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Report: Forest Green Rovers 0-1 MK Dons

Dons progress thanks to Gboly Ariyibi's stunning strike...

8 August 2017

Match Reports

Report: Forest Green Rovers 0-1 MK Dons

Dons progress thanks to Gboly Ariyibi's stunning strike...

8 August 2017

A stunning goal from Gboly Ariyibi saw MK Dons progress in the Carabao Cup.

The summer recruit struck during the second period of extra-time as the men from MK1 finally found a way past a competitive Forest Green Rovers side.

Robbie Neilson’s men will discover their second-round opponents in Thursday evening's draw.

The 37-year-old promised a strong side and that’s what he named – just three changes from the season opener at Stadium MK on Saturday, one of which was enforced. Scott Wootton (suspended) was replaced by Paul Downing while Callum Brittain and Robbie Muirhead came in for Dean Lewington and Kieran Agard.

The Dons were in control from the first whistle and Ryan Seager almost caught out keeper Sam Russell, who then could only watch as Ariyibi’s shot deflected just past his left-hand post on six minutes.

Forest Green gradually grew into after a strong start from the men from MK1, but captain-for-the-night George Williams & Co denied any opportunities and created one of their own on 14 minutes when Seager headed over a difficult chance.

Shortly afterwards, Ousseynou Cissé saw a powerful 25-yard deflect behind for a corner which was recycled and Ariyibi crossed for Downing, who shot straight at Russell from close range.    

The majority of the game continued to be played in the hosts’ half and a slick passing move involving the impressive Ed Upson set-up Ariyibi but he couldn’t pick out a team-mate.

Mark Cooper’s men once again came back into things without creating anything while, at the other end, a good chance fell to Tshibola but he fired off target from 20 yards.

Christian Doidge registered Rovers’ first shot on target in the final real action of the opening 45 – one which saw the Dons enjoy more chances but the hosts were making it difficult.

The men from MK1 made a quick start to the second half, controlling possession and enjoying far greater territorial advantage.

With 52 minutes on the clock, Upson curled a free-kick not too far over the top from 20 yards while, at the other end, Downing put his body on the line to block a fierce drive.

Downing was also proving a threat in attack but he headed off target from a corner prior to Doidge firing wide when well placed after meeting Luke James’ cross.

Tshibola came within inches of a superb opener just past the hour mark, receiving the ball 25 yards out before curling an effort past the right-hand post.

The Dons began to take a real stranglehold of proceedings and substitute Kieran Agard directed Williams’ off target before Upson fired narrowly over the bar from 25 yards – the latter would have been a stunning goal.

Chances kept coming for Neilson’s side as Agard turned and shot wide, but a rare foray forward from Rovers almost saw them take the lead although Lee Nicholls was up to the task to gather a header from Shamir Mullings, who then forced another save following a corner.

Agard was looking equally lively at the other end and he got in behind before sending an effort narrowly over the opposite top corner while, at the other end, Nicholls tipped over Liam Noble’s dipping strike.

Sam Nombe came on for his first senior appearance with 10 minutes remaining and the youngster made an impression almost immediately, chasing back into his own half to win the ball for the Dons.

Ariyibi had flashed throughout and he forced Russell into a save as the game ticked towards the end of the 90 minutes – Agard wasn’t able to beat his marker to the rebound.

Neither side could find the net in normal time so the game went into extra-time but the Dons nearly did on 97 minutes but Brittain over-hit his cross after being picked out perfectly by Upson.

Only the bar denied Rovers and substitute Scott Laird as he connected well with a left-wing corner at the end of the first half of extra-time. A lucky escape for the Dons.

They capitalised fully on 110 minutes in when Ariyibi cut inside and curled a stunning effort into the top right-hand corner – a goal worthy of winning any game.

There was still time for Nicholls to pull off a superb double save in the closing stages to deny Keanu Marsh-Brown and Lee Collins, which proved crucial as the Dons made it through to the second round.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain (Lewington 105), Downing, Ebanks-Landell, Williams (c); Cissé; Ariyibi, Tshibola, Upson, Muirhead (Agard 63); Seager (Nombe 80).

Unused subs: Sietsma, McGrandles, Rasulo, Thomas-Asante.

Goal: Ariyibi (110).

Bookings: Cissé, Ebanks-Landell, Williams, Downing.

Attendance: 1,608 (341 Dons fans).

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