MK Dons Under-18s lost 3-0 to Stevenage in their latest Youth Alliance League match at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning.
The home side started brightly and created the first chance of the game in the fourth minute as a square ball found captain Hugo Logan just inside the box, however his low shot was parried away by the keeper.
Two minutes later the Dons forced the visitors’ keeper into action again, as midfielder Andrew Osei-Bonsu received the ball on the edge of the box, turned and hit a fierce shot which was tipped over the bar.
Logan forced another save from the keeper in the 11th minute with a further shot on target however two minutes later and against the run of play Borough took the lead.
A good passing move saw the ball come to a Borough player inside the box and he hit a low shot into the net to make it 1-0 to Stevenage.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 21st minute which came from an indirect free kick conceded after Dons keeper Nathan Pickworth handled the ball directly from a back pass.
The indirect set piece was taken from the penalty spot and with a line of red shirts in front of the goal the situation resembled a hockey penalty corner.
The free-kick was laid off to a Stevenage player on the edge of the box who fired a shot under the jumping Dons wall and into the net for 2-0.
Ten minutes later, Boro made it 3-0 as the ball came to a visiting player just outside the box. He chipped a ball into the area, which appeared to be more of a shot than a floated cross and it evaded everyone and nestled into the top left hand corner of the net to extend the visitors lead.
The visitors were visibly lifted by their three goal burst and comfortably contained the Dons for the rest of the match. Eduardo Rubio’s side switched formation for the second half changing from a 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 and their performance improved during the second half.
Their best effort came on 66 minutes when Sam Nombe got into a good position inside the box however he dragged his effort wide of the left post.
Ultimately, though, the Dons first half errors proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Speaking after the match Dons head of academy coaching Rubio said: “The first ten minutes or so we were excellent – we played very well, had four shots on target and I thought their keeper kept them in the game.
“Then we made a silly mistake and conceded a goal. Then, rather than staying in the game, we made another mistake and let in another goal. Ten minutes later the same thing happened – it is a common theme.
“They punished us for our mistakes and that has been the difference in a lot of our games. It seems that we need 10 shots on target to score a goal whereas the opposition only need one mistake to punish us and that is where we need to tidy up.
“These mistakes are caused by either lack of concentration or a desire and commitment to defend. After that bad spell we improved but I decided to change the formation at the half-time break and I said to the lads let’s go out there and pretend it’s a new game and it’s 0-0.
“We couldn’t score a goal but we were much better and we didn’t concede. We played with a more attacking mentality and I was pleased with the performance in the second half but by then it was too late.”
Starting XI (4-3-3): Pickworth: Kioso, Omar, Tapp, Hope (Asonganyi 46); Kasumu, Osei-Bonsu (Wright 46), Logan (c); Evans (Martin 55), Bell, Nombe.
Unused sub: Jones.