MK Dons Under-18s recovered from losing a 3-0 lead to grab a thrilling 4-3 win against Stevenage at Woughton on the Green in their second Youth Alliance Football League Cup game.
The Dons went three goals to the good, but Boro pulled one back before the break and added a further two second-half strikes to level the scores. However, the Dons dug deep and Kelvin Osei-Addo’s second of the game earned the Dons the spoils.
In an epic encounter, chances were at a premium in the first half-hour with Osei-Addo looking particularly threatening for the Dons, while the visitors’ forwards were caught offside on a number of occasions by a well-organised Dons defence.
The game sprung into life on 28 minutes when the ball found a way to Dele Alli on the edge of the box after a neat passing move. After receiving the ball, Alli set himself and curled a beautiful flighted effort away from Horlock into the corner of the net.
Buoyed by the goal, the Dons took charge and doubled their lead three minutes later. Boro keeper Charlie Horlock, who was regularly coming out of his goal to try and smother through balls made a misjudgement and got into a muddle with his defenders.
The ball squirted loose and found its way through to Mo Ahmed who finished calmly into an unguarded net.
Things got even better for Mike Dove’s side four minutes before the break when Giorgio Rasulo’s through ball found Osei-Addo, who finished well into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
However, the momentum of the match shifted just before the break when Dons right-back Jake Lloyd conceded a penalty, with Spencer McCall tucking away the spot-kick for the visitors to make it 3-1.
Boro started strongest after the break and when the Dons gave away the ball trying to pass out from the back on 58 minutes, it allowed Brandon Dujon to reduce the deficit further.
The Hertfordshire side then equalised just two minutes later when a good run from Jimmy Hartley caught the Dons backline out. He squared to Rohdell Gordon who finished well, and the game was back level.
The Dons were not to be denied though and with just eight minutes remaining struck the decisive blow with the impressive Osei-Addo picking up the ball, skipping through a couple of tackles and finishing well for his second goal of the game.
Despite the odd nervous moment the Dons held on for three valuable points meaning they have now won both of their group games in the Youth Alliance Football League.
Afterwards, Director of Youth Mike Dove said: “It was the sort of match that sums us up. We started brightly, took an early lead, went 3-0 up and then gave a penalty away just like the Leyton Orient game.
“We spoke about it at half-time and I said we have been here before, that they will come out strongly and we have to cope with it and unfortunately we did not.
“We played some great football at times; we did the right things a lot of the time. The boys were brave and courageous and did all the things our philosophies want us to do.
“We play what we consider to be the right way here at MK Dons, and I didn’t like how in the end we had to start playing longer balls in order to get the result because it was a cup game.
“Fortunately, Kelvin put the chance away at the end of the game and we went 4-3 up. We got the win and I am pleased that we came out on the right side of the result this time.”
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns (c); Lloyd (Foster 53), Galloway, Hickford, Okito; Ahmed, Alli; Osae (Weston 70); Rasulo, Osei-Addo, Summerfield.