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Match Reports

Under-23s beaten by Cheltenham

Youthful Dons side beaten comfortably by strong Robins outfit...

26 March 2019

A youthful MK Dons gave a spirited account of themselves against a strong Cheltenham Town outfit but, in the end, were resoundingly beaten 7-0 for their only their second Central League South loss of the campaign.

Edu Rubio named a young starting XI which included only four professionals - one of which was Dylan Asonganyi, who was fresh from scoring a 16-minute hat-trick for the Reserves in their last outing at home to Forest Green Rovers.

His team fell behind early to a goal from one of Cheltenham’s two trialists, who converted from a cross sent in from the left. 1-0.

Jay Bird almost restored parity straight from kick-off but his low shot was saved by goalkeeper Rhys Lovett, diving left towards his near post. Bird had another opportunity on 12 minutes with a header from a Matt Sorinola free-kick which he sent over.

Asonganyi then found himself in a race to the penalty area but Cheltenham defender Jordan Forster recovered well to hold him up and allow teammates to return to their positions - one of whom got in the way of the striker’s eventual shot.

MK Dons then put together two neat attacking moves which, although lacking in end product, appeared to give the young side some belief.

First of all, Sole did well down the left before switching play over to Charlie Pattison, whose deep cross was claimed by the goalkeeper above Asonganyi.

Then, Finn Tapp sent a delightful ball forward to Sorinola, who brought the pass down on his chest and moved into the area. He received a call from Bird and found him with a cutback - the striker, though, sent his first-time effort over the bar.

Rubio’s side looked to be edging closer to an equaliser but on the half-hour mark they saw their deficit doubled by George Lloyd, who raced onto a through pass from Will Dawes and finished confidently past Jones. 2-0.

Sole, who was having a bright afternoon down the left wing, was involved as the Dons went in search of a way back into the match before half-time. He was brought down on the edge of the area after some neat footwork but Matt Sorinola bent the free-kick wide of the right post.

There would be another goal before the break but it went the way of the home side - Lloyd scoring his second from a Bingham through pass, just a minute prior to the whistle. 3-0.

Rubio made just the one change to his side at the break, replacing Bird with Delsin Ackom but his team conceded a fourth three minutes into the second period when Conor Thomas converted from the penalty spot following a handball in the area. 4-0.

The Robins added a fifth shortly before the hour mark when Bingham rounded Jones and converted from a tight angle, despite Jamal Sule’s best efforts to deny him. 5-0.

Sorinola and Sole both had chances to reduce the arrears but couldn’t find a way past Lovett.

Cheltenham then scored their sixth and seventh goals of the game, with Lloyd and Bingham both completing their hat-tricks - the former volleying home from close-range and the latter rounding Jones before slotting into an empty net. 7-0.

"It was men against boys," Edu Rubio said after the match. "We always knew it was going to be a difficult game in terms of the scoreline. We knew it was going to be similar to what happens on the training ground when the youth team helps out our first-team’s starting XI with their match preparation.

"Despite the scoreline, it was satisfying to see three under-17s have an opportunity to play 90 minutes for the Reserves, and also the entire youth team play against seasoned professionals, who are probably six or seven years ahead of them in terms of experience."

Starting XI: Jones; Sule (Robinson 62), Tapp, Brennan; Sorinola, Kasumu, Wright, Pattison, Sole; Bird (Ackom 46), Asonganyi.

Unused subs: Rose, Leach.


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