MK Dons Under-18s were made to pay for a poor first half performance as they lost 3-1 to Northampton Town on Tuesday afternoon.
Cobblers striker Kieran Fitzgerald scored a first half hat-trick, and despite an improved second half showing, a Will Summerfield (pictured) strike was all the Dons had to show for their efforts.
The hosts showed two changes from the side that were beaten 5-1 at home by AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, with Aaran Weston and Laurence Vaughan replacing Kyran Wiltshire and Kelvin Osei-Addo.
The Dons started on the front foot and created the first penetrating move of the game four minutes in, which saw a shot blocked by the visitors keeper, before the ball was scrambled to safety.
However, it was the visitors who took the lead on nine minutes as the ball was played through to Fitzgerald who ran into the area and rounded the advancing Wim Van Der Schoot before finishing into an unguarded net.
The Northamptonshire side continued to look threatening and Van Der Schoot was forced to make a couple of good saves after visiting players got clear runs at the hosts goal.
They made their dominance count just after the half-hour mark, when a long goal-kick found their number nine who lobbed Van Der Schoot to double the Cobblers advantage.
Northampton’s number nine then completed his hat-trick ten minutes later when a through ball found him on the left hand side, before he beat a Dons defender and rolled the ball into the left corner of the net.
Dons Director of Youth Mike Dove decided to bring in fresh legs into the side on the hour mark and introduced two under-16s, Connor Furlong and Kevin Owusu, into the side. The duo’s introduction seemed to give the hosts more impetus, and they began to dominate proceedings.
On 79 minutes their improved performance was rewarded as Gedeon Okito produced a good run down the left side, took on and beat a Northampton player and crossed into the box, where an incoming Will Summerfield drilled the ball into the net.
The hosts’ confidence increased on the back of the goal, and soon after substitute Owusu’s free-kick was parried round the post by the Northampton goalie as the Dons got some momentum.
It was all too late though as the hosts were left to reflect on a poor first half performance which ultimately decided the outcome of the game.
After the match, Director of Youth Dove said: “I think we gave away some poor goals in the first half and I was annoyed at half-time with our performance.
“I don’t normally get cross or angry but I was looking for a response after Saturday’s game and I was disappointed with our lack of passion and desire both defensively and going forward.
“I decided to put the two young boys (Connor Furlong and Kevin Owusu) on and change the shape of the team, and the substitutes energy sparked the rest of the boys into life.
“I thought Connor looked very confident, he has got great vision and technical ability and I am excited by his potential. Kevin added a lot of energy and they made things happen.
“We had the momentum once we scored the first goal and if we had got another one quickly, we could have gone on and won the game.”
MK Dons (4-1-2-3): Van Der Schoot; Daffern (Owusu 59), Hickford (c), Forrester (Wiltshire 28), Okito; Tingey; Summerfield, Weston; Vaughan (Furlong 59), Tilney, Tshimanga.
Subs not used None.
Booked: Van Der Schoot, Daffern.
Goal: Summerfield 79.