MK Dons Under-18s let go a three goal lead to succumb to a 4-3 loss at the hands of Leyton Orient on Saturday morning.
Ben Tilney, Georgio Rasulo and Dele Alli (pictured) gave the Dons a convincing lead after 35 minutes but an Orient goal on the brink of half-time and a ten-minute goal salvo saw the Dons slip to their fourth defeat of the season.
Mike Dove made only one change to the side that drew 2-2 with Luton Town last weekend with Harry Hickford coming into for Kyran Wiltshire at the back. Dele Alli, the scorer of the dramatic late penalty in that game continued in the centre of midfield alongside Mo Ahmed.
The Dons started the game poorly and gave the ball away far too often, allowing the home side some early chances on goal.
However, the visitors grew into it and could have taken the lead inside twenty minutes but Kelvin Osei-Addo missed a trio of chances, most notably hitting the ball straight at the ‘keeper after being put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
The Dons then had a penalty appeal waved away with 20 minutes gone, after Rasulo appeared to have been tripped in the box, before Dove’s side opened the scoring two minutes later.
After some terrific build-up play, Alli spotted the run of Tilney and played a delightful ball through to the winger who toed it past the ‘keeper to put the Dons ahead.
It could have been two almost straight away but Will Summerfield’s shot was blocked after some good work down the right from captain Mason Spence.
The Dons then grabbed that second goal ten minutes later through Rasulo, who latched onto a through-ball from Tilney and, at the second attempt, knocked the ball home to extend the margin.
Soon it was three thanks to the impressive Alli who, after setting away Osei-Addo down the wing, latched onto the wide man’s cross and coolly slotted home to give the Dons a comfortable lead before half-time.
Orient gave themselves hope before the break from the penalty spot after Brendan Galloway was adjudged to have pushed an Orient player in the box.
Dove was pleased with his side’s performance in the first period but warned the players that Orient would come out buoyant after their late goal just before the whistle.
Unfortunately, The O’s did exactly that and pulled a goal back three minutes in when an Orient player climbed highest to head home a free-kick from the right.
The Dons were dealt a blow two minutes later when Alli, who was controlling things in the middle for the travelling side, was forced to come off due to injury.
Eager to find an equaliser, Orient launched everything at the Dons defence and caused problems with their long balls and dangerous set pieces.
Then, just before the hour, a long ball was held up well by an O’s striker who laid off for the onrushing midfielder whose shot was too strong for Burns, levelling the scores up at 3-3.
Three minutes after the turnaround was complete after a cross from the right wasn’t dealt with and an Orient player was on hand at the back post to drive past the Dons’ ‘keeper.
Dove’s team didn’t give up and could have made it all square again through Osei-Addo but just like earlier, the Dons’ youngster couldn’t find the goal when one-on-one with the man between the sticks.
Despite some more pressure from the visitors, the Dons couldn’t find an equaliser and fell to their first defeat in two games.
Speaking after the game, Director of Youth Dove said: “I thought we were fantastic in the first half but their late goal gave them an incentive going into the second and they came out really up for it and we seemed to crumble.
“I’m disappointed with the result but the football we played was fantastic and I still believe we’re doing what’s right for the Football Club.
“I thought Dele (Alli) was excellent as well as both Harry (Hickford) and Georgio (Rasulo) who both did very well.
“But we need to play better when we’re up against it but it’s all a learning curve for them.”
The Dons now take a break from League action as they travel to Peterborough in the Youth Alliance Regional cup this weekend.
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns; Spence (c), Hickford, Galloway, Osae; Alli (Tingey 50), Ahmed; Summerfield; Osei-Addo (Tshimanga 82), Rasulo, Tilney.
Subs not used: Okito.