After a positive start to the season under Liam Manning, MK Dons maintained their form through September, enjoying an excellent month in which the Head Coach was rewarded by being named Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month…
Boateng to the rescue against the Robins
MK Dons looked to be heading to defeat in their opening game of September courtesy of a 14th-minute strike from Cheltenham loanee Kyle Joseph.
However, with three minutes remaining, Daniel Harvie’s cross made its way through to Hiram Boateng, who fired into the roof of the net to earn the Dons a share of the spoils.
“To score late and come away with a point isn’t a bad thing given how the game started but that feeling of frustration is certainly there,” Manning said afterwards.
Stadium MK hosts Young Lions
England Under-21s returned to Stadium MK early in September, beating Kosovo 2-0 in front of a crowd of close to 6,000.
Lee Carsley’s side took the lead just 10 minutes in courtesy of a Rhian Brewster penalty. Cole Palmer then doubled the advantage with a stunning second goal, beating his man inside the area before finding the net from a tight angle.
Three in a row
On the fringes of the top six after a run of five unbeaten, MK Dons put their foot on the gas and moved into the play-off positions with a three-game winning run.
The run started with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Portsmouth at Stadium MK. It was a dominant performance against Pompey – one that was rewarded with three points when Ethan Robson converted following a quick-fire counter-attack.
Liam Manning’s men then travelled to Gillingham and a ground in the MEMS Priestfield Stadium where usually come unstuck. The game appeared to be heading down a similar path when Vadaine Oliver put the Gills ahead but goals from Scott Twine and Peter Kioso had MK Dons in front by the break.
Playing against 10 men for the entirety of the second half because of a red card to Stuart O’Keefe, the Dons wore their opponents down and added gloss to the scoreline through a deflected Troy Parrott strike and Max Watters’ first goal.
Parrott’s effort ultimately went down as an own goal but he would get on the scoresheet the following weekend when MK Dons welcomed Wycombe Wanderers to Stadium MK.
In a tight affair, Parrott’s 45th-minute penalty proved the difference. The Irishman was brought down in the area by Chairboys defender Anthony Stewart, who was shown a straight red card, and picked himself to convert from 12 yards and earn the Dons their third consecutive triumph.
Twine takes home the match ball
MK Dons ended the month with an eventful 3-3 draw at home to Fleetwood Town, in which midfielder Scott Twine stole the show.
Manning’s side twice fell behind twice in the first half but, on both occasions, Twine was able to find the net and restore parity – his first, a curling effort inside the area, and his second a terrific long-range drive.
Twine would complete his first career hat-trick in the second half, from a free-kick which found the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar, but it wasn’t to be the winner, as the Cod Army scored late to earn themselves a share of the spoils.
Manning named top manager
Liam Manning was recognised for an excellent second month in charge of MK Dons when he was named Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month Award for September.
Manning led the Dons to 11 points from five unbeaten games, with his team scoring 10 goals and keeping two clean sheets.
He said: “Our form and success in September was a result of everybody’s hard work – the support staff who have worked tirelessly to prepare the players to go out and perform and, ultimately, the players themselves for producing performances on a matchday.”