MK Dons Under-18s’ six-game unbeaten run came to an end last Thursday after a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage.
Mike Dove’s side, who without duo Dele Alli and Giorgio Rasulo who were away on international duty, made the journey to Hertfordshire looking to make it seven games without defeat in the Youth Alliance League.
However, it was their opponents Stevenage who started brightest, with the Dons struggling to deal with their physicality and direct style of play early on.
Dove’s men, though, did have claims for a penalty in the 12th minute but the match official waved away the visitor’s appeals after Jon Osae appeared to be tripped in the area after cutting in from the left.
That penalty shout was the Dons’ only real bright moment in the first 30 minutes and the travelling youngsters’ frustration began to show, with captain Mason Spence picking up a booking for dissent after a dangerous looking free-kick was just about cleared by the Dons defence.
It took until the 32nd minute for the visitors to have their first shot on goal but when put through on goal, Will Summerfield couldn’t direct his effort past the Boro ‘keeper.
Two minutes later, though, the Dons did take the lead courtesy of Ben Grant (pictured), who was able to smash a powerful shot home after being found by Brendan Galloway on the edge of the box.
Despite holding onto the lead until half-time, the Dons were once again put under pressure from re-start and an early effort from the hosts just whistled past Charlie Burns’ post, after some good open play.
Kelvin Osei-Addo then had a chance to double his side’s advantage when put through one-on-one but the young striker opted against pulling the trigger and instead laid a ball onto his team-mate Summerfield, who was in an offside position.
Dove’s team, who were enjoying their best spell of the game by far, couldn’t seem to find a way past the stubborn Stevenage defence as they tried to carve out a second goal and they were made to pay in the 72nd minute.
After trying to play the ball out from the back, the Dons lost possession deep inside their own third and the Stevenage striker was in the right place at the right time to pounce and finish past Burns.
Boro then took the lead moments later after the visitor’s once again surrendered possession of the ball, allowing the home forward another clear shot on target from which he didn’t miss.
The Dons did have a chance to grab a point in the closing stages after some good work from Galloway but after Osei-Addo’s effort was saved, Spence’s follow-up was turned away by another fantastic diving save.
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns; Spence (c), Hickford, Galloway, Osae; Ahmed, Wiltshire; Grant; Ongono (Forrester 63), Osei-Addo, Summerfield.
Daffern, Collinge.Subs not used: