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Report: U18s 4-3 Northampton

29 August 2016

MK Dons Under-18s enjoyed a second successive home win in the Youth Alliance League as they beat Northampton Town 4-3 in a topsy-turvy match at Woughton-on-the-Green.

The Dons made four changes from the side that beat Peterborough United 6-3 last weekend, with Nathan Pickworth, Finn Tapp, Harry Stratton and Recoe Martin being replaced by Alfie Jones, Tommy Hope, David Kasumu and Brandon Thomas-Asante (pictured).

Eduardo Rubio’s side got off to a bad start as Northampton took an early lead five minutes in the Cobblers pounced on a poor clearance and took advantage to score the opening goal. 0-1.

Alfie Jones then pulled off a good save from close range as the side from Northamptonshire continued to threaten during the opening quarter of the game.

The Dons, though, levelled in the 23rd minute as a low cross from the left was finished into the net by Dylan Asonganyi. 1-1.

Chances continued to come for both sides, the visitors’ best when a ball over the top beat the Dons defence and a lob over keeper Jones went just wide of the post.

Soon after, the Dons had a chance to take the lead when Thomas-Asante received the ball inside the box and hit a first-time shot just wide of goal.

The home side also had a couple of good efforts from distance with one from Asonganyi going just wide before a rising shot from Andrew Osei-Bonsu was tipped over by the keeper.

Six minutes into the second half the Dons took the lead as a corner from the right was helped on by Sam Nombe before Thomas-Asante turned it in at the back post to turn the game on its head. 2-1.

Dons keeper Jones made an impressive double save on 63 minutes to preserve the hosts’ lead, firstly blocking a shot from close range before clawing the rebound away as it looked to be heading in at the near post.

The hosts extended their lead on 61 minutes from another corner which was whipped in from the right by Tommy Hope. The ball was then headed in at the back post by the unmarked Nombe who scored his fifth goal in two matches. 3-1.

Six minutes later the Cobblers pulled a goal back when their number ten hit the ball low into the net from about 10-yards out. 3-2.

The game was becoming very stretched with both sides creating chances, and on 83 minutes the visitors levelled when a cross from the right found their number ten who once again finished low into the net. 3-3.

Moments later, the drama continued as the visitors thought they had taken the lead when they had the ball in the net however the offside flag came to the Dons aid and the scores remained level.

The final twist came in stoppage time when the Dons took the lead in fortunate circumstances.

A low shot inside the box from Thomas-Asante was saved by the Northampton keeper. A defender tried to clear the ball away to prevent a red shirt from getting on to the rebound and in the process got in a tangle and scored an own goal, which subsequently won the game for the Dons. 4-3.

After the match, head of academy coaching Rubio said: “I wasn’t very happy at certain points because I said to the boys that we have to play football the MK Dons way, which means keeping the ball and playing on the deck.

“It happened a bit and there was a period in the second half where we played very well. We still have spells in games where we seem to drop our level of concentration and that lets the opposition back in.

“That is something we need to work on in training and it was why this game ended up being a bit crazy. We were 3-1 up and looked like we should have scored a fourth goal, but we had a dip and let them get back into the game and equalise and then we were chasing the game.

“I felt we were the better team and deserved the win but it is very important to me to protect our DNA and I don’t think we did enough in that regard, although I am happy with the boys because they were very competitive and didn’t give up.”

Starting XI (4-3-3): Jones; Kioso, Kasumu (Tapp 63), Omar (Stratton 55), Hope; Logan (c), Osei-Bonsu, Asonganyi; Nombe (Bird 90+2), Bell, Thomas-Asante.

Sub not used: Bonsu.

Booked: Kasumu 35.

Goals: Asonganyi (23), Thomas-Asante (51), Nombe (61), own goal (90+1).

Referee: John Perry.

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