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Report: Newport Pagnell Town 1-4 MK Dons

Rasulo hits a treble as Robbie Neilson's side secure another pre-season success...

7 July 2017

Giorgio Rasulo bagged a hat-trick as MK Dons picked up another pre-season victory away at Newport Pagnell Town.

Rasulo scored his first direct from a free-kick - a goal which pulled the men from MK1 level after Swans midfielder Greg Ling’s fortunate early opener.

The young midfielder then netted a stunning second before finishing off a fine team move to seal his treble. Sam Nombe added the fourth with a powerful header late on.

Dons boss Robbie Neilson made four changes to the side who started the friendly with Buckingham Athletic on Tuesday evening. Conor McGrandles, Connor Furlong and Jay Bird came into the first XI in place of Ed Upson, Rasulo and Nombe, while there was also a change of trialists between the sticks.

The Dons also switched formation, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation, but before they could get into their groove, Newport Pagnell took a surprise lead and in bizarre circumstances too as a Greg Ling cross bounced all the way in from deep.

As expected, the men from MK1 went straight on the search for an equaliser and Kieran Agard came close to one in the ninth minute but after holding off his marker in the area, the striker was denied by a strong right-hand save from Mark Osborn.

They maintained their dominance, with Furlong and Brandon Thomas-Asante looking particularly lively - the latter playing in an unorthodox right wing-back role.

He saw a fierce drive tipped over the bar on 21 minutes before having another goal-bound effort from distance blocked by a defender. Those two chances sandwiched an Agard shot which cannoned off the right upright with the goalkeeper beaten.

The final 10 minutes of the first half saw the Dons threaten with a couple more chances. First, Bird sent a first-time volley inches over the crossbar before Agard was denied by the slightest of touches from Osborn.

The Dons’ trialist goalkeeper then produced an excellent diving save late in the first half to keep the score at 1-0 heading into the break.

As he did on Tuesday in Buckingham, Neilson made a host of changes to his team at the interval with only Tilney and the trialist goalkeeper remaining on the field.

Among the substitutes was first-year pro Nombe, who was bright in Tuesday’s win over Buckingham. He had an early sighter on goal at the start of the second half - a curling shot which was saved by Osborn.

With their next effort, the Dons deservedly drew level through Rasulo. After being brought down the edge of the D, the 20-year-old picked himself off the floor to take the free-kick and, with style, he curled it around the Swans’ wall and into the bottom right-hand corner.

The strike drew applause from both sets of supporters inside Willen Road but they were to see an even better finish from the young midfielder just six minutes later when he drilled home a loose ball from the edge of the D - a stunning strike which gave the Dons a lead they most certainly warranted.

With their tails up, the Dons went in search of adding to their new-found lead - Robbie Muirhead stabbed a shot wide on 60 minutes before Brittain found the side netting after weaving his way brilliantly into the box.

That third goal arrived with a quarter of an hour remaining - Rasulo turning home Oran Jackson’s lay-off to complete his hat-trick and cap off a fine individual performance.

Neilson’s side weren’t done there and in the 80th minute they added a fourth when a ball in from second-half substitute Bradley Bell found its way to Nombe, who powered a header back across goal and into the vacant far corner.

That proved to be the final goal of an eventful pre-season affair at Willen Road - and a successful one for Neilson and his side.

First-half XI: Trailist; Williams, Tapp, Walsh; Thomas-Asante, McGrandles, Furlong, Trialist, Tilney; Bird, Agard.

Second-half XI: Trialist (Jones 79); Jackson, Downing, Cissé; Brittain (Evans 79), Kasumu, Rasulo, Upson, Tilney (Bell 79); Nombe, Muirhead.

Unused subs: None.

Goal: Rasulo (51, 57, 75), Nombe (80)


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