MK Dons Under-18s fell to their first defeat of the season on Saturday morning, losing 4-1 away at Portsmouth.
Despite taking the lead inside of 10 minutes courtesy of a well-taken goal from Ben Tilney (pictured), a sloppy end to the first half saw Mike Dove’s side leave Hampshire empty-handed.
The Young Dons made the long trip south without quartet Brendan Galloway, Remy Forrester, Ben Grant and Aaron Weston due to suspensions and injuries which forced Dove into playing several players out of position.
Due to the reshuffling, the Dons could have been forgiven for their slow start although, if Pompey would have made the most out of two early corners, it could have cost them.
Even though the hosts looked the brighter of the two sides in the opening exchanges it was the Dons who took the lead on seven minutes thanks to first-year scholar Tilney, who hit a sweet first-time shot past the opposition ‘keeper from Kabongo Tshimanga’s cross.
The early goal, which arguably came against the run of play, seemed to spur the home side on further and they began making things increasingly difficult for the Dons – pressing the visiting youngsters high up the pitch in an attempt to win possession back quicker.
And Pompey’s pressure told a quarter of an hour in when they equalised courtesy of a sweeping move down the right which was finished off cooly by the home striker in the middle.
With their tails firmly up, Portsmouth began to cause the Dons even more problems at the back and they eventually took the lead seven minutes later after pouncing on an error from centre-back Luke Tingey.
It was another defensive error which led to Pompey’s third goal just after the half hour, this time goalscorer Tilney losing possession in a dangerous position and allowing the Pompey striker a clear run on goal.
Things then got even worse for Dove’s youngsters seven minutes before half-time when the referee adjudged Jacob Daffern to have committed a foul in the penalty area – Portsmouth converting from the spot.
Disappointed with their first half showing, the Young Dons came out for the second half keen to ride the storm and reduce the deficit.
The Dons, who introduced Danny Collinge for his first Under-18s appearance in the second half, did have chances to add a consolation or two, Tingey going closest with a right-footed shot which cannoned back off the post.
Dove also brought on England Under-17 international Hugo for the closing few minutes but even he couldn’t prevent the Dons slipping to a disappointing 4-1 defeat.
Speaking after the match, Dove said: “Although I was very disappointed with the boys at half-time we did only had three second-years on the pitch and several players out of position too.
“I asked the boys at the break for better application and a better attitude from them in the second half and I got that. The second half was slightly better, they played with a bit more courage and we didn’t concede.
“It was a good learning curve for the young players, though, to be able to deal with things not going your way and to not dwell on mistakes.
“To be fair to them, they trained really well today and hopefully they’ve put the game behind them.”
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Taylor; Osae, Wiltshire, Tingey, Okito; Daffern, Summerfield (Hugo 90); Tilney (Vaughan 68); Tshimanga (Collinge 80), Rasulo, Osei-Addo.
Unused Subs: Burns