison, Davies (Black 61), McGrandles (Rowley 61), Parker, Cargill, Asonganyi, Boateng, Bowery, Agard, Nombe (Harley 68).
Subs: Rose, Bailey.
Goal: Asonganyi (37, pen 51)
Penalties scored: Cargill, Bowery
Penalties missed: Boateng, Agard, Black
Booked: Boateng, McGrandles
Slough Town: Turner, Wells, L Togwell, Worsfold, B Harris (Roberts 46), Williams (S Togwell 81), Nisbet, Davies, Kuhl, Fraser, Hodges (W Harris 54).
Goal: Davies (14), B Harris (24)
Penalties scored: Roberts, Turner, Davies,
Penalties missed: Nisbet
Referee: J Richardson