Milton Keynes Dons Under-18s fell at the first hurdle in this year’s Youth Alliance Cup after losing 2-0 at home to Swindon Town at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning.
The home side were controlling the first part of the game with good possession in the visitors half and some threatening runs forward from the midfielders. Their first real opening came midway through the half when midfielder Callum Brittain saw a shot deflected just wide of the post.
Despite the Dons being on top, Swindon were still posing a threat and got in behind on a couple of occasions, although the hosts were let off once through a well-timed challenge inside the box and again later through the visitors wastefulness.
The next good chance for the Dons came around ten minutes before the break when right-back Peter Kioso had a shot from the right hand side of the box parried wide by the Robins keeper.
Moments later, the Dons had another good shooting chance courtesy of Jack Hadden, whose rising effort from just inside the box was well diverted over by the keeper.
Despite being on top throughout the first period, the Dons were hit with two sucker punches inside the first five minutes of the second half.
Just after the restart, Swindon won a corner and a rehearsed set-piece routine paid off as a shot was drilled into the net to make it 1-0.
Three minutes later, a firmly hit shot from the edge of the penalty area ended up in the bottom left corner and against the run of play the Dons found themselves two goals down.
The visitors could easily have extended their lead on the hour mark, however Dons keeper Tom Wyant produced a good save with his legs from point blank range as a Robins player got in behind the Dons defence.
The Dons continued to knock on the door and on 71 minutes the impressive Brittain ran at the Robins defence again and was given space to unleash a shot from around 25 yards out which the keeper parried away while diving to his right.
The hosts were continuing to create chances but were finding themselves up against a keeper who wasn’t putting a foot wrong.
In a move which saw both Dons full-backs attack, Juma Omar squared the ball to Kioso who hit a fierce shot which the keeper acrobatically tipped over the bar.
The Dons came even closer with three minutes remaining as from around 25 yards out centre-half Joe Steele hit a cracking shot which rose as it travelled through the air before smacking off the crossbar with the keeper unmoved.
A game in which the Dons showed a lot of promise going forward but were ultimately unable to find their way past a keeper who produced some eye-catching saves.
After the match, Dons Director of Youth Mike Dove said: “We had a high percentage of possession and got into the final third relatively quickly.
“We came up against a compact defence and midfield and once we got into the box we needed to be a bit cleverer with our play.
“There were times when our passing was good but the final ball or shot wasn’t good enough.
“We switched off for the two goals and suffered a bad five minutes. We got through again after that but our quality and technique was what let us down.”
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Wyant: Kioso, Steele, Jackson, Omar: Hunt (capt), Hadden: Furlong: Brittain, Owusu (Logan 68), Thomas-Asante.
Subs not used: McCorkell, Osei-Bonsu, Kasumu, Tapp.