The striker came off the bench to net the winner and end the Dons’ run of two games without a goal. For large parts of the game it appeared as though the Dons’ goal drought would continue as they were kept frustrated in front of goal by Marek Stech until MacDonald struck in the 75th minute.
The Dons kept Yeovil, who have been one of the surprises of League 1 this season, quiet enough to ensure David Martin was rarely called upon but the Glovers’ resolute defence proved the trickiest aspect for the Dons.
Daniel Powell, former Glover Dean Bowditch and Man of the Match Luke Chadwick were all denied by Stech, leaving MacDonald to save the day.
Gary MacKenzie, who has been on international duty with Scotland, went straight back into the side as the only change for Karl Robinson.
Yeovil, who had won four of their five matches heading into the game, were ridged in their solid 4-4-2 formation and the early signs for spectators at stadiummk indicated a free-flowing approach from both teams.
The return of MacKenzie though, was short-lived as the centre-back appeared to pull up with a complaint and the Dons were forced into a 12th minute substitution with Antony Kay entering the fray.
The home side, as expected on their own turf, had the lion’s share of possession but it took until the 20th minute to truly test Glovers’ goalie Marek Stech. It was a wonderful move from the Dons as Daniel Powell rolled the ball from the right to the feet of Luke Chadwick, who was denied from 15-yards by a fine tip over from Stech.
Without a goal in their last two games, the Dons had spent the week working on their finishing in the final third. When Bowditch was presented a corner on the right he opted for a corner which had come straight off the training pitch, with a low ball into the box. While the delivery appeared to work, unfortunately Ryan Lowe’s fresh-air shot meant the Yeovil defence quickly cleared.
Yeovil seemed intent on playing themselves into trouble and when a sloppy pass back to the keeper it fell straight into the path of Chadwick. Yet the brave decision from Stech to come off his line and clear proved the right choice as the Dons’ route was thwarted.
Robinson’s men were on top of proceedings, but still found themselves on level terms with the visitors. There was an underlying tension bubbling in the game as the foul count began to rise, as did the yellow cards.
Former Yeovil striker Bowditch looked keen to impress against his old side, and was at the heart of a lot of the Dons’ positive play. Some great link-up play with Chadwick allowed Bowditch to whip a low ball into the box but Lowe saw his close-range effort blocked before Stephen Gleeson fired over the bar.
Yeovil started the second half brightly when former Dons player Dominic Blizzard breached the defence and was able to fire in a shot which was well-saved by David Martin. From the resulting corner the Dons
were under pressure as a last-gasp clearance on the line from Darren Potter prevented a Yeovil header finding its way to the back of the net.
The Glovers were fast out the blocks, but the Dons were quickly back at the opposite end of the pitch creating chances. As Chadwick beat the offside trap to squeeze his way through the left of the box, however, from an acute angle, was denied by the woodwork.
The Dons were finding life in front of goal extremely frustrating – they had all the build up play they required, the fine movement and the players in place to shoot but yet again Lady Luck refused to shine on them.
Chadwick in particular ran through brick walls to get into the Yeovil box, but quickly found Glovers defences tough to beat.
The fresh legs of Charlie MacDonald were introduced in the 67th minute and the striker had a chance within seconds of being on the pitch. The forward moved into position as Powell stormed his way down the left, but MacDonald found the ball stuck under his feet and the Glovers defence half-cleared to Potter who watched his follow-up deflected wide.
Dons kept banging at the door, piling relentless pressure on Yeovil and yet again Stech was called into action. Otsemobor broke down the right, cut the ball back from the byline, Powell missed but Potter’s low drill was saved by Stech. Then it was Bowditch who was left frustrated in front of goal when he latched on to a ball from Gleeson but after a poor touch, the keeper was able to save at his feet.
The goal though, finally came when an excellent long ball from Lewington allowed MacDonald to make a well-timed run. As MacDonald ran with the ball, he took a moment to compose himself before finding the bottom corner of the net.
There was a huge collective sigh of relief which echoed throughout the stadium as the Dons’ goal drought came to an end.
Former Dons loanee Keanu Marsh-Brown was brought on as a late substitute for the visitors in hope of playing an influence in an equaliser, instead it was Dons’ current winger Powell who went closest to scoring as he sent a fine strike inches over.
In injury time MacDonald thought he had a brace as he rolled home Chadwick’s ball, but the offside flag said otherwise. In the end one was plenty for the Dons.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Otsemobor, MacKenzie (Kay 12), Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Powell, Chadwick, Bowditch (Bullard 82); Lowe (MacDonald 67).
Subs not used: McLoughlin, A Smith, Chicksen, O’Shea.
Goal: MacDonald 75
Yeovil Town: Stech; Ayling (Harsh-Brown 76), Hinds, Webster (c), Ralph; Young, Blizzard, Upson, Foley; Hayter (K Smith 62), Ugwu (Reid 62).
Subs not used: Stewart, Ince, Nkumu.
Booked: Ayling, Ugwu, Webster
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)
Attendance: 7,235 (322 away)
Goal-don Goal time: 1st goal - 75