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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 0-1 Charlton Athletic

Full-time summary from Stadium MK...

18 April 2023

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 0-1 Charlton Athletic

Full-time summary from Stadium MK...

18 April 2023

MK Dons fell to their first defeat in eight games following a 1-0 loss to Charlton Athletic.

Jack Payne’s 61st-minute goal proved the difference in a tight affair at Stadium MK, as Mark Jackson’s men saw their unbeaten run come to an end.

Despite defeat, the Dons remain three points above the bottom four in Sky Bet League One with three games left to play. They travel to Fleetwood Town at the weekend.

Head Coach Jackson make one change from the weekend draw with Cheltenham Town, as Jonathan Leko replaced Nathan Holland in attack. Sullay Kaikai, meanwhile, returned to the squad for the first time since 18 March – he was amongst substitutes.

Jamie Cumming was the first goalkeeper called into action – the MK Dons number one having to come off his line to gather a direct ball sent into the area for Albie Morgan.

He then collected a lofted ball delivered in from the right, before starting a counter-attack which saw Leko beat two defenders and then find Eisa, whose low cross back into the mix was dealt with by the Addicks.

Charlton were awarded a fortuitous free-kick on the quarter-hour mark for what the linesman adjudged to be a foul by Zak Jules – not that the defender could have done much about Sean Clare running directly into him. However, the Dons dealt with the free-kick and the corner which followed.

Jackson’s men then won their first corner of the evening, following a well-worked move which saw them move from right to left across the pitch. Josh McEachran’s cross was met by the head of Jules but Charlton were, in the end, able to get the ball clear.

With 23 minutes played, the Dons worked play into the area for Eisa who tried to take a touch through a defender’s legs to open up space for a shot but saw the ball intercepted. Charlton broke forward from it but Jesurun Rak-Sakyi’s went through the box untouched.

Jules got into the box again on 29 minutes, playing a one-two with Grant before seeing a sliding tackle prevent him a chance on goal. Moments later, Charlton, specifically Scott Fraser, had a great chance to open the scoring but a terrific last-ditch tackle from Tennai Watson denied him.

There was almost an opportunity for Eisa on the half-hour, following some good work by Grant. He got to the by-line and pulled the ball back for the striker but saw it intercepted, just as Eisa looked to pounce.

Leko was able to get a shot away on 37 minutes – a terrific left-footed strike from 20 yards out, one which looked to have beaten Ashley Maynard-Brewer, only for the Addicks goalkeeper to produce a fingertip save to send it onto the post rather than the bottom corner of the net.

The MK Dons number 12 had a similar try three minutes later and saw this one deflect wide off a Charlton defender, rather than the goalkeeper. Charlton countered from the resulting corner but Watson got an important head to Jack Payne’s cross. Payne then wasn’t too far away with his left-footed strike from the Charlton corner that followed.

Three minutes of stoppage time were awarded at the end of the first half and midway through those, Tucker produced a vital interception to prevent Miles Leaburn connecting with a dangerous ball into the area – the final notable action before the break.

The Dons almost made the perfect start to the second half, with Jules breaking forward from the back and carrying the ball half the length of the pitch before delivering a cross for Eisa, whose first-time volley was brilliantly kept out by Maynard-Brewer.

Jackson’s men maintained their dominance and Leko had an effort deflect wide on 51 minutes, after cutting in from the left flank. Charlton responded well, though, and Steven Sessegnon, from range, forced a good save out of Cumming soon after.

There was a half-chance for Payne moments later but he wasn’t able to direct Rak-Sakyi’s cross on target, despite connecting with the ball on the edge of the six-yard area. Leaburn then had a deflected shot batted away by Cumming, who did well to read it.

However, Charlton’s spell told on the hour mark as they took the lead through PAYNE, who finished off a well-worked move by firing past Cumming from 15 yards out. 0-1.

Jackson immediately went to his bench, replacing Grant with Kaikai on the left of the attack. Kaikai’s strike partner, Leko, was bearing down on goal moments after but was brought down by Dobson, 10 yards from the penalty area.

McEachran went for goal from the free-kick but had his attempt blocked by the wall. Charlton then went close to doubling their lead but Rak-Sakyi’s deft touch fell wide of the target.

The Dons were looking out of sorts and struggling to regain a foothold in the contest. Jackson changed things up with 18 minutes to go, replacing McEachran with Dawson Devoy in midfield and Leko with Will Grigg. There was an enforced change too, with Ethan Robson brought on for an injured Maghoma.

Grigg was involved with six minutes to play, flicking a ball on for Kaikai, whose teasing ball across the area just needed a touch but one wasn’t forthcoming. They were almost punished by the Addicks but Rak-Sakyi curled wide when well-placed.

Holland was Jackson’s final roll of the dice, brought on for Anthony Stewart with two minutes remaining in the 90. That was extended by a further seven.

In the fourth of those stoppage-time minutes, Kaikai picked out Devoy with a low cross but the midfielder’s attempt was blocked. Grigg looked to pounce before going down – referee Sam Allision, though, was unmoved by the appeals.

Later, Watson crossed for Grigg but his glancing header went wide. Holland kept play alive for MK Dons and came away with a corner but Jackson’s men weren’t able to capitalise.

The final chance of the game fell to Kaikai with 40 seconds remaining. He connected with Jules’ cross but, from a tight angle, wasn’t able to find the target with his volleyed effort.

MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Lewington, Tucker, McEachran (Devoy 75), Eisa, Leko (Grigg 76), Grant (Kaikai 62), Stewart (Holland 88), Jules, Maghoma (Robson 76)

Subs: Ravizzoli, Lawrence

Charlton Athletic: Maynard-Brewer, Sessegnon (Mitchell 90+2), Thomas, Dobson, Hector, Morgan, Rak-Sakyi (Kane 88), Payne, Fraser (Kilkenny 88), Clare (Egbo 76), Leaburn

Subs: Wollacott, Henry, Kanu

Goal: Payne (61)

Booked: Leaburn, Dobson, Kane

Referee: S Allison

Attendance: 6,600 (755 away)

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