MK Dons' Under-18s got their Youth Alliance merit league campaign underway with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Luton Town at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday lunchtime.
The Dons were facing a side they had already met twice this season. On the opening day of the season they lost 3-1 in Bedfordshire however four weeks ago they won 3-1 at home.
In a match that kicked off half an hour later than originally scheduled due to concerns over some parts of the playing surface, the visitors started the brightest and in a first half of limited chances they had the best opportunity when Luke Trottman saw his goal-bound shot cleared away by a yellow shirt on 24 minutes.
On a pitch that was becoming increasingly cut up the Dons struggled to create clear chances on goal, with their best effort coming on 58 minutes after good interplay between substitute Dom Palmiero and Rasulo.
After receiving the ball on the edge of the box and taking a few touches, Rasulo saw he wasn’t going to be closed down and unleashed a right-footed shot with a bit of curl on it which clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
More space was begin to appear and 18 minutes into the second half it was the side from Bedfordshire who took the lead when an orange and black shirt struck a shot from 25 yards out which nestled into the right corner of the net beyond Dons keeper Andrew McCorkell’s outstretched right glove.
Four minutes later, Luton could have doubled their advantage but for good work from McCorkell, who blocked a shot inside the box from close range before grabbing the loose ball before any incoming Hatters players could get a touch.
McCorkell excelled himself once again in the 80th minute as a corner from the right-hand side was headed powerfully towards goal by a Luton shirt. However, McCorkell got down low to his left and tipped the ball away from goal before it was cleared to safety.
The hosts resilience at the back was rewarded as they equalised in the 84th minute when a corner from the right found its way to Rasulo at the back post, who stooped low and headed the ball into the left side of the net to make it 1-1. A hard-fought game in tough conditions and a good point for the Dons to start their merit league campaign.
Director of Youth Mike Dove said: “We deserved a draw and I think it was a fair result on a pitch which cut up a lot and made it difficult to play a lot of football.
“Kabongo wasn’t with us so that brings a different dimension to things. Giorgio played further forward but that isn’t his best area of the pitch so we changed the shape later on.
“Luton were very competitive, good defensively and there weren’t a lot of chances created. Andrew made a great save from a corner near the end but there wasn’t a lot he could do about their goal. He really made a difference today and helped us keep the score at 1-1.”
MK Dons (4-3-3): McCorkell: Brittain (Palmiero 49), Hunt, Tingey (capt), Steele: Hadden, Weston, Wiltshire: Owusu (Furlong 68), Vaughan, Rasulo.
Subs not used: Wyant, Jackson, Thomas-Antie.
Booked: Wiltshire 43, Tingey 53.
Goal: Rasulo 84.