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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 0-1 Bristol Rovers

Defeat at Stadium MK...

11 October 2022

A late penalty from Antony Evans saw MK Dons beaten 1-0 by Bristol Rovers at Stadium MK.

Liam Manning’s men were frustrated throughout most of the evening by the visitors, who snatched all three points with a quarter of an hour left to play, following a foul on Ryan Loft inside the area.

The defeat is the Dons’ third in succession and leaves them 20th in the Sky Bet League One table after 12 games.

Joshua Kayode was handed his first league start for MK Dons as Liam Manning made four changes from the weekend. Dean Lewington, Matt Smith and Bradley Johnson were the other three additions to the XI.

The Dons were forced to defend an early free-kick from their visitors and, after that, a corner from which Lewis Gibson volleyed over.

It took a while for either side to build any momentum after those early chances. Manning’s men tried to threaten twice with clipped balls over and around the Bristol Rovers backline but, on both occasions, the passes were overhit.

With 20 minutes played, O’Hora got himself in the way of a driven effort by Collins which looked on course to trouble Jamie Cumming. At the other end, there was space for Johnson to deliver a cross for Grigg but he was unable to connect at the far post.

Rovers tried their luck again on 26 minutes through Luke McCormick, who sent a half-volley wide of Cumming’s right-hand post. The Dons then worked their way into the Rovers penalty area but Smith was quickly crowded out and unable to get a shot away. Possession was recycled out to Oyegoke but his deep cross was claimed by Belshaw.

Just past the half-hour mark, Kayode was scythed down by Bobby Thomas after the striker got away from the Rovers defender. That led to a McEachran free-kick from which Will Grigg glanced a header over.

The closest either side came to a goal in the opening 45 minutes was with two minutes remaining in the first half. Rovers striker Collins delivered a dangerous low ball into the area which would have been converted by Coburn had it not been for a vital interception from Cumming, diving out of his goal.

Manning’s side then earned themselves a free-kick on the left flank, which provided a chance for McEachran to send a ball into the box. His near-post delivery was cleared but only as far as Smith, whose stinging effort was blocked on its way through to goal.

There was a final first-half chance for McEachran to provide an opening goal but, after creating space inside the area, he saw his low ball across goal blocked with Grigg lurking.

At the start of the second period, Grigg and Kayode went close to linking up but the former’s through pass was intercepted with the latter on his way through to a one-on-one situation with Belshaw.

Belshaw was forced into a save two minutes later, after Johnson met Harvie’s in-swinging delivery – the Rovers goalkeeper was in the right place to save and hold from the midfielder’s header.

On 58 minutes, Cumming equalled his opposite number with a diving save to keep out Loft’s 20-yard effort. From the resulting corner, McCormick blazed wide for the visitors.

Matthew Dennis was Manning’s first substitution, replacing Kayode just before the hour. He was immediately a target for Johnson but his cross in from the left was intercepted just in front of the striker.

The visitors were awarded a free-kick with 63 minutes on the clock but Collins’ effort was blocked by the wall. That led to successive corners and, from the latter, Cumming produced a stunning save to prevent Gibson’s header from finding the top right-hand corner.

Rossiter also went close for Rovers with a fiercely-struck long-range drive. Manning then went to his bench, introducing Ethan Robson in place of McEachran in the centre of the park.

His side, though, would fall behind four minutes later, after referee Scott Oldham adjudged Loft to have been fouled inside the area. Substitute Antony Evans converted from 12-yards to give Bristol Rovers the lead with a quarter of an hour to play. 0-1.

Loft had an opportunity to double his side’s lead with 11 minutes to play but he fired over from inside the area. Louie Barry then came off the bench for the Dons, as Manning used his final substitution opportunity.

The Dons huffed and puffed in the closing stages but, in truth, they never really threatened an equaliser, slopping to a disappointing Stadium MK defeat.

MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, O’Hora, McEachran (Robson 71), Smith (Barry 81), Grigg, Oyegoke, Johnson, Kayode (Dennis 59), Harvie, Jules.

Subs: Ravizzoli, Tucker, Holland, Grant.

Booked: Harvie, Jules, Robson

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Gordon, Collins (Anderson 83), Rossiter, Coutts, Gibson, Loft, McCormick (Finley 62), Gibbons (Hoole 71), Thomas, Coburn (Evans 71).

Subs: Jaakkola, Clarke, Jasper.

Goal: Evans (pen 76)

Booked: Collins, Thomas

Referee: S Oldham

Attendance: 6,466 (772 away)


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