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Report: MK Dons 1-0 Portsmouth

Fraser's spot-kick seals Stadium MK success...

17 April 2021

Scott Fraser’s first-half penalty saw a dominant MK Dons performance rewarded with a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth at Stadium MK.

Scott Fraser’s first-half penalty saw a dominant MK Dons performance rewarded with a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth at Stadium MK.

Fraser struck home the decisive goal late in the first half, following a foul on Ethan Laird in the area, and that proved to be enough for the Dons to beat play-off chasing Pompey, who were reduced to 10 men for the final nine minutes.

The win – the ninth at home this season – lifts Russell Martin’s men back into the top half of Sky Bet League One. They sit 12th with four games left to play in the 2020/21 season.

David Kasumu was handed his first start since December as MK Dons made one change from the midweek defeat to Lincoln City. Meanwhile, Jay Bird was back in the squad for the first time in five months, as Daniel Harvie, who suffered an injury in training, missed out.

There wasn’t much in the way of goal-mouth action until the ninth minute when Ronan Curtis fired straight at Andrew Fisher from 20 yards out.

The Dons then went close through Matt O’Riley, whose bending effort from the edge of the area crashed against the far post. Andrew Surman had a chance on the follow-up, but sent his left-footed curler just over the bar.

O’Riley had another opportunity on the quarter-hour mark but headed wide when well-placed from Scott Fraser’s cross. Moments later, at the other end of the pitch, Fisher produced a stunning reflex save to keep out John Marquis’ overhead kick.

Marquis tried another speculative effort on 22 minutes – a first-time effort on the half-way line which Fisher watched wide

On the half hour, the Dons were then aggrieved not to have been given a penalty for what appeared to be a foul on Grigg as he attempted to convert a Laird cross. Despite the clear infringement, referee Martin Coy opted against a spot-kick – and instead booked Dean Lewington for dissent.

Curtis almost compounded the frustration but, twice, he failed to find the net from the edge of the box- his first effort clipped the outside of the far post and the second was saved by Fisher.

With six minutes left to play in the first half, Surman shot wide direct from a 20-yard free-kick, won for a foul on Laird.

Laird was brought down again, a minute later, but this time inside the penalty area and provided Fraser with the opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot – which, of course, he took, sending Craig MacGillivray the wrong way from 12-yards. 1-0.

A superb tackle from Harry Darling prevented Marquis from equalising in first-half stoppage time. The Dons then went agonisingly close to doubling their lead through Grigg, who was twice denied by goal-line blocks, before Marquis had another first-half effort which was deflected over the bar by the body of Lewington.

Within the first three minutes of the second period, both sides hit the crossbar. First, Fraser fired a left-footed volley against the woodwork from Grigg’s set-up, then Portsmouth’s Tom Naylor saw his header hit the underside of the bar and then bounce to a Dons defender to clear.

Lewington and Darling then combined to halt a promising Portsmouth counter-attack, which they had worked into the Dons’ box.

Martin went to his bench for the first time on 66 minutes, replacing Kasumu and Fraser with Charlie Brown and Josh McEachran as MK Dons went to two up-front.

The Dons boss then saw his goalkeeper pull off another superb diving save, this time to keep out Jack Whatmough’s goal-bound header. Fisher also did well to collect a teasing low cross from Daniels.

Whatmough’s next involvement was to go flying into a two-footed tackle on Brown – a poor tackle which earned him a straight red card and forced Pompey to play the final nine minutes with 10 men.

The Dons almost made their advantage count instantly, but O’Riley drilled just wide from the edge of the D.

Jordan Houghton then replaced Surman for the final six minutes, as Martin looked to add fresh legs to his midfield for the closing stages. He played his part in helping control the remaining minutes, which, happily for the Dons, went by without too much in the way of goal-mouth action.

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, Jules, Darling, Kasumu (Brown 65), Grigg, Fraser (McEachran 66), Laird, Surman (Houghton 84), O’Riley, Sorinola.

Subs: Nicholls, Sorensen, Mason, Bird.

Goal: Fraser (pen 41)

Booked: Lewington, Jules

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Johnson, Naylor, Whatmough, Williams (Nicolaisen 59), Marquis, Curtis, Harness, Raggett (Cannon 77), Daniels, White (Byers 59).

Subs: Ward, Downing, Bolton, Stanley.

Booked: Daniels, Byers

Sent off: Whatmough (81)

Referee: M Coy


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