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Report: MK Dons 2-1 Notts County

Aneke and Healey's second-half goals secure points for MK Dons...

23 October 2018

MK Dons came from behind at Stadium MK to beat Notts County and secure a fifth straight Sky Bet League Two success.

County led at half-time courtesy of Lewis Alessandra’s deflected finish but a penalty in the second half from Chuks Aneke and a stunning Rhys Healey strike saw Paul Tisdale’s men secure all three points.

The result lifts the Dons up to second in the Sky Bet League Two table and within three points of leaders Lincoln City.

Boss Tisdale named an unchanged starting XI from the side which beat Northampton Town at Stadium MK last Saturday. There were no alterations to the bench either, with all 18 players involved from the weekend’s win.

His team started well and Dean Lewington sent an early ball into the box which was met by the head of Chuks Aneke but ended up in the arms of Ross Fitzsimons.

Aneke then produced the game’s first shot on target a minute later, albeit a tame left-footed effort which was dealt with by the County goalkeeper at his near post.

MK Dons’ good start continued and they produced a neat attacking move in the seventh minute which resulted in their first corner of the evening. Lewington delivered from the right-hand side but a leaping Jordan Moore-Taylor wasn’t able to connect.

Some more strong play from Aneke handed Walsh an opportunity to deliver into the box on 10 minutes but Rhys Healey conceded a foul while trying to meet the ball at the far post.

Notts County threatened for the first time in the 12th minute but Baily Cargill was able to deal with a low cross intended for Jon Stead. MK Dons then broke forward and Lewington set Healey away with a cross-field pass but the striker sent his low drive just wide of the far post.

The visitors, perhaps inspired by their first opening moments before, then gave Nicholls his maiden test of the night - the Dons’ number 1 was equal to Enzio Boldewijn’s near-post try and his teammates were then able to deal with the resulting corner.

Notts County then took the lead courtesy of a deflected long-range drive from Alessandra which skidded beyond the outstretched arm of Lee Nicholls on 25 minutes - the first goal he had conceded in over 430 minutes of football. 0-1.

Tisdale’s men attempted an immediate response and they thought they were in for a chance at one but Aneke was flagged offside as he latched onto Kieran Agard’s flick through the County backline.

Aneke then showed some individual brilliance in the 28th minute, creating an opportunity for himself with a chip over Elliott Ward and a neat touch inside the area. His shot, however, looped over the bar.

On 31 minutes, Healey had a shot blocked following some good play down the right from Agard. Walsh then came close to connecting with a cross from Lewington at the far post but wasn’t able to beat his man to the ball.

County came forward for the first time since their goal in the 33rd minute but Lewington denied the lively Boldewijn with a block at the near post. From the resulting corner, Alessandra forced Nicholls into a diving save with a curling attempt from 25-yards out.

They maintained their pressure on the MK Dons defence and shortly after Stead picked out Kane Hemmings with a low cross - the striker saw his deflected first-time effort headed away by Moore-Taylor.

Tisdale’s side, in search of an equaliser before the break, were looking threatening every time they went forward but their final ball was lacking.

Cargill and Williams came close to changing that in the 41st minute but the former’s cross was just a little too high for the latter who, as a result, couldn’t direct his header on target.

Cargill was involved again moments later, skipping away from a challenge down the left and picking out Agard with a cross. Agard took a tough and then fired a right-footer towards goal which was blocked bravely by a couple of County bodies. That was the final chance of the first half.

At the interval, Tisdale made a change to his side, replacing Agard with Callum Brittain. That brought a change in formation which saw Gilbey move into an attacking midfield position, Moore-Taylor step up into midfield and Williams slide inside to right centre-back.

It was County, though, who created the first opening of the half - Hemmings bursting into the area but failing to connect with Stead. MK Dons responded and Gilbey was an inch away from latching onto Lewington’s pass inside the box.

The visitors were then presented with a glorious opportunity to double their advantage on 50 minutes but Alessandra, after intercepting Nicholls’ clearance, failed in his attempts to lob the MK Dons stopper.

The Notts goalscorer tried to make amends five minutes later but was denied from distance by a diving save from Nicholls.

MK Dons were then awarded their best chance to level when Healey was brought down in the area by Jamie Turley, who was dismissed for his foul. Aneke stepped up to take the penalty and confidently rolled the ball past Fitzsimons for the equaliser. 1-1.

Tisdale’s side went straight in search of a second goal and Brittain flashed a ball across the face of goal moments after the re-start. Aneke then met a cross from Healey but saw his looping header saved by Fitzsimons.

Lawson D’Ath was introduced in the 66th minute in place of Gilbey. He was involved right away, finding Williams whose cross set up Healey - he forced Fitzsimons into another save with a header.

Jordan Houghton was the next to try his luck for MK Dons, sending a right-footed drive towards goal and winning a corner for his efforts following a slight deflection. From the corner, the Dons took the lead.

Healey collected the quickly-taken corner and created space with a good touch. Despite the tight-angle, the Cardiff City loanee went for goal and found a way past Fitzsimons with a fierce right-footed strike. 2-1.

Boldewijn came within an inch of levelling things up for his side within a minute of kick-off, curling a right-footed shot just wide of Nicholls’ left-hand upright. At the other end, D’Ath was a yard away from converting a Cargill cross.

On 78 minutes, Nicholls was forced into a save to deny substitute Nathan Thomas. Elliott Hewitt then had a deflected free-kick collected by Nicholls.

MK Dons thought they had won the match when Aneke headed home a cross from D’Ath but their joy was short-lived as referee Michal Salisbury spotted a foul by the MK Dons’ number 10 prior to his finish.

Brittain went close too minutes later with a deflected try which Fitzsimons dived across and saved.

Tisdale made his final change with five minutes to play, bringing the experienced Robbie Simpson on from the bench.

Simpson played his part in the final exchanges as MK Dons saw out the five minutes of stoppage time to secure their fifth straight win.

Starting XI: Nicholls; Walsh, Moore-Taylor, Cargill; Williams, Houghton, Gilbey (D’Ath 66), Lewington (c); Agard (Brittain 46), Aneke (Simpson 85), Healey.

Unused subs: Moore, Hancox, Watson, Thomas-Asante.

Goals: Aneke (60 pen), Healey (69)

Booked: Gilbey

Attendance: 6,501 (403 away)

Referee: M Salisbury

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