MK Dons Under-18s suffered defeat in the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup on Saturday afternoon, after falling to a 6-2 loss against Stevenage.
Despite a brace from 15-year-old Giorgio Rasulo, the Dons bowed out of the prestigious competition in front of a crowd of 315 atstadium.mk
Director of Youth Mike Dove named the same side that beat Hereford United in the opening round a couple of weeks ago with quartet Dele Alli, Brendan Galloway, Mason Spence and Rasulo all named in the starting XI after their appearance in the first team squad against Cambridge City in mid-week.
Despite a strong start from the Dons, it was the visitors who took the lead after only eight minutes when a good move led to a chance for Fejiri Okenabirhie, who finished calmly into the bottom corner of the net.
The Dons, though, levelled ten minutes later when another nice move on the edge of the penalty area saw the ball passed across to Rasulo who finished convincingly from five yards out.
The visitors were beginning to dominate and Dons ‘keeper Charlie Burns was forced to make a couple of good saves to keep the scores level.
However, Boro’s pressure paid off and on 33 minutes they retook the lead from another corner kick. The ball was swung deep into the area and after taking a couple of ricochets, it was hooked towards the goal by Jo N’Guessan.
The Dons, eager to find an early equaliser after the break, created the first chance of the second half when Will Summerfield, one of the brightest players on the day, shot just wide of goal.
The Hertfordshire outfit continued to pose a threat and seven minutes into the second half they got an important goal to extend their lead. A ball was played through to the impressive N’Guessan, whose well-timed run caught the Dons defence out and he finished with the composure of an experienced centre-forward.
The Dons heads refused to drop and they continued to cause problems, with Summerfield forcing Stevenage goalie Charlie Horlock into action once again.
Moments later and it was Burns’ to make a save and he did so confidently from a Dan Udoh close-range shot.
Dove’s side kept piling on the pressure and they pulled a goal back with 18 minutes to go after Rasulo finished nicely past the advancing Horlock for his second of the game to give hosts a glimmer of hope.
However, they were dealt a further blow just three minutes later when they conceded possession by the corner flag inside their own half which allowed a ball to be squared to Spencer McCall who finished calmly from inside the area.
The result was sealed eight minutes from time when the Dons struggled to clear their lines and Ryan Towner bent his effort in off the right hand post.
Boro then made it six in stoppage time with the last kick of the game when substitute Brandon Dujon unleashed a cracking effort from outside the area to give the scoreline a rather lopsided look.
In the end, the result flattered the visitors and the Dons will have every right to be proud of their spirited performance as they focus their attention back on their League campaign.
Speaking after the game, the boss Mike Dove said: “I’m not normally lost for words but I don’t know what to say. I thought possession wise and man for man we looked better. They are older than us and I’m not looking for excuses but there was a bit of naivety from some of our boys compared to them.
“They scored some great goals to be fair to them but I thought we had some great individual performances, especially Jon Osae who I thought did very well on the left. Dele (Alli) once again showed some technical excellence and Harry (Hickford) looked good at the back.
“Today’s game provides me, as a manager, with a lot of useful information. You get to see a different side to the players than you would on a Saturday morning at Woughton. Take away the score, I learned a lot from the game and that’s the most important thing as it’s my job to develop these boys and today will have helped me do that.”
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns; Spence (c), Galloway, Hickford, Osae; Ahmed, Alli; Rasulo, Osei-Addo (Tilney 75), Summerfield.
Subs not used: King (GK), Tshimanga, Whiltshire, Weston.
Refereee: Robbie Dadley.