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Match Reports

Report: Newport County 0-1 MK Dons

Aneke the match-winner in South Wales...

12 February 2019

MK Dons picked up a vital three points on the road courtesy of an 87th-minute goal from substitute Chuks Aneke at Rodney Parade.

Aneke tapped home late after fellow sub Jake Hesketh saw an effort saved by Joe Day - a finish which sealed a perfect away performance from Paul Tisdale’s men, who kept a buoyant Newport County side at bay all evening.

The result lifts MK Dons back up to fourth in the Sky Bet League Two table and closes the gap on the automatic promotion places to four points.

Boss Tisdale made five changes from the side that lost 3-2 to Swindon Town at the weekend, including goalkeeper Stuart Moore, who came in for his MK Dons league debut. Also coming into the starting XI were Callum Brittain, Conor McGrandles, Ousseynou Cisse and David Wheeler.

MK Dons were awarded an early free-kick following a foul on Kieran Agard, as he looked to race in on goal. McGrandles delivered the set piece and his teasing delivery was just about dealt with by the County defence.

Tryeeq Bakinson then forced Moore into his first action of the game with a left-footed drive which the MK Dons debutant palmed away. Tisdale’s men countered after dealing with the resulting corner but Alex Gilbey, after latching onto Wheeler’s pass, was dispossessed inside the area.

In the sixth minute, Brittain was forced to head behind from a deep cross sent in from the right flank. He and his fellow defenders dealt with the following corner. The MK Dons defender was then involved in an attack down the right, which resulted in his fierce strike flying over the bar.

Gilbey then produced a diving save out of Day as the Dons continued to put their hosts under pressure - his effort was hit hard and low but the County goalkeeper watched it all the way and kept it out with his right arm.

Newport responded through Fraser Franks, whose low drive was smothered by Moore. Jamille Matt then headed wide from a deep cross although the offside flag was quickly raised by the linesman.

Matt met another cross on the quarter-hour mark but again sent his header wide of the target. Moments later, Moore watched a second header fly wide of his upright, as the home team continued to try and pump balls into the box at any given opportunity.

The Dons then earned themselves a corner from which Cisse had an effort blocked on its way to goal. Wheeler tried to follow up but, again, Newport were able to get the ball away.

Tisdale’s side threatened again on 22 minutes, with Russell Martin delivering a cross over to the far post. Wheeler won his header and Agard looked to pounce but goalkeeper Day came rushing off his line to punch clear.

On 33 minutes, Wheeler then went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock but his first-time effort, from McGrandles’ lay-off, hit the outside of the right post and rolled wide.

County then piled the pressure on, twice denied by some excellent defending from Baily Cargill. Gilbey later threw himself in the way of a Dan Butler drive, as the Dons continued to show grit in their efforts to keep their hosts out.

Walsh was the next to display a moment of brilliance, sliding in to prevent Matt from being able to test Moore deep inside the MK Dons penalty area. From the resulting corner, Mickey Demetriou struck the crossbar with a headed effort.

With five minutes remaining in the half, Wheeler was presented with a great chance to put the Dons ahead but he couldn’t find the target with his shot on the turn. It was a brilliant move from the visitors which led to the chance on the edge of the six-yard box - a chance that Wheeler would, no doubt, want to have back again.

Moments later, County wasted a glorious opportunity of their own as Matt somehow missed the target with a close-range header.

Wheeler, who was involved in plenty during the first half, tried his luck again in the 44th minute but couldn’t keep a 25-yard shot down.

A minute into the second half, Matt was presented with a chance to shoot 25 yards from goal. He swung a right boot at the ball but dragged his attempt well wide of Moore’s goal.

Moore, though, had to do something about Bakinson’s effort shortly after and the debutant came up trumps with a stunning fingertip save to send the long-range drive onto the crossbar. The danger wasn’t over there, however, as the loose ball fell to Matt. Moore gathered his header.

County maintained their early pressure and Franks hit the post from a corner in the 53rd minute. Moore was then forced into another save, keeping out Matt at his near post from a well-worked corner.

The Dons slowly worked their way back into the game and on the hour, Wheeler saw a goal-bound effort tipped wide by Day following some good work by Brittain down the right-hand side.

Newport came forward again on 66 minutes and they again hit the woodwork - Kennedy, this time, finding the crossbar with his header from Robbie Willmott’s cross.

Some brilliant play from Brittain created an opportunity for Agard a minute later but the Dons’ leading goalscorer sent his curling effort over.

The Dons went even closer on 74 minutes as McGrandles latched onto a deep cross from Brittain and headed over from close-range. The midfielder was incensed afterwards, wanting a penalty for a pull on his shirt as he attempted to reach the ball.

Tisdale showed attacking intent with his first two changes, bringing on Hesketh and Aneke in place of Martin and Wheeler. Aneke was involved right away, heading down a McGrandles ball for Agard, who was beaten to it by Day.

On 78 minutes, Gilbey saw an ambitious chip gathered by the County goalkeeper. At the other end, Moore saved from Padraig Amond’s header before smothering a long-range strike from Butler shortly after.

The game was finely poised as it entered the closing stages and with three minutes remaining, the deadlock was broken. Agard delivered a cross from the right which was met by Hesketh. His shot was saved but the loose ball fell straight to Aneke, who tapped home his 15th goal of the season. 0-1.

There was still work to do to see out the game but Tisdale’s men did so with aplomb - Moore barely challenged in stoppage time, meaning he held out for a clean sheet on his league debut for the Dons.

The whistle blew after the four additional minutes past, sending the 140 travelling MK Dons supporters - and the players on pitch - into delight. A confidence-booster in South Wales ahead of another tough trip on Saturday.

Starting XI: Moore; Martin (Hesketh 75), Walsh, Cargill; Brittain, McGrandles, Cisse, Lewington (c); Gilbey; Wheeler (Aneke), Agard.

Unused subs: Nicholls, Baudry, Houghton, Harley, Walker.

Goal: Aneke (87)

Attendance: 2,860 (140 away)

Referee: K Johnson


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