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Report: MK Dons 2-3 Rotherham United

Millers come from behind at Stadium MK...

23 November 2019

Rotherham United scored three second-half goals as they came from behind to beat MK Dons 3-2 at Stadium MK.

Goals from Alex Gilbey and Joe Mason had the Dons two to the good at the break but substitute Freddie Ladapo bagged a second-half brace, along with a goal from Dan Barlaser, as the visitors stole the points away from Russell Martin’s men.

It’s a defeat which keeps the Dons in the bottom three in Sky Bet League One, with two weeks until their next league outing – a trip to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 7 December.

Boss Martin made three changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Bolton Wanderers, two of which were enforced.

Regan Poole, back from international duty, replaced the suspended George Williams while Baily Cargill came in for Jordan Moore-Taylor, who was forced off in that defeat in Greater Manchester. Jordan Houghton for Ben Reeves was the other change.

The visitors had an early opportunity on goal when Matt Crooks intercepted a pass midway inside the Dons’ half and broke into the penalty area. Houghton did well to force him wide and dispossess the midfielder before he could pull the trigger.

MK Dons had an early chance of their own two minutes in as a ball over the top from Joe Walsh found Jordan Bowery. The striker was onside but his shot was blocked. With their next effort, on four minutes, they took the lead.

Cargill created it with a surging run forward from defence. He carried the ball from the half-way line all the way through to the edge of the box, before picking out Gilbey, who took a couple of touches and then squeezed home a right-footed shot from the tightest of angles for his first goal of the season. 1-0.

Cargill was involved again as MK Dons created another opening in the eighth minute. He found Bowery this time, who picked out Lewington with a first-time pass. The captain’s cross, however, looped up and out of play.

Rotherham then responded, with Jake Hastie forcing Lee Nicholls into his first save of the game – a comfortable one for the goalkeeper, diving down to his right.

The Dons went straight down the other end with Gilbey, who had a curling shot deflected just wide of the far post. Lewington then saw an effort blocked from the resulting corner before Martin’s men deservedly doubled their lead.

McGrandles threaded a ball through to Brittain, bursting down the right, whose low cross was cleared only as far as Mason, who didn’t hesitate before lashing home a first-time right-footed effort and opening his account for the Club. 2-0.

The Dons kept their foot on the gas, and just three minutes later, McGrandles found himself unmarked inside the penalty area. His shot, though, was saved by Daniel Iversen.

Mason then went agonisingly close to his second, seeing a near post flick saved at point-blank range by the Millers goalkeeper from Lewington’s cross. The striker also had a looping header kept out by Iversen, from a McGrandles corner.

A stunning piece of defending from Walsh prevented Rotherham getting back into the match midway through the first half. The Dons then saw away the danger that came from the resulting corner.

They were almost gifted a third goal with eight minutes to play in the half when Brittain ghosted into the box unmarked. From a tight angle, though, his shot was kept out by Iversen and Bowery couldn’t pounce on the loose ball.

Rotherham made a double change at the break, in a bid to pull themselves back into the contest. They forced an early corner but that was comfortably deadly with by Nicholls.

Matthew Olosunde then had a goal-bound effort blocked by Cargill before Nicholls pulled off a stunning point-blank stop to deny substitute Freddie Ladapo, who looked certain to score when deflected shot fell into his path, six yards from goal.

The MK Dons number one made another terrific block moments later to keep out a close-range try from Morris, before Poole went agonisingly close at the other end, racing onto McGrandles’ through pass and firing just wide with his right foot.

Rotherham were given a lifeline on 66 minutes, as they pounced on a loose pass deep inside the MK Dons half – Barlaser with the decisive strike despite Walsh’s best efforts to keep it out. 2-1.

Brittain was replaced by Hiram Boateng shortly after but that couldn’t prevent the visiting side from drawing level with 20 minutes to play, as Ladapo converted from inside the six-yard area following a Millers free-kick sent deep into the box. 2-2.

A stunned Stadium MK was then in complete shock when the visitors were a penalty for a pull inside the area. Ladapo stepped up to take the spot-kick, but cannoned his strike off the crossbar.

Martin sent Ben Reeves into the contest, in the hopes of restoring the lead. They almost surrendered it with nine minutes to play, but Clark Robertson failed to make them pay for leaving him unmarked from a corner.

Brennan Dickenson was Martin’s final roll of the dice on 82 minutes. He almost made an instant impact, picking out fellow sub Reeves with a cross – the MK Dons number 7 saw his shot deflected into the side netting.

It was Rotherham, though, who would take a decisive late lead and it was Ladapo again on the scoresheet, poking home at the far post from another free-kick. 3-2.

Frustrations boiled over in the closing stages, with Rotherham failing to return the ball to Cargill, who was shown a red card for his reaction. That did enough to wind down the clock and put an end to a disappointing afternoon for the Dons – one which showed such promise half-way through.

MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington (c), Walsh, Poole, Cargill, Gilbey, Bowery (Dickenson 82), McGrandles (Reeves 76), Mason, Houghton, Brittain (Boateng 69).

Subs: Moore, Kasumu, Asonganyi, Sorinola.

Goals: Gilbey (4), Mason (13)

Booked: Gilbey

Sent off: Cargill

Rotherham United: Iversen, Jones, Wiles, Barlaser, Morris, Robertson, Crooks (Vassell 46), Ihiekwe (c), Olosunde, Hastie (Clarke 64), Smith (Ladapo 46).

Subs: Price, Thompson, Lindsay, Lamy.

Goals: Barlaser (66), Ladapo (71)

Booked: Crooks, Ihiekwe, Morris

Referee: R Joyce

Attendance: 7,811 (983 away)


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