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Under-18s 1 Watford 0

19 March 2014

Milton Keynes Dons Under-18s claimed a hard-earned victory after they beat Watford 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon.

In a match the Dons dominated, the crucial goal came seven minutes before half-time from striker Kabongo Tshimanga.

Mike Dove made one change to the side which drew 0-0 at home to Peterborough United in their last league game in February as Remy Forrester replaced Laurence Vaughan.

The home side controlled the early exchanges and were creating the better chances however they failed to work the Watford keeper, with both Kelvin Osei-Addo and Will Summerfield shooting over after getting into good positions.

Just after the half-hour mark the Dons worked their best opening of the match so far, as good play around the penalty box saw the ball come through to Summerfield on the penalty spot.

The midfielder was unable to get the ball out from under his feet and the effort lacked the necessary power to trouble the Hornets goalkeeper.

The Dons made their domination pay seven minutes before the break, as Tshimanga received a through ball and rounded the advancing Watford keeper, before finishing in composed fashion into the bottom right corner of the unguarded goal.

The Hertfordshire side started the second half on the front foot however the Dons managed to keep them at bay.

The hosts then had a chance to double their advantage with 17 minutes remaining after the ball found its way through to Osei-Addo inside the box.

The striker showed excellent skill to flick the ball round the corner to Jacob Daffern, whose half-volley went straight into the chest of the Hornets keeper.

Moments later, the Dons were almost made to pay for not killing the game off as Watford produced their best move of the match.

Some smart passing around the box opened up the Dons defence and allowed Alfred Rawling to hit a shot from the edge of the area which thumped off the crossbar before the Dons cleared the danger.

The hosts then let another golden chance to clinch the game slip when Luke Tingey controlled a high, bouncing ball just inside the opposition’s half.

He flicked on to Osei-Addo, whose shot went just wide of the left post after he found himself through one-on-one with the Watford keeper. Overall, it was a good gritty performance from the Dons who thoroughly deserved the victory.

After the match, Director of Youth Mike Dove said: “The match was played in very difficult conditions today.

“I felt we dominated the first half and deserved the goal. The pitch was drying out, so it was a bit bobbly. I felt we were in control but we could have been a bit better in the final third and more ruthless with our desire to score.

“I said at half-time I wanted us to have a few more options and I wanted us to step up just after the break. We were a bit half-hearted and we allowed them to get back into the game. I changed the formation a bit in the second half because I felt we needed more solidity at the back.

“Kelvin and Jacob both had good chances to finish the game off, but I was pleased with our game management and the players’ hard work.”

MK Dons (4-1-2-3): Van Der Schoot; Daffern, Hickford (c), Forrester, Okito; Wiltshire; Tingey, Summerfield (Weston 46); Tilney (Vaughan 65), Osei-Addo, Tshimanga (Collinge 60).

Subs not used: None

Goal: Tshimanga 38.

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