A young MK Dons team exited the Berks and Bucks FA Senior Cup at the Quarter Final stage after a 1-0 defeat to Marlow at Oak Tree Road.
Adam Richards scored the only goal of the game on 15 minutes to send his side through to the Last 4 of the competition at the expense of Edu Rubio's Dons.
Rubio’s side included three young professionals in Finn Tapp, David Kasumu and Dylan Asonganyi, while the remainder of the starting XI was made up of players from his Under-18s squad.
The Dons started bright and registered the first shot of the game in the fifth minute. Jay Bird’s looping cross was cleared away by the Marlow defence but only as far as Matthew Sorinola, whose long-range effort was saved.
They maintained the early pressure but fell behind with a quarter of an hour on the clock when the hosts took advantage of a free-kick. Midfielder Chris Ovenden initially hit the crossbar with a header from the set-piece but the loose ball found its way to Richards, who fired under Alfie Jones to break the deadlock. 1-0.
Rubio’s team went in search of an instant replay and were presented with a chance to do so when they were awarded a free-kick of their own in the 22nd minute. Asonganyi, the man fouled, went for goal but saw his effort blocked by the wall.
An even better opportunity fell the way of Sorinola with five minutes to play in the half but he couldn’t take advantage and equalise. The left-back raced into the area and was found by an excellent chipped pass from Kasumu. He had time to pick his spot but, in the end, wasn’t able to keep his effort down.
Asonganyi also went close in the closing stages of the first period, producing a smart save out of Marlow goalkeeper Simon Grant with a low right-footed shot, while Jones denied Kelvin Bossman at the other end with a brave stop.
The Dons went about levelling the scores right at the start of the second half, with Asonganyi firing an early shot over the bar following a quickly-taken free-kick.
Moments later, Marlow’s Chris Ovendon found himself with a great chance to double the home side’s advantage, after running, unopposed, onto a low cross from Devontae Romeo. Fortunately for Rubio and his side, the midfielder’s close-range effort was tame and straight at Jones.
Martin almost made Ovendon and Marlow pay but, after working his way into the box, he was dispossessed by an excellent sliding tackle from Richards. The second-year scholar had another opportunity in the 57th minute, following some excellent solo work in the area - Simon Grant, however, managed to keep out his low strike.
The chances kept coming for the visitors, with Jay Bird the next man to threaten an equaliser with a drilled right-footer which Grant watched whistle just wide of his post.
On 62 minutes, Rubio brought on striker James Holmes to aid his attack. Shortly after his arrival, he almost connected with a whipped cross from Sorinola but was beaten to the ball by the Marlow keeper.
It was virtually all MK Dons in the final quarter of an hour but Marlow did offer one reminder of their threat when Richards fired a shot towards the top right-hand corner. Jones, though, kept the attempt out with a stunning diving save.
Rubio’s side continued to press in the latter stages but weren’t able to create enough to trouble the home defence, who held out to send Marlow through to the semi finals.
Starting XI: Jones; Ackom, Tapp, Sule, Sorinola; Kasumu, Pattison, Wright (Holmes 62); Bird, Asonganyi, Martin.
Unused subs: Rose, Robinson, Brennan, Hourican-Harvey.