MK Dons started their 2018 pre-season with a win over local side Newport Pagnell Town FC.
Overseeing proceedings was Edu Rubio, who has been assisting Paul Tisdale and Matt Oakley with coaching duties throughout the early stages of pre-season.
The win was secured in the first-half as goals from Liam Sole and Sam Nombe secured the victory on a sunny afternoon at Willen Road, while Brandon Thomas-Asante added a third in the second half.
There was a return to football for Dylan Asonganyi, who has been out injured for over eight months, the striker was handed 45 minutes by Rubio and looked bright throughout.
Oran Jackson partnered Jamal Sule in defence for the first half with Charlie Pattison and David Kasumu providing the pivot in midfield.
Asonganyi was flanked by Sam Nombe and Liam Sole with Jay Bird playing as a ten.
It was almost the perfect return to match action for Asonganyi who held off his marker well only for his shot to be saved – the early signs, however, we’re good.
The energetic Asonganyi went close once again on the fifth minute, Kasumu played a lofted pass over the top of the Newport Pagnell defence, Asonganyi was within a whisker of toe-poking past the onrushing keeper, but once again the Newport shot stopper cleared.
Nombe provided a constant danger on the right for Rubio’s side, and after he turned his marker twice, his driven cross just needed a touch to nestle in the back of the net.
15-minutes into the game, Nombe went close once again. After a clever pass from Asonganyi, Nombe turned his marker with ease before seeing his shot saved.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the deadlock was broken. It was a wonderful flowing move from the Dons that started with Asonganyi collecting the ball just inside the Newport half. The striker then found Liam Sole out wide, who after taking a touch to set himself, curled past the onrushing keeper. 0-1
The 10 minutes following the goal were very much a midfield battle with chances at a premium, however, Rubio’s side doubled their lead on 32 minutes courtesy of Sam Nombe. After good work from Jay Bird to find the forward, Nombe put a thunderous effort past the Newport keeper leaving him with no chance. 0-2.
Asonganyi went close yet again with his shot from the edge of the box blocked – he certainly didn’t look like a player who missed eight months of football.
Following Nombe’s goal, Newport started to get a foothold on the game and had a number of chances including substitute Jake Strong who dragged wide of the post from the edge of the box – it proved to be the last chance of the first-half as the Dons went in at the break with a 2-0 lead.
Rubio made nine changes for the second-half with just the Trialist in goal and Nombe taking to the field for the second 45. Youngsters Leach, Brennan and Freeman all took to the pitch with Brandon Thomas-Asante and Finn Tapp earning their first minutes of the season.
The new-look XI looked bright from the beginning as Martin saw his shot tipped over for a corner, while from the resulting corner Freeman’s driven shot was parried away by the Newport keeper.
The flurry of chances didn’t finish there, however, Thomas-Asante was the next Dons man to go close with his free-kick grazing the crossbar on its way over.
Newport, to their credit, continued to push for their first goal of the afternoon, and it was once again via Jake Strong. His dipping effort was tipped over the far from the trialist keeper who then claimed the deep corner.
As a result of an injury to the Newport keeper, Alfie Jones would spend the second-half in goal for the hosts, he denied Martin and Thomas-Asante as the game approached the hour mark.
It was Thomas-Asante who eventually found a way past Jones in the Newport goal, he converted in acrobatic fashion after good work from Freeman on the right with 17 minutes left on the clock. 0-3.
The Dons controlled the remainder of the game, with Thomas-Asante heading wide from Sorinola's cross in the dying embers. Focus now shifts to Monday's clash at St Neots Town FC.
First Half XI: Trialist; Ackom, Sule, Jackson, Trialist; Kasumu, Pattison; Nombe, Bird, Sole; Asonganyi.
Second Half XI: Trialist; Tapp, Leach, Brennan; Robinson, Wright, Nombe, Freeman, Sorinola; Martin, Thomas-Asante.