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Report: MK Dons 2-0 Carlisle United

Second-half strikes make it six home wins in a row...

8 December 2018

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 2-0 Carlisle United

Second-half strikes make it six home wins in a row...

8 December 2018

Second-half goals from Jordan Houghton and Kieran Agard, as well as an 11th clean sheet of the season, saw MK Dons beat Carlisle United 2-0 at Stadium MK.

For the third home match in succession, the Dons were forced to remain patient but took the lead through Houghton’s long-range effort five minutes into the second half.

Agard then doubled the lead with his 11th goal of the campaign and MK Dons saw out the remainder of the contest to make it six straight home league wins and keep their place at the top of the Sky Bet League Two table.

Boss Tisdale was forced into two changes due to the injuries to Jordan Moore-Taylor and Chuks Aneke in the win over Morecambe.

Ousseynou Cisse replaced Moore-Taylor in a switch which saw Houghton move back into the centre of defence. Lawson D’Ath came in for Aneke and took up a position behind Agard and Rhys Healey.

It was Carlisle striker Hallam Hope who registered the first shot on goal but it was an effort that never troubled goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

MK Dons then gained control of the contest. Dean Lewington and Baily Cargill were almost able to link up inside the area but the latter was dispossessed as he tried to turn and face goal.

Cargill was involved again in the eighth minute, delivering a cross for Healey who, at full stretch, headed over the crossbar. Another delivery into the box moments alter almost led to a first MK Dons goal for Lawson D’Ath but his effort, from Williams’ low ball, was blocked by a defender.

The Dons’ dominance continued and Alex Gilbey, on his 50th MK Dons appearance, stabbed an 18-yard effort wide of the right upright after Carlisle failed to properly deal with a teasing free-kick from Houghton.

On the quarter-hour mark, a well worked move down the left involving Cisse, D’Ath and Cargill saw the letter send in a cross which almost found the head of Agard at the near post.

A fumble from Adam Collin almost provided an opening soon after but neither D’Ath nor Healey could take advantage of the goalkeeper’s error from Cargill’s cross.

George Williams was the next MK Dons man to deliver an inviting ball into the area - this one, on 24 minutes, was just out of reach for an on-rushing Cargill. Three minutes later, Conor McGrandles sent a curling effort just over the bar from the edge of the area.

Healey and Agard combined in the 33rd minute with the former sending a ball through to his strike partner, whose low shot was blocked behind for a corner.

The Dons’ excellent half an hour was almost for nothing as it was the Cumbrians who should have broke the deadlock. Ashley Nadesan’s low cross was met by a sliding Hope but Nicholls produced a point-blank save on his goaline to keep it out, before palming the loose ball away to safety.

Tisdale’s men almost provided an instant response courtesy of a dazzling run from Healey, who worked it all the way into the Carlisle penalty area before leaving the ball to Agard - his shot was blocked.

MK Dons were then forced into a bit of defending as the half drew to a close as Williams and Gilbey both got themselves in the way of respective efforts from Hope and Kelvin Etuhu.

They should have then taken the lead but Healey’s close-range effort was somehow blocked on the line by Gary Liddle. Healey looked for all the world to be about to open the scoring following Gilbey’s excellent run down the right but the U’s defender did brilliantly to keep it out.

Healey’s chance proved to be the final action of a positive first half for MK Dons - a half in which the only thing they lacked was a goal.

That all changed five minutes into the second half when Houghton, up the field for a set piece, picked up the ball 20 yards from goal and drilled a low left-footed shot past Collin and into the far corner of the net off via the post. 1-0.

Carlisle created a decent chance to equalise just three minutes later but Nadesan, after working his way deep into the area, was denied by an excellent one-on-one save from Nicholls.

On 57 minutes, Gilbey forced a save out Collin as he went in search of his third goal in two games. McGrandles and D’Ath then combined down the right and the latter sent a cross towards Agard which was vitally intercepted by Tom Parkes.

Lewington had better fortune when trying to pick out Agard in the 63rd minute and the MK Dons number 14 made no mistake, turning home first time for his 11th goal of the season - and a crucial second for his side. Credit too to the provider, Lewington, who surged forward down the left and was pin-point with his accuracy on the cross. 2-0.

MK Dons created another crossing opportunity in the 69th minute but McGrandles’ low ball in was intercepted on its way through to Agard.

Nicholls was then called into action to deny Hope with an excellent diving save to his left before Tisdale was forced into his first save of the day as Healey limped off to be replaced by the returning Pete Pawlett - a bittersweet moment for most inside Stadium MK, who will be hoping the injury to the striker isn’t anything serious.

With 12 minutes to play, Gilbey saw a curling shot saved by Collin before there was a second enforced substitution which saw Osman Sow make his comeback in place of D’Ath, who appeared to have picked up a knock.

Carlisle, to their credit, continued to search for a way back into the contest and thought they had done so in the 84th minute but Nichols was able to smother after a goalmouth scramble.

MK Dons then went straight up the other end and Sow saw a low, left-footed try saved after the Swede had cut inside from the right flank.

Later, Williams did well to keep head over his own crossbar with substitute Richie Bennett breathing down his neck, looking to connect with a lofted cross. He then denied Bennett with a slide tackle before Macaulay Gillesphey curled wide.

Hope volleyed wide in stoppage time but that was the closest Carlisle came to troubling the Dons securing their 11th clean sheet of the campaign and another home victory - their sixth in succession.

Starting XI: Nicholls, Williams, Houghton, Cargill; McGrandles, Gilbey, Cisse, Lewington (c); D’Ath (Sow 81); Agard (Watson 90+2), Healey (Pawlett 70).

Unused subs: Moore, Hancox, Simpson, Jackson.

Goal: Houghton (50), Agard (65)

Attendance: 6,849 (343 away)

Referee: A Oldham

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