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U-18s draw after late comeback

23 September 2012

MK Dons Under-18s produced a stirring comeback with two goals in the last ten minutes to earn a point at home to Luton Town at Woughton on the Green on Saturday.

After conceding twice in the opening 25 minutes, the Dons grew into the match and produced a great late rally, with goals from Brendan Galloway and a last minute Dele Alli penalty enough to earn the hosts a share of the spoils.
 
The Dons got off to a bad start as the visitors took the lead just three minutes into the game. Goalkeeper Charlie Burns, returning to the under-18s after being called up by the first team, came out to block an early chance however Hatters striker Arel Amu rounded the stranded keeper and finished cooly into the net away from the covering Dons defender on the line.
 
Luton continued to dominate the early stages with striker Jemale McKenzie-Lowe proving a real handful for the Dons back-line. McKenzie-Lowe and goalscorer Amu each had chances to extend the Hatters advantage, before the visitors won a penalty after Jordan Davis was fouled by Burns, who came out of goal and mistimed his challenge on the midfielder. The penalty was subsequently converted by Charlie Smith into the bottom right hand corner as he sent Burns the wrong way.

The visitors continued to threaten with McKenzie-Lowe's height and strength posing constant problems. It took until the 37th minute for the Dons to have their first chance on goal as Kyran Wiltshire's effort was comfortably saved by visiting keeper Ben Barnes.
 
After some strong words from Director of Youth Mike Dove at half-time, the Dons improved in the second half and although they were not always creating clear-cut chances on goal, they were growing into the game having more possession and causing the Hatters problems with their runs at the defence.
 
As the visitors became more frustrated, they were committing fouls and the game began to break-up. The hosts then got the goal their dominance deserved on 81 minutes after a good individual effort from Brendan Galloway who finished well past the advancing keeper Barnes.

The Dons were now on top and had a chance to grab an equaliser after a nice ball through to Kelvin Osei-Addo, whose shot was blocked by Barnes.
 
The hosts were not to be deterred and on 90 minutes their reward came as a penalty was given for a foul on Giorgio Rasulo. The penalty was taken by Dele Alli who drilled it hard down the middle to earn the Dons a well-deserved point.
 
Afterwards, Director of Youth Mike Dove admitted he was frustrated at his side's poor start to the game.

He said: "I'm unhappy with the first-half performance. We only had two shots and we allowed Luton to dominate.

“We showed them too much respect. I thought we had better technically gifted players however we didn't match their hard work, discipline and organisation.
 
"We have to recover and defend, make forward runs and work for each other. We needed to have a similar mentality to the last home game against Peterborough. I wasn't happy at half-time and they knew it."
 
Dove shuffled his pack at half-time with a few changes of position and personnel, however he added the main reason for the team's improvement was individual performances.

"Our reward came because we got two goals. It was all about improving individual’s performances. It doesn't always matter what shape you play.
 
"We just needed to add 20 percent more mental strength and work-rate in making forward runs and recovering back and we did that.

“Next time our aim will be to get a complete performance. We have individual targets and aims to take forward, and although I'm pleased we got a point I am frustrated because I know we can do better."
 
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns; Wiltshire, Galloway, Spence (c), Osae; Ahmed (Tshimanga 45), Alli; Summerfield; Osei-Addo, Tilney, Rasulo.

Subs not used: King (GK), Weston, Walsh, Logan.

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