Milton Keynes Dons Under-18s produced an impressive performance to come from behind to beat Luton Town Under-18s 3-2 courtesy of a double from Mo Ahmed on Saturday morning.
In a match that was switched to Woughton on the Green due to the Hatters pitch being unplayable, the Dons recovered from conceding after just 33 seconds to claim all three points.
The Dons made five changes from the side which beat Leyton Orient in their last league game in December, with Amiel King, Dele Alli, Brendan Galloway, Giorgio Rasulo and Ben Tilney making way for Charlie Burns, Kyran Wiltshire, Kyron Walsh, Jay Taylor and Kabongo Tshimanga.
The hosts were caught off-guard at the start as the visitors took the lead inside the first minute. The ball was played through to Leroy Magurauke, whose shot was placed nicely into the bottom left hand corner to give Luton an early advantage.
The Dons responded well and managed to find a foothold in the game, and they equalised in the 18th minute. A corner was played in from the right hand side, and after bouncing around in the penalty area, the ball appeared to go in off Dons forward Kelvin Osei-Addo.
Dons keeper Burns was then forced to make a good save to claw away a goal-bound header from a corner just a minute later, and although the visitors dominated the remainder of the first half, they could not make their pressure pay, missing several good chances.
The Dons were then given a big let-off early in the second half when Burns fumbled a ball inside the area, however neither of the two onrushing Luton players could capitalise on the loose ball.
Against the run of play, Mike Dove’s side then took the lead ten minutes into the second period courtesy of a moment of individual brilliance from Ahmed. The midfielder received the ball on the edge of the area, took a couple of touches to control the ball, and then hit a superb right-footed effort into the bottom corner of the net.
Burns was forced to be on his toes again shortly after, saving in a one-on-one situation from Zane Banton to preserve the hosts lead. Burns then came off injured with 13 minutes to go, with Amiel King replacing him between the sticks.
The hosts then gave themselves a two-goal cushion with six minutes remaining. The ball was played back to Luton keeper Ben Barnes by one of his defenders, however Barnes’ clearance was charged down by Ahmed, and it looped over Barnes and into the unguarded net for 3-1.
Things got tense for the Dons with just three minutes to go, as the visitors pulled one back. A deep cross into the area was headed down and in by Hatters substitute Adrian Pittfield.
However, the hosts held on to start 2013 with three hard-earned points against a Luton side that missed several good opportunities.
Afterwards Dons Director of Youth Dove said: “It wasn’t the best conditions today. The pitch cut up quite a bit but it was a good win to start the year.
“I’m really pleased for Mo with his two goals today. He works really hard and he’s a lovely lad. I thought the boys as a team though did really well.”
On conceding an early goal, Dove said: “Most teams know we try and play out from the back. They came here and had a plan. They came out very lively as a whole unit, they pressed and they worked hard as a team. I think we just got a bit sloppy. It’s one of those things.
“We had a lot of changes today because Brendan Galloway was suspended and some of our players were with the first team. There were a lot of things that the younger players could learn from today.
“Overall, though I’m pleased that the boys started back with a win in the league, and I’m especially pleased that I got to see some of the younger players in action.”
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns (King 77): Spence (c), Hickford, Walsh (Weston 60), Osae: Wiltshire, Ahmed: Summerfield: Taylor (Tingey 77), Osei-Addo, Tshimanga.
Subs not used: Tilney, Vaughan.
Goals: Osei-Addo 17, Ahmed 55, 84.