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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 4-1 Chelsea U21

Winning start to the EFL Trophy for MK Dons...

29 August 2023

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 4-1 Chelsea U21

Winning start to the EFL Trophy for MK Dons...

29 August 2023

MK Dons made a winning start to their EFL Trophy campaign, beating Chelsea Under-21s 4-1 at Stadium MK.

Goals from Matthew Dennis and Jonathan Leko, either side of Jimmy-Jay Morgan’s effort, had Graham Alexander’s men in front, before substitute Max Dean scored a brace off the bench to put some gloss on the scoreline.

Head Coach Alexander made eight changes to his starting XI as the Dons prepared to embark on their EFL Trophy campaign.

Dean Lewington returned to captain the side following his recovery from an injury during pre-season. The likes of Nathan Harness, Phoenix Scholtz, and Callum Tripp were all awarded with their full MK Dons debut.

Whilst Conor Grant, Brooklyn Ilunga, Ashley Hunter and Matt Dennis all received their first start of the season.

Chelsea’s Under-21s would register the first shot of the game after a ball into the box landed at the feet of their number 67. His quick turn out gave him enough space for a shot, but it wouldn’t trouble Harness between the stick as hit smashed off the outside netting.

The travelling side looked to break once again after they turned over an oncoming MK Dons attack. It could’ve proved costly if not for Callum Tripp’s anticipation, the number 34 stepped up to prevent the ball from travelling through towards the opposition’s forward.

Dawson Devoy had won the ball before Matt Dennis had broken the deadlock at Stadium MK through a brilliantly taken finish.

The number 30 had received the ball near the right of the field before turning his defender and using his speed to his advantage, which allowed the 30 to break towards the edge of the area.

Whilst he breached the box, Dennis then unleashed a strike that would locate the bottom left corner, which left the Chelsea goalkeeper no chance of stopping it. 1-0

MK Dons were close to doubling their lead soon after through Jonathan Leko, but the young Blues’ goalkeeper had made himself wide enough to prevent the close-range chance.

With the momentum gained from the opening goal, Graham Alexander’s men sought to double their lead, mustering multiple attacks to accomplish that mission.

Once again, Tripp’s anticipation almost rewarded him. The young player pounced on a loose ball, but a strong stop for the opposition’s ‘keeper denied the young Don of hist first senior goal for the time being.

Phoenix Scholtz, on the far right of the field won a corner for the Dons after his initial cross was blocked behind by-line. Hunter crafted the delivery, but Chelsea was quick to clear the oncoming danger.

Just after the 30-minute mark, a precise cross met Chelsea’s number 55, who equalised through a close-range header that bounced off the floor and into the roof of the net. 1-1

Leko saw sight of goal as he broke into a dangerous area, but only for his strike to matched by an onrushing Beach in between the sticks. This occurred Five minutes prior to the interval.

Four minutes were added onto the first-half of action, but the score-line remained level once the referee signalled for the half-time break.

Upon the restart, Chelsea were the first team to claim a corner-kick following a block from Brooklyn Ilunga to turn behind an initial ball into box.

The young Blues were awarded with a second successive set-piece, but Tucker’s headed clearance prevented any further danger.

Dennis responded as he conjured the first shot of the half for the home side seven minutes following the interval, but Eddie Beach watched as it dragged wide of the target.

MK Dons restored their lead through Jonathan Leko. The goal-scorer had played the ball into the run of Phoenix Scholtz, whose first strike at goal was dealt with by Eddie Beach.

However, the shot was too powerful to handle and although the first deflected attempt from Leko was saved, the number seven made no mistake at the second time of asking. 2-1

The young Blues looked set to respond almost immediately and they would’ve been effective in their effort if not for the heroics of Nathan Harness, who flung himself at the oncoming ball to divert its path wide.

Graham Alexander made three changes at the hour-mark, which saw Warren O’Hora take to the field, Max Dean awarded with his first appearance this season and Charlie Waller earn the honour of his MK Dons senior debut.

Chelsea came close to levelling the game once again with a strike that whistled over the crossbar. This was followed soon after by another attack created by the team in blue, but a vital block by Waller was made to deny a possible second equaliser.

Max Dean doubled the Dons’ advantage. Warren O’Hora created the chance with a header that travelled through Chelsea’s half to locate the feet of Joanthan Leko.

The striker held his run just enough to be played in-behind by Leko, and the empathic finish produced by Dean was the final piece of the puzzle to grant the hosts a 3-1 lead 70 minutes into the tie.

The young Blues replicated a chance from when they went a goal behind previously, but once again, Nathan Harness was there to deny any setback.

Jonathan Leko then made way for Joel Anker as the young Don achieved his first senior MK Dons appearance at Stadium MK.

The young striker Max Dean collected his brace with a brilliantly placed curled finish. The ball returned to his feet after his driving run progressed the Dons further up the field.

From a very difficult range and angle Dean perfected his curled effort with enough power to beat Beach, but also with enough precision to find the far netting in the final eleven minutes of the match. 4-1

A chance arose late on for Joel Anker, only for the young forward to be spurned by the offside flag before he could turn and get a shot away.

Similarly, Chelsea’s Leo Castledine had found the back of the net, but the offside flag denied him of reducing the deficit soon after seven minutes of added time was displayed.

To cap off an excellent evening’s work, there was an incredible moment from Brooklyn Ilunga, who made a goal-line clearance with a quick acrobatic reaction to get a leg onto the oncoming shot. The Linesman’s flag was raised shortly after, but the young defender wasn’t aware.

MK Dons: Harness, Lewington (C) (O’Hora 60), Tucker (Waller 60), Leko (Anker 70), Grant, Ilunga, Hunter, Scholtz, Devoy, Dennis (Dean 60), Tripp

Subs: MacGillivray, Gilbey, Harvie

Goals: Dennis 8, Leko 56, Dean 70 79,

Booked: Scholtz 13, Devoy 59, Leko 67

Chelsea Under-21s: Beach, Gilchrist, Williams, Matos (McMahon 79), Castledine, Morgan (McNeilly 79), Hughes (Gee 85), Stutter, George, Boniface, Dyer (Rak-Sakyi 79)

Subs: Merrick, Ampah, Wilson

Goals: Jimmy Jay-Morgan 31

Booked: Boniface 90+3

Referee: J Miles

Attendance: 1,704 (284 away)

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