Milton Keynes Dons 2 v 6 Stevenage
Saturday 18th August 2012
Milton Keynes Dons Under 18s suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 6-2 to local rivals Stevenage at Woughton on the Green on Saturday.
Despite goals from Kelvin Osei-Addo and Will Summerfield, the Dons were powerless to stop Stevenage who scored three second-half goals in quick succession to help secure their win.
Welcoming back Brendan Galloway from his recent trip with England U-17 and both Mason Spence and Leon Lobjoit from injury, Mike Dove had a much more experienced squad than he did the previous week against Northampton Town and decided it was a good time to test his side, starting with a three-man defence.
The Dons started brightly and retained the ball well in their new-look formation but were dealt a blow with only seven minutes on the clock when a gap opened up between the Dons defenders and they were made to pay as the Stevenage striker broke through and finished confidently.
The Dons continued to play their neat style of football but with 20 minutes gone they found themselves 2-0 down after the Boro right winger was able to dribble into the box unopposed and finish past Charlie Burns.
With the Dons struggling to adapt to their new formation, Dove made the decision to drop Ben Grant into defence and it work wonders as the Dons pulled one back.
After Galloway was brought down 30-yards out, Osei-Addo collected a Summerfield short free-kick and managed to squeeze the ball under the ‘keeper.
The Dons certainly finished the half better than how they started and within minutes of the re-start they grabbed an equaliser.
After the referee had played advantage from a foul in the middle of the park, the Dons found themselves overloading the Boro box and it was Will Summerfield who was given the chance to slot home and he obliged.
Stevenage looked rattled and Dove’s youngsters were inches from taking the lead when Galloway had a shot on the hour mark but it flew just wide of the ‘keepers post.
The Dons then seemed to take their foot off the pedal, struggling to keep hold of the ball and they were punished in the 64th minute when the Stevenage winger was able to drive in the area and somehow manage to get his shot through a crowd of Dons defenders and past Burns.
Then, within two minutes, Boro had a fourth after Charlie Burns did excellently to save an initial shot but his parry fell straight to the feet of the Stevenage front man who couldn’t miss from 6 yards.
The Dons were forced to pull off the injured Lobjoit in the 71st minute allowing Dove an opportunity to bring on some fresh legs in an attempt to kick-start another Dons comeback but any hopes of that were shattered when the Dons failed to clear a long-thrown allowing a Boro player to get a shot away and power into the net.
Galloway, fresh from his stay with the Three Lions at the Nordic Tournament, had another chance to get on the scoresheet but was unable to round the Stevenage goalkeeper after breaking free of the defence.
Stevenage had time to grab a sixth late on with the Stevenage striker beating Charlie Burns to the ball allowing him to slot home into an empty net to round off a bad day at the office for the Under 18s.
Mike Dove spoke to mkdons.com after the game and said: “We will use this game as a lesson for all of us.
“Stevenage were up for it from the start and didn’t allow us space or time to play football but at times our composure and passing was excellent.
“We’re playing new teams this season that are much more organised and physical but the quality of our boys is shining through we’ve just got to match the teams and control the game more.”
Dove also took time out to praise a few of his players, including Dele Alli who was unavailable for the game having been selected for the first-team by Karl Robinson to face Oldham Athletic.
“I was very pleased for Dele (Alli) for being named on the bench for the first-team and Brendan who linked up with them after our match.
“I am also delighted with Kelvin (Osei-Addo) who has adapted brilliantly to the challenge this season and is scoring goals.”
MK Dons: Burns, Spence (c), Hickford, Forrester, Whiltshere, Galloway, Lobjoit (Walsh 71), Grant, Summerfield (Tshimanga 71), Osei-Addo (Vaughan 86), Rasulo.
Subs not used: King, Weston.