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Port Vale 1 MK Dons 0

18 April 2014

MK Dons' five-match winning run away from home came to an end on Good Friday after a 1-0 defeat to Port Vale.

Karl Robinson's side, hampered by injuries, hit the crossbar on two occasions in the first half but were denied a sixth straight away victory courtesy of Jordan Hugill's 48th minute strike.

Limited in numbers due to injuries, Dons boss Robinson switched to a 3-2-3-2 formation which included the experienced Alan Smith moving to centre-back alongside Jordan Spence and Dean Lewington. The men from MK1 were, though, bolstered by the return of Stephen Gleeson following his return from an ankle injury.

Also included in the starting XI was loanee Sanmi Odelusi and it was he, playing up-front alongside Izale McLeod, that would have the game's first chance on 5 minutes when drilled a 25-yard free-kick into the Port Vale wall.

Odelusi's strike partner, McLeod, then hit the crossbar with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area which had the Vale 'keeper, Sam Johnson, well beaten.

Robinson's men were doing a fine job of breaking up play early-on but were almost made to pay for a lapse in concentration when Ryan Lloyd broke free down the left and shot just wide of the post.

Vale left-back Carl Dickinson also threatened before the 15 minute mark with an ambitious long-range shot which, in the end, Martin comfortably gathered.

In the 20th minute, Ben Williamson was foiled by Martin as the hosts looked to cap a good spell of possession with a goal before Odelusi blasted over after being allowed the space to turn deep inside the Vale half.

The Bolton Wanderers loanee was then forced off the field following a collision with Vale striker Tom Pope, who was also substituted as a result of the incident.

Young Brendan Galloway was brought on in place of Odelusi but it was his opposite replacement who went close to making an instant impact, shooting wide from just inside the area before his team-mate Richard Duffy curled over.

Kennedy, who was looking lively in the 'number 10' role, then drilled a shot against the underside of the crossbar on 39th minute as the Dons once again threatened on the counter attack.

In the final few minutes of the first-half, Powell went close to making the Vale defense pay for allowing him to drive into their penalty area with a left-footed shot which sailed over, while, at the other end, Dickinson was denied by the crossbar as he tried to loft a weak clearance over Martin and the Dons defenders on the line.

Despite the end to end nature of the first period, neither side were able to find a breakthrough goal before half-time but just three minutes after the re-start a defensive mix-up between Smith and goalkeeper Martin allowed Hugill the opportunity to pounce and he opened the scoring with the simplest of finishes from 10-yards.

Keen not to lose their impressive winning streak on the road, the Dons went in search of a quick-fire equaliser and Powell came close to doing just that with an improvised shot from Kennedy’s cross on 57 which was palmed away brilliantly by Johnson.

With just 20 minutes remaining, Robinson brought on young Giorgio Rasulo and switched his team back to a 4-2-3-1 which allowed them to assert their authority on the Valiants in the hope of drawing level.

Hall was also introduced late-on as the Dons huffed and puffed for a goal but it just wasn't to be their day and, as a result, they slipped to ninth in Sky Bet League 1.

Port Vale: Johnson, Yates, Robertson, Dickinson, Dodds, Pope (Hugill 30), Williamson (Tomlin 83), Griffith, Lloyd, Duffy, Knott (Birchall 80).

Subs not used: Shuker, Smith.

Goal: Hugill 48

MK Dons (3-2-3-2): Martin; Spence, Smith (Rasulo 69), Lewington (c); Alli, Gleeson; Baldock, Kennedy (Hall 80), Powell; Odelusi (Galloway 31), McLeod.

Subs not used: Burns (GK), Randall, Loveridge.

Booked: Baldock

Referee: A Madley

Attendance: 5,074 (308 away)

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