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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 0-1 Plymouth Argyle

The Dons suffer Boxing Day defeat...

26 December 2017

Gary Saywer’s goal was the difference as MK Dons were beaten 1-0 by Plymouth Argyle at Stadium MK.

The defender sent a first-time shot past Lee Nicholls on 16 minutes - a goal which was enough for the travelling Pilgrims to take all three points and condemn the men from MK1 to their second successive loss.

Boss Robbie Neilson made just two changes to his side with Alex Gilbey and Gboly Ariyibi replacing Scott Wootton and Ed Upson, which caused a major reshuffle at the back with Peter Pawlett moving to right back, George Williams swapping over to the left and Joe Walsh slowing back inside.

The Dons made a positive start and Conor McGrandles fired over the crossbar after just two minutes. Ariyibi was also a threat early on, delivering several balls into the box from the left flank.

Aneke then had an effort blocked on 10 minutes before the forward later curled wide from the edge of the D.

There were plenty of positives to take from the men from MK1’s opening quarter of an hour and they almost capped it off with a goal but Gilbey couldn’t find the target from 20-yards out after being set up by Osman Sow.

A minute later they were made to pay, as Plymouth took the lead through a first-time strike from Gary Sawyer - the full-back finding the corner with a low left-footed shot. To say the goal came against the run of play was an understatement. 0-1.

The Dons went straight on the attack in search of an immediate response and had Ariyibi put a little less on his ball into the area for Agard then the in-form striker might have been able to test Argyle goalkeeper Kelle Roos.

Sow then created a shooting opportunity for himself in the 25th minute but saw his effort deflect wide for a corner. From Ariyibi’s resulting delivery, the Dons’ number 9 flicked a header over Roos’ goal.

On the half-hour mark, Aneke had a strike collected by Roos, whose opposite number later did well to keep out an 18-yard effort from Graham Carey. Aneke also sent a close-range shot over the bar from a tight angle with the final chance of a frustrating first 45 minutes.

Lee Nicholls was forced into a save at the start of the second half from Graham Carey’s fierce free-kick while at the other end, Ariyibi’s cross was almost inadvertently turned in by Argyle centre-back Ryan Edwards.

With 55 minutes on the clock, Carey sent a left-footed effort over the bar from distance before Ebanks-Landell had a thunderous drive blocked from Ariyibi’s corner.

Sow had an opportunity on 68 minutes but he wasn’t able to turn Agard’s cross goalwards to threaten Roos - Agard did well in the build-up to beat his man, get to the byline and produce the delivery.

Soon after, Aneke had a shot deflected over the bar from an Ariyibi corner. From the next ball in, Williams fired wide with a left-footed strike from distance.

Neilson introduced Ed Upson and Ousseynou Cisse with 20 minutes to play - the latter making his first appearance since 21st October following a spell on the sidelines.

The pair had only been on the field seconds when Ryan Taylor wasted a glorious opportunity for Plymouth to double their lead. The striker was unmarked when he collected a cutback from Ruben Lameiras but couldn’t find the target with his effort.

At the other end of the pitch, Ariyibi saw a curling shot blocked by a defender on its way to the far corner before Taylor had another go at getting on the scoresheet - this time his shot was on target but Nicholls was there to make the save.

Time was running out for the Dons but a quick breakaway on 80 minutes saw them come close to finding that desired equaliser. Pawlett was the man running free for the men from MK1 but his left-footed shot was turned wide of goal by the stomach of Edwards.

Pawlett later fired over from the edge of the D after collecting the loose ball from Upson’s blocked effort before Gilbey had a teasing low cross gathered by Roos at the feet of Agard in stoppage time.

That was the final opportunity of the game, capping off a disappointing afternoon for the men from MK1.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Pawlett, Ebanks-Landell, Walsh, Williams; McGrandles (Cisse 71); Agard, Gilbey (c), Aneke, Ariyibi; Sow (Upson 71).

Unused subs: Sietsma, Wootton, Seager, Muirhead, Nombe.

Referee: J Busy

Attendance: 9,268 (944 away)


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