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Match Reports

Report: Bristol Rovers 0-2 MK Dons

Dons go back-to-back in Bristol...

20 April 2021

MK Dons made it back-to-back victories thanks to a dominant 2-0 triumph away at Bristol Rovers.

Scott Fraser put the Dons ahead 17 minutes in when he slotted home after Will Grigg’s initial effort was saved.

Grigg then got himself on the scoresheet in the second, as Russell Martin’s climbed to tenth in the Sky Bet League One table.

MK Dons made just the one change from Saturday’s win at Stadium MK, as Josh McEachran replaced Andrew Surman in midfield.

They found themselves behind the Bristol Rovers backline inside the opening 90 seconds but Matthew Sorinola, who put the ball in the net, was flagged for offside.

Sorinola was involved again, on six minutes as he delivered a cross for Will Grigg, whose stabbed effort was deflected wide of goal. From the resulting corner, Ethan Laird fired over.

Bristol Rovers worked their way into the Dons box for the first time two minutes later but McEachran did well to deny Brandon Hanlan. That led to a corner, from which the Rovers striker wasted a terrific opportunity, firing straight at Andrew Fisher from 10 yards.

The Dons were in control, however, and they got a goal to reflect their dominance with 17 minutes played and it was from a familiar source.

After winning possession inside the Bristol Rovers half, Grigg played a one-two with Matt O’Riley before having a shot saved by Anssi Jaakkola. Jaakkola couldn’t hold the effort, however, and Fraser, alert to the loose ball, was able to slam home the opening goal. 0-1.

Martin’s men went in search of a second goal midway through the first half, with Dean Lewington trying his luck from distance – an effort which was blocked by the head of a home defender.

Fisher was forced into action just past the half-hour, getting down well to smother a dangerous low cross from ex-Don George Williams. At the other end, Sorinola went close with a deflected effort which landed just wide of the post.

With eight minutes to play in the half, Hanlan dragged an 18-yard attempt wide for the hosts. Moments later, Laird stung the palms of Jaakkola with a right-footed strike.

Sorinola was having a starring role on the left-hand side and he almost doubled the Dons’ lead late in the first half with a fierce effort which cannoned off the crossbar with Jaakkola beaten.

Early in the second, Luke McCormick threw himself in the way of Fisher’s clearance but, fortunately for the Dons, the ball landed off target. Leahy then went close with a left-footed shot which Fisher saw wide.

Grigg had the visitors first opportunity of the second – a first-time effort from Laird’s cross which was blocked. Sorinola also threatened goal from distance but his attempt sailed over the bar.

With their next effort on goal, on the hour, the Dons were able to double their lead and it was a welcome sight too, with Grigg on the scoresheet for the first time in over a month.

McEachran’s deep free-kick was kept alive at the far post by Jules and a mix-up inside the six-yard box presented MK Dons’ number six with a simple chance to score – one he didn’t pass up. 0-2.

A stunning block from Lewington prevented the home side from reducing the deficit straight from kick-off. The captain almost found himself on the scoresheet at the opposite end, but his low 25-yard drive skimmed just past the post.

Surman replaced Kasumu for the final 19 minutes. Soon after, Bristol Rovers sub James Daly went close to pulling a goal back but fired into the side netting.

Jaakkola prevented O’Riley’s cross-turned-shot from finding the far corner with a smart with less than a quarter of an hour to play. The Dons then made a double change, with Charlie Brown and Jordan Houghton replacing Grigg and McEachran.

Brown was involved instantly, setting up a chance for Laird who was unable to get a shot away deep inside the Rovers box.

Despite threatening, the Dons were unable to secure a greater margin of victory. They did, though, have Fisher to thank for ensuring the advantage finished at two – the goalkeeper securing his fourth clean sheet in six games, and a 2-0 victory, with a stoppage-time penalty save to deny Leahy.

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, Jules, McEachran (Houghton 81), Darling, Kasumu (Surman 71), Grigg (Brown 80), Fraser (Sorensen 90+2), Laird, O’Riley, Sorinola.

Subs: Nicholls, Mason, Bird.

Goals: Fraser (17), Grigg (60)

Booked: Sorinola, Kasumu, Fisher

Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Leahy, Hanlan (Oztumer 46), McCormick, Kilgour, Ayunga, Harries (Baldwin 46), Walker (Westbrooke 46), Rodman (Daly 70), Martinez, Williams.

Subs: Day, Hare, Tutonda

Booked: Rodman, Martinez, McCormick, Kilgour

Referee: J Oldham

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