A 90th minute penalty saw MK Dons Under-18s fall to a 3-2 defeat to Aldershot Town on Saturday morning.
Despite first half goals from Will Summerfield and Dele Alli, it was the Dons who found themselves on the losing side in a five-goal thriller at Woughton on the Green. Mike Dove’s side were also reduced to nine-man during the game following red cards to both Alli and Brendan Galloway.
Director of Youth Dove made three changes to the team that was beaten by Stevenage in the FA Youth Cup back in November with trio Amiel King, Kyran Whiltshire and Ben Tilney replacing Charlie Burns, Ben Grant and Mo Ahmed.
The Dons started brightly and immediately put the visiting Shots under pressure as they went in search of their first victory in the Youth Alliance League since early September.
And that victory looked all the more likely when Summerfield opened the scoring with only five minutes on the clock. After some scrappy play inside the Aldershot penalty area, Summerfield found himself with time and space on the right-hand side of the six-yard box and his cut-back was turned in by a helpless Shots defender.
The lead, though, didn’t last as the travelling Shots drew level five minutes later. After the Dons defence failed to deal with a long ball up-field, Town’s number 9 was able to race through and toe the ball past Amiel King to make it all-square.
The Young Dons then fell behind 11 minutes later when, after a terrific cross-field ball, the Aldershot right-winger beat the Dons’ offside trap and cooly slotted the ball past King and into the bottom corner.
However, it wasn’t long before Dove’s team pulled themselves back level and in some style. Giorgio Rasulo, who scored on his debut for England U-16s during the week, showed great awareness to spot the run of Alli and the midfielder cooly lifted the ball over the on-rushing goalie with such aplomb.
Things then turned sour for Alli moments later, when he was shown a straight red-card for an apparent elbow on a Shots midfielder, much to everyone’s surprise. The sending off forced Dove into making a substitution on the half-hour mark, with the adopting a 4-4-1 formation in order to protect their point.
The Dons showed great character and inner strength to hold onto the 2-2 scoreline with the difference in numbers playing a part for most of the second half.
But despite the hard-work and the determination of the Dons youngsters, Town were able to snatch a winner right at the death. After Harry Hickford was penalised for a hold inside the Dons penalty box, a spot-kick was awarded which, unfortunately for the home team, was tucked away confidently to condemn the Dons to their second successive defeat.
Galloway was shown a red-card for his protests as the Dons finished with only nine-men left on the field of play.
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): King; Spence (c), Hickford, Galloway, Osae; Whiltshire, Alli; Rasulo; Summerfield, Osei-Addo, Tilney (Tingey 30).
Subs: Van der Schoot (GK), Ahmed, Tshimanga, Weston.
Goals: Summerfield 5, Alli 24