MK Dons Under-18s were beaten 5-4 by Gillingham in a nine-goal thriller on Saturday morning.
Mike Dove’s side had won two on the bounce heading into the weekend but faced a difficult trip task in defeating the Gills as they looked to pick up three points in their penultimate game of the League season.
But despite their recent run of good form, the Young Dons started slowly and fell behind in the 20th minute after the hosts were awarded a penalty, which was subsequently converted.
The goal, though, seemed to spur Dove’s boys on and they equalised 15 minutes later through skipper Mo Ahmed, who struck a sweet left-footed shot into the top corner after some good work by Kelvin Osei-Addo on the edge of the Gills box.
Then, moments later, the visitors took the lead when Dele Alli (pictured) beat the Gills ‘keeper at his near post after playing a neat one-two with Giorgio Rasulo.
A fourth goal in 20 minutes, though, saw the hosts draw level after Brendan Galloway failed to control Charlie Burns’ pass, allowing a Gills striker a clear shot on goal.
The first-half scoring wasn’t done there and just three minutes before the break, Alli netted his second goal of the match by curling a 25-yard free-kick straight into the top corner.
Although his side were in the lead at the interval, Director of Youth Dove was keen to stress to his players that they would need to step up their performance if they were to hold onto their slight advantage.
The Young Dons, though, didn’t respond and they were duely punished in the 55th minute when Burns was wrong-footed with a close-range shot after his initial save fell straight to an opposition forward.
Ten minutes later and the hosts regained the lead for a second time courtesy of a sweet right-footed finish from the Gillingham left winger, which left Burns with no chance.
Credit must go to the Dons, though, as they remained true to their philosophy in search of an equaliser but, unfortunately for them, the points were sealed 12 minutes before the end when the Gills captain was able to skip past two Dons defenders before slotting past Burns.
The boys from MK1 did grab a consolation late through Alli, who completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being tugged back in the area, but it wasn’t enough for Dove’s side as Gillingham were able to see out the victory.
After the game, Dove said: “I’m disappointed with the overall application following on from our two impressive home games. The players have got to learnt to motivate themselves and and deliver a level of attitude which is in line with their ability.
“But, we’ll now look forward to our last League game of the season next week where we need to put all the elements required for a good performance together, in order to end the year on a high.”
Burns; Osae, Hickford, Galloway, Okito (Tilney 72); Alli, Weston; Rasulo; Summerfield, Osei-Addo, Ahmed.MK Dons (4-2-1-3):
Unused subs: Taylor, Vaughan.