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Report: Gillingham 1-4 MK Dons

MK Dons up to third after away win...

18 September 2021

MK Dons came from behind to thrash ten-man Gillingham 4-1 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium and secure their first away league win of the season.

The Gills went ahead through Vadaine Oliver 20 minutes in but were soon reduced to 10 men when Stuart O’Keefe was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Scott Twine which resulted in a penalty - Twine saw his spot-kick saved but finished the rebound to level the scores.

Peter Kioso gave MK Dons a half-time lead with his first goal since returning to the Club before Troy Parrott and substitute Max Watters added to the score late in the second period, sealing a memorable away triumph for Liam Manning and his side

Team news
MK Dons made one change from the 1-0 win over Portsmouth, with Peter Kioso replacing Tennai Watson on the right. Liam Manning's men were, otherwise, the same.

First half
Andrew Fisher was forced into a save 90 seconds in, doing well to close his legs in time to block Kyle Dempsey’s low shot.

The Dons responded with two through balls sent into the box – both of which were dealt with by the Gills defence. There was then an opening for Daniel Harvie down the left but his cross was too far in front of Scott Twine and Hiram Boateng.

Their first shot came a few minutes later through Parrott, following some good work down the right involving O’Riley and Kioso - his fierce strike, though, was saved by Jamie Cumming.

On 14 minutes, a Matt O’Riley free-kick looked destined for Harry Darling but a slight deflection took the ball away from the MK Dons defender. Darling tried his luck again soon after – this time an audacious effort from inside his own half that was claimed by Cumming.

Despite their dominant start it was the home team who look the lead courtesy of Oliver, who was unmarked from Alex MacDonald’s cross and able to head past Fisher unchallenged. 1-0.

Manning’s men were handed their way back into match on 26 minutes when Twine was dragged down by O’Keefe inside the area. The former Don, already on a yellow card, was given his marching orders by Josh Busby by way of a second booking.

The Dons then made it a double punishment for their hosts with Twine finding the net to level the scores – that despite his effort from the penalty spot being saved by Cumming. 1-1.

With a man advantage, it was Manning’s men who were in the ascendancy from there and they took the lead with seven minutes to play in the half thanks to Deadline Day signing Kioso.

A well-worked move down the right saw O’Riley eventually play a killer pass through to Kioso who, despite the tight angle, took the shot on and gave Cumming no chance with his right-foot drive into the roof of the net. 1-2.

Parrott fired over in the 43rd minute as the Dons went in search of a third before the break. Twine then went agonisingly close to an O’Riley cross deep inside the box.

Half-Time – Gillingham 1-2 MK Dons

Second half
The Dons went straight on the attack at the start of the second half but Parrott was just beaten to an early through ball by Cumming. The Tottenham Hotspur loanee was in behind again a minute later, this time able to latch onto the pass but not able to find the target with his shot.

With 53 minutes on the clock, a shot from Twine was almost inadvertently turned deflected into the net by Gills substitute Rhys Bennett but fortunately for him, is touch took the ball wide. From the resulting corner, Warren O’Hora glanced a header over the bar.

Manning made his first change on the hour, replacing Max Watters with Boateng. His side almost shot themselves in the foot two minutes later but, after latching onto an under-hit back-pass, Gerald Sitole was denied one-on-one by Fisher.

Parrott tried to make them pay with a long-range effort which flew high and wide. Fisher was then forced into a save from Oliver’s ambitious 20-yard volley, moments before Darling through himself in the way of a goal-bound effort.

Twine went in search of a second with just over a quarter of an hour to play but his 20-yard effort was saved by Cumming. The Gills keeper also denied Watters, after he beat the offside trap a minute later.

Kioso’s afternoon was cut short soon after as he was forced off with an injury but the Dons didn’t let it disrupt their rhythm and with eight minutes to play they doubled their advantage with a third goal.

O’Riley was the creator again, this time threading a pass through for Parrott who, with the help of a deflection, rifled a shot past Cumming for his third goal of the season. 1-3.

That goal, in affect, settled the contest but there was still time for substitute Watters to record his first goal for the Club. After an unselfish pass from Twine, Watters was initially denied by Cumming but he kept his composure to latch onto the rebound and fire home his maiden MK Dons goal. 1-4.

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O’Hora, Darling, O’Riley, Twine, Robson (McEachran 85), Boateng (Watters 60), Parrott, Harvie, Kioso (Watson 76).

Subs: Ravizzoli, Watson, Jules, Brown, Martin,

Goals: Twine (27), Kioso (39), Parrott (83), Watters (88)

Booked: Robson, Kioso

Gillingham: Cumming, Tutonda (Bennett 46), O’Keefe, Ehmer, Tucker, MacDonald, Dempsey, Kelman (Reeves 37), McKensie, Ashead (Sitole 54), Oliver.

Subs: Chapman, Lee, Lloyd.

Goal: Oliver (20)

Booked: O’Keefe, Tucker

Sent off: O’Keefe

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