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Match Reports

Report: Carlisle United 2-3 MK Dons

MK Dons record back-to-back away wins at Brunton Park..

16 February 2019

Match Reports

Report: Carlisle United 2-3 MK Dons

MK Dons record back-to-back away wins at Brunton Park..

16 February 2019

MK Dons made it six points in a week, by following up their win Newport County with a 3-2 victory over Carlisle United at Brunton Park.

It was an action-packed contest in Cumbria, which started with two goals inside three first-half minutes - the first of which was scored by Conor McGrandles, whose first goal for the Club was cancelled out by a Stefan Scougall penalty. 

The Dons restored their lead in the second half courtesy of a stunning Jake Hesketh effort and then added to it nine minutes later through Kieran Agard's 16th of the campaign.

Carlisle set up a nervy finish by scoring in the final minute of regulation time but Paul Tisdale’s men were able to hang on to secure a valuable win - one which moves them to within two points of the automatic promotion places in Sky Bet League Two.

Boss Tisdale made just one change to the side which started the 1-0 victory over Newport County in midweek - Hesketh, who was involved in the match-winning goal at Rodney Parade, replaced David Wheeler in attack. 

MK Dons started confidently and earned themselves a corner in the sixth minute. Ouss Cisse took the set piece and his delivery was cleared only as far as Hesketh, who volleyed over with the game’s first shot.

Carlisle responded through Stefan Scougall, who raced in-behind the Dons’ backline before teeing up Hallam Hope. The United striker went for goal but saw his effort blocked by Russell Martin.

Hope had an even better opportunity to break the deadlock on 11 minutes but his header from Nathan Thomas’ cross flew wide of Stuart Moore’s left-hand upright. The Dons then made them pay.

Cisse did brilliantly in the middle of the park before Dean Lewington delivered a cross in from the left. McGrandles latched onto the ball and brought it down on his chest before firing a left-footed shot past Adam Collin from a tight-angle. 0-1. 

Their lead, however, lasted just three minutes as United broke down the other end of the field and won a penalty for a foul on Scougall inside the area. The midfielder took the spot kick himself and found the bottom right corner to level the scores. 1-1.

After a brief dominant spell from the Cumbrians, during which Regan Slater dragged a 20-yard effort, Tisdale’s men settled back into the contest.  

Lewington sent another teasing cross into the box on the half-hour - one which was just missed by Kieran Agard at the near post and then gathered by Collin ahead of a lurking McGrandles at back stick.

Gilbey, after winning the ball off a Carlisle defender, then raced down the left and delivered a low ball in which was crucially intercepted right in front of Agard, who would have had a tap in. Two minutes later, Cisse tried his luck but dragged his low effort wide of goal.

The Dons went close again with five minutes to play in the half as a cross-turned-shot from Hesketh landed on top of the crossbar, with Collin beaten. Hesketh then won his side a free-kick 30-yards from goal and Cargill went close to connecting with McGrandles chipped ball in.

United threatened too before the half-time whistle, but they weren’t able to take advantage of their two corners. 

At the break, Tisdale made a change to his XI with Chuks Aneke coming on in place of Cargill - an attacking move by the MK Dons boss. 

He was almost rewarded with a goal inside of three minutes but, from a well-worked short corner, Gilbey was denied by a diving save from Collin. They won a second corner shortly after but weren’t able to come up with a similar product.

United retaliated with a low shot from Thomas which was blocked by Cisse. The Dons then went forward again but Aneke wasn’t able to produce a headed effort on goal from Lewington’s deep cross.

On the hour, McGrandles threaded a ball down the right for Aneke, whose resulting low ball in was smothered by Collin. The United goalkeeper was called into action again moments later, getting down to gather a fierce low strike from Hesketh.

Collin then watched on as Moore saved at his near post from Scougall. The Dons then won a free-kick from which Anthony Gerrard headed clear under pressure from Aneke. Gerrard also did well from a later corner, stabbing clear with Cisse looking to prod home.

It was the Dons in the ascendancy and they took the lead for a second time with 68 minutes on the clock. 

Winning the ball on the edge of their own box, Tisdale’s men broke forward with pace. Aneke sent the ball across the edge of the area from the right and it found its way through to Hesketh, who took a touch and curled a beauty of a strike around Collin and into the far corner. 1-2. 

The Dons almost added to their lead two minutes later but Gilbey was denied by a sliding block from Gerrard after his low shot had beaten the Carlisle keeper. Collin then produced a stunning point-blank save to keep out Agard, who had connected with Hesketh’s cross inside the six-yard box.

Carlisle, searching for a way back into the game, saw substitute Mark Cullen head over with a quarter of an hour remaining, moments before the Dons doubled their advantage in stunning style.  

Hesketh picked out Aneke on the edge of the box and he threaded a ball through to Gilbey, who showed terrific awareness to slide a ball across for Agard to tap home. 1-3.

There was still work to do and Tisdale & Co were breathing a sigh of relief in the 80th minute when Peter Grant headed just wide from a corner. Tisdale then made his second substitution of the game, withdrawing goalscorer Agard with fellow attacker Wheeler.

Stephen Walker was also brought on to provide the Dons with a quick attacking outlet while they looked to soak up the pressure from their hosts, which ramped up once they pulled a goal back in the final minute of regulation time through Hallam Hope. 2-3.

The Dons were made to see out five minutes of stoppage time which they managed to do, allowing them to celebrate another excellent away victory.

Starting XI: Moore; Martin, Walsh, Cargill (Aneke 46); Brittain, McGrandles, Cisse, Gilbey, Lewington (c); Hesketh (Walker 88), Agard (Wheeler 80). 

Unused subs: Nicholls, Baudry, Houghton, Harley.

Goals: McGrandles (11), Hesketh (68), Agard (77)

Booked: Cargill, McGrandles, Moore, Aneke

Referee: P Wright

Attendance: 10,459 (329 away)

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