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Report: Crawley Town 2-1 MK Dons

Defeat for MK Dons at the Broadfield Stadium...

15 August 2023

Match Reports

Report: Crawley Town 2-1 MK Dons

Defeat for MK Dons at the Broadfield Stadium...

15 August 2023

MK Dons fell to their first league defeat of the season, losing 2-1 to Crawley Town at the Broadfield Stadium.

Mo Eisa scored his third goal in as many games to cancel out Nick Tsaroulla's opener but Danilo Orsi found the net in the second half to earn his side the points, and inflict a first Sky Bet League Two defeat on Graham Alexander's Dons.

Alexander named unchanged side for the third successive game, while the Head Coach also named the same substitutes bench from Saturday's win at Stadium MK.

It took time for the game to get going. After five minutes, MK Dons were able to work the ball down the left for Daniel Harvie but he had little in the way of support inside the penalty area and his cross wasn’t met by a teammate.

The Dons did get into the box two minutes later with Jonathan Leko, who latched onto Harvie’s clipped pass. He cut inside and shot, right-footed, but his effort was deflected wide via a block from Dion Conroy.

Crawley threatened for the first time with 10 minutes played – Ronan Darcy blasting over from the edge of the area after Harvie had got himself in the way of Kellan Gordon’s initial effort. Soon after that, Craig MacGillivray was called into action to tip Liam Kelly’s 20-yard strike over his crossbar.

The hosts continued their strong spell and took the lead with a quarter of an hour played through TSAROULLA, who latched onto a ball down the left channel and found a way past MacGillivray from a tight angle. 1-0.

Crawley, buoyed by their goal, pushed forward again on 20 minutes and saw Darcy have a low drive blocked by the feet of Tommy Smith.

The Dons’ first real response to the opening goal came five minutes after that but Mo Eisa was adjudged offside after being found inside the area by Leko. Eisa wasn’t offside, though, as MK Dons drew level a minute later.

To start, Eisa and Leko combined to force Crawley into a loose pass out from the back. MJ Williams made the interception and immediately played in EISA, who opted not to tee up his strike partner Leko and, instead, go it alone, managing to squirm his shot under Corey Addai for his third goal in as many games. 1-1.

MacGillivray made a vital save just before the half-hour to prevent Crawley restoring their lead within minutes – the MK Dons goalkeeper flashing across his goalline to keep a scrambled effort out with his feet. At the other end, Gilbey forced Addai into a save with a fierce 20-yard drive.

There was an opening for Eisa to double his tally with seven minutes remaining in the first half but this effort, from outside the area, flew over Addai’s crossbar. Leko tried his luck, too, from similar range – his strike was also high of the target.

Crawley started the second half in positive fashion and produced a save out of MacGillivray within six minutes of the re-start – the Dons goalkeeper equal to Liam Kelly’s low drive towards the bottom right corner.

The hosts were rewarded for their start on 52 minutes, re-taking the lead through ORSI, who finished off a well-worked passing move with a curling finish past MacGillivray. 2-1.

Leko almost provided an instant response for the Dons but, after latching onto a long pass and twisting and turning inside the area, he shot over from a tight angle. Gilbey then fired just wide from right of the D, after being teed up by Eisa.

Alexander made his first change with an hour on the clock, adding Ashley Hunter to his attack in place of Tucker. Hunter was amongst the Dons players in the box awaiting Gilbey’s cross, after the MK Dons captain had raced to the byline – the ball in, however, was intercepted.

Crawley went close to a third when Jay Williams headed against the crossbar from Will Wright’s free-kick on 65 minutes. Not long after that, Alexander made his second substitution – a change in midfield with Dawson Devoy on for Robson.

Devoy was involved right away, spotting the untracked run of Gilbey and playing through a pass which was just out of his midfield partner’s reach. Crawley then threatened again with Campbell a yard away from finding the net, 20 yards out.

The Dons had successive corners as the clock ticked past the 80-minute mark. From the second, O’Hora flicked Hunter’s ball on to Harvie, whose left-footed strike was blocked by a Crawley defender.

With six minutes to play, Klaidi Lolos dragged a shot wide for the hosts. Nathan Holland then entered the fray as the Dons’ final roll of the die – he came on for Williams with a little under five minutes remaining in the 90.

In the final minute of the 90, MacGillivray came up with a vital diving save to keep Orsi’s effort out and ensure the deficit remained at just one for the seven minutes of stoppage time that followed.

The Dons had most of the ball in those seven stoppage time minutes but weren’t able to create an opportunity to level the scores. In fact, it was Crawley who had the best opportunity to score, hitting Alexander’s men on the counter only for Adam Campbell to fire into the side netting.

There was drama in the dying seconds when Hunter went down under a challenge inside the penalty area but referee Daniel Middleton was quick to wave away appeals for a late spot-kick. He blew the whistle soon after that, confirming the Dons’ first league defeat of the season.

MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker (Hunter 61), O’Hora, Williams (Holland 86), Leko, Gilbey, Eisa, Smith, Robson (Devoy 69), Harvie.

Subs: Harness, Dean, Ilunga, Scholtz.

Goal: Eisa (27)

Booked: Robson, Hunter

Crawley Town: Addai, Gordon (Campbell 49), Conroy, Kelly, Ransom, Orsi, Darcy (Khaleel 84), Telford (Lolos 64), Tsaroulla, Williams, Wright.

Subs: Ashby-Hammond, Henry, Mukena, Swyer, Khaleel.

Goals: Tsaroulla (15), Orsi (53)

Booked: Williams

Referee: D Middleton

Attendance: 3,282 (505 away)

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