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Report: Wrexham AFC 3-5 MK Dons

MK Dons’ season opener against Wrexham AFC at the STōK Cae Ras…

5 August 2023

Match Reports

Report: Wrexham AFC 3-5 MK Dons

MK Dons’ season opener against Wrexham AFC at the STōK Cae Ras…

5 August 2023

MK Dons claimed a 5-3 victory in an eight-goal opening-day success at the STōK Cae Ras.

Graham Alexander led the Dons to three points in his first game as Head Coach, with Jonathan Leko hitting a second-half brace alongside strikes from Mo Eisa and Daniel Harvie and own goal from Eoghan O’Connell.

The new MK Dons Head Coach named his first starting XI of the 2023/24 season, which included a debut MK Dons start for Craig MacGillivray, Cameron Norman and MJ Williams.
 
The returning Alex Gilbey, who was also named in the starting line-up, was given captaincy for the Dons’ season opener at the STōK Cae Ras.
 
FIRST-HALF
MK Dons had the perfect start to their season opener, which saw them lead just five minutes following the starting whistle.
 
Ethan Robson delivered a curling free-kick with his left foot that located the back post, a pass that caused trouble for the Wrexham defence. In an attempt to deal with the danger, Eoghan O’Connell nodded the ball into the back of his own net, leaving no chance of stopping the opener. 0-1



An electric start to the fixture continued as both teams seemed fired up for the first Sky Bet League Two fixture of the 2023/24 season.
 
Although, it was the travelling team who posed more of a threat within the opening stages of the clash. MJ Williams conjured a shot which crashed off the post due to a deflection taken on the way through to its target, just two minutes after the deadlock was broken.
 
Wrexham looked to respond through Ryan Barnett, who carried the ball down the right and provided the first glimpse at goal for the home side. The number 29 for the hosts set his sights on goal, but his effort didn’t trouble Craig MacGillivray as it travelled high and wide of the target.
 
Prior to the ten-minute mark, MK Dons continued their strong start which saw them double their advantage through Mo Eisa. The number ten battled his way through numerous Wrexham bodies within the box before poking the ball past Ben Foster, who rushed out his net in an attempt to claim it. 0-2
 
The attacker was then booked soon after for delaying a quick restart.
 
Dons’ rear-guard was called into action five minutes following the second goal. Tommy Smith first denied an initial cross into the area before Jack Tucker stood tall to block an attempt that followed.

The Red Dragons started to create more chances, but they were still yet to test MacGillivray in between the sticks.



Leko looked to get creative down the right side to provide a cross for his teammates in blue, who surged into the area. His pass was turned behind for a corner, which was later dealt with by the trailing team.
 
Ben Foster ensured that Jonathan Leko didn’t increase the deficit after he stretched to palm away the number seven’s effort from the edge of the area.
 
Minutes before the break, the Welsh side pulled one back through Jacob Mendy, who placed the ball in at the far post after it fell kindly for the number 19 following an initial saved effort. 1-2
 
Mo Eisa linked up with Jonathan Leko in an attempt to restore the two-goal lead as they broke behind the backline, but Ben Foster was quick to react and prevented any further danger before the interval.
 
SECOND-HALF

Wrexham had come out the blocks swiftly at the restart, which saw the Dons under early pressure. However, the defence had soaked up enough pressure to force the ball back into the host’s half.
 
This granted Alex Gilbey a chance to snatch the ball high-up the field before laying it into the path of Jonathan Leko. The number seven shifted to his left before he unleashed a rocket of a strike from the edge of the area, that located the bottom-left corner and restored MK Dons’ two-goal lead.1-3



The start to the second-half replicated that of the first for Graham Alexander’s men. The third goal scored produced a higher intensity, which forced the Red Dragons to turn over the ball multiple times.
 
MK Dons replicated their first-half showing after they increased their advantage to 1-4 through Jonathan Leko. Mo Eisa slotted the ball through to the number seven, who remained composed enough to battle off his marker and find the back of the net.
 
A brilliant battle form Graham Alexander’s men awarded them with a three-goal advantage with just over 20 minutes to play.

For the first time since the opening stages of the restart, Wrexham created a chance at goal. However, their attempt was another that missed the mark.
 
The hosts created a few more chances, which saw Ollie Palmer with an effort from close-range. Fortunately, Craig MacGillivray spread himself wide enough to prevent the chance.
 
On the 78-minute mark, Ashley Hunter made his MK Dons debut a day after signing for the club. He replaced Jonathan Leko, who left the field of play with a brace.
 
Eight minutes prior to the end of regulation time, Wrexham halved their deficit through substitute Jordan Davies. The number seven produced a strong strike, which removed all hope of preventing the goal. 2-4
 
Wrexham continued to apply the pressure in the latter stages of the clash, but MK Dons remained calm in their defensive approach to withstand any further danger.
 
Just after the seven minutes of added time was displayed, Academy second-year Scholar Phoenix Scholtz made his senior MK Dons debut in place of Mo Eisa.
 
Although the game entered its closing stages, the action didn’t end there.
 
Daniel Harvie provided the Dons’ fifth and final goal after he progressed up the field and produced a finish like that of a Centre-Forward. A well-placed strike that located the bottom-left corner of the net. 2-5



Wrexham responded instantly through Anthony Forde, who made it 3-5, but it was too little too late for the Welsh side in the eight-goal thriller to start the 2023/24 campaign.

MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman, Tucker, O’Hora, Williams, Leko (Hunter 78), Gilbey (C), Eisa (Scholtz 90+1), Smith, Robson, Harvie
 
Subs: Harness, Holland, Ilunga, Anker, Devoy
 
Goals: Own Goal 5, Eisa 9, Leko 51 63, Harvie 90+5
 
Booked: Eisa 12, Norman 67
 

Wrexham AFC: Foster, O’Connell, Tozer (C), O’Connor, Barnett, Jones, Cannon (Davies 60), Lee, Mendy, Waters (Palmer 60), Dalby (Bickerstaff 60)
 
Subs: Howard, Hayden, Hosannah, Forde
 
Goals: Mendy 41, Davies 82, Forde 90+6
 
Booked: Lee Elliot 22, O’Connell 26

Referee: T Reeves
 
Attendance: 10,205 (1,115)


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