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Report: MK Dons 0-2 Wycombe Wanderers

MK Dons suffer defeat against Wycombe Wanderers at Stadium MK in the first-round of the Carabao Cup…

8 August 2023

MK Dons are eliminated from the Carabao Cup competition following a 2-0 defeat against Wycombe Wanderers at Stadium MK.

The starting line-up wasn’t too dissimilar from the starting XI that achieved victory over Wrexham AFC on the opening day of the season.

Two changes were made from Saturday, which saw Tommy Smith make way for young Don Brooklyn Ilunga. Ashley Hunter was awarded with his first MK Dons start - Ethan Robson was instead named on the bench.

Both players who were subtracted from the starting side played a full 90-minute fixture in the triumph at the STōK Cae Ras just days prior.


Three minutes after the start of the game Wycombe registered the first shot, although the wayward effort didn’t trouble Craig MacGillivray, who watched it fly behind for a goal-kick.

Minutes later the travelling team would be awarded a corner after the ball left play following a touch from Daniel Harvie. The MK Dons number one would claim the delivery before the home side ventured up the field themselves.

On the ten-minute mark Dale Taylor would find enough space to produce an effort on the edge of the area, his strike nestled past the outside of the far post. The Dons quickly went up the other end of the field, but Max Stryjek was aware to the ball played into his area and smothered it without much pressure applied.

Ash Hunter, who was awarded his full MK Dons debut at Stadium MK received the first yellow card of the match. The number 22 looked to break down the left but made contact with Chris Forino as he attempted to a rescue a touch that evaded him.

Graham Alexander’s men were awarded a free-kick not too far away from the left apex of Wycombe’s box. Harvie delivered an in-swinger which couldn’t locate a white shirt on the end of it.

Captain Jack Grimmer found himself with space in-behind, an attack that could’ve proved costly if not for the tenacity of Brooklyn Ilunga. The youngster sprinted across to deny Grimmer a clean sight at goal, which diverted the resulting shot wide.

23 Minutes in Leko produce a signature spell of trickery. The number seven turned away from his marker Freddie Potts before taking it wide to divert away from the Chairboy’s centre-halves.  

The forward granted himself enough space for a shot, but a dragged attempt rolled wide of the mark.

Warren O’Hora crafted the best effort MK Dons had seen within the firs 45 minutes after his half-volley had to be palmed away by Stryjek. The clean connection on the strike forced a corner for the Dons, which led to a second successive set-piece.

Wycombe had to clear their lines as, once again, Warren O’Hora produce a flick goal bound. But much-like the attempt moments later Stryjek matched to sustain a goalless score-line.

The Dons number five then picked up a yellow card after a late challenge on the opposition’s forward.

Ryan Tafazolli was the first Wycombe player into the books for delaying a quick restart.

Seven minutes before the half Max Stryjek was called to rescue once again, the ‘keeper reacted quickly down to his near post to turn away a strong effort. Alex Gilbey connected well with a corner soon after, but his shot was just wide of the goalmouth.

Mo Eisa had the home crowd on its feet for a second after his long-range effort crashed off the crossbar. One glance was all it took for the number ten to make up his mind and the strike he crafted was inches away from a stunning opener.

A few minutes before the break Jonathan Leko burst into the area with the ball at his feet. However, a tight angle from the right side of the area made it difficult for the attacker to keep his shot down.

The score-line remained level as the referee signalled for half-time.

There was a quiet opening to the second-half, but MK Dons seemed the stronger side coming out of the break. The white shirts held most of possession, which allowed an opportunity to arise for Jonathan Leko.

The forward found space in between Wycombe’s back-line to craft a low shot that Stryjek smothered before it could breach the goal-line.

Shortly after the break it was apparent that Jonathan Leko had swapped a shirt for last season’s number 12, this was soon rectified as he was given a new number seven shirt to wear for the remainder of the fixture.

A dangerous attack mustered for the travelling team through an error from the Dons defence. Fortunately, Daniel Harvie placed himself perfectly to clear Kian Breckin’s attempt off the line. This occurred 15 minutes into the second half.

The Chairboys looked to punish MK Dons as they amounted another attack shortly after the first scare for the home side. Potts’ right-footed curled attempt was blocked away by Daniel Harvie, and the corner that followed was dealt with by the Dons.

Graham Alexander’s men then responded almost instantly with a corner-kick of their own. The initial delivery didn’t cause much trouble whilst the recycled ball into the box was met by the gloves of Max Stryjek.

61 Minutes into the match Alex Gilbey was the next player in a white shirt to test the man between the sticks for Wycombe Wanderers. The midfielder smartly disguised the ball from his marker as he broke into the area, which allowed a rapid turn and shoot chance.

The number eight struck it well, but MK Dons were still yet to beat the goalkeeper, who they had tested throughout the game.

The visitors were the first to make changes in the clash, which saw three swaps as Sam Vokes, Kian Breckin and Josh Scowen made way for Tjay De Barr, Brandon Hanlan and Luke Leahy.

Not long after, MK Dons made changes of their own. Brooklyn Ilunga and Ash Hunter made way for Nathan Holland and Ethan Robson.

72 Minutes into the tie, substitute Brandon Hanlan had broken the deadlock. The ball was played into a dangerous area and in the attempt to clear it fell kindly to Hanlan, who placed it into the back of the net from close-range. 0-1

Wycombe had their tails up and forced MacGillivray into another stop as the goalkeeper palmed a curled effort around the post.

Moments later, the shot-stopper was called into action again as he produced a remarkable double-save.

Alas, the corner that followed Craig’s heroics doubled the opposition’s lead ten minutes following their first. Chris Forino was able to get the final touch onto the ball that fell into his path. 0-2

MK Dons made their way up the other end and Ethan Robson’s ball across the six-yard box tempted to halve the deficit. However, no white shirt was able to meet with the low and hard delivery.

The home side still sought to breach Wycombe’s defence, but their efforts were spurned at every time of asking as Stryjek’s performance looked to earn him a clean sheet.

In one of the Dons’ last attempts going forward, Alex Gilbey played a pinpoint pass over-the-top to Leko, but the forward couldn’t escape his marker one-on-one to get away a clear shot at goal.

Gilbey, once again, pressed the attack alongside Cameron Norman on the right-flank. A one-two was played between the duo as the number eight raced in-behind to unleash a shot that deflected off the woodwork. The corner that followed was then cleared.

Matt Bloomfield’s team created one last attack, which saw the ball fly across the area into D’Mani Mellor. The number 21 was unable to get a touch onto the pass.

The referee signalled for full-time and MK Dons were eliminated from the Carabao Cup competition.


MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker, O’Hora, Williams, Leko, Gilbey (C), Eisa, Ilunga (Holland 68), Harvie, Hunter (Robson 68)

Subs: Harness, Smith, Grant, Anker, Scholtz, Devoy

Yellow cards: Hunter 15, O’Hora 30

Wycombe Wanderers: Stryjek, Grimmer (C), Scowen (Leahy 65), Forino, Tafazolli (Keogh 76), Breckin (De Barr 64), Vokes (Hanlan 66), Boyes, Low, Potts, Taylor (Melor 90+1)

Subs: Shala, Jacobson, Pattenden, Vincent-Young

Goals: Hanlan 72, Forino 82

Yellow cards: Tafazolli 37

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