MK Dons see their Bristol Street Motors Trophy campaign come to an end following defeat against the Seagulls at Stadium MK.
Mike Williamson introduced a handful of Academy Scholars into his matchday squad to face Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s at Stadium MK.
Albert Wood and Keon Lewis-Burgess were involved from the start, whereas Charlie Stirland, Rian Silver, Kyle Boyce and Joshua Adepoju were named amongst the subs bench.
A very attacking side entered the field at the home of MK Dons as three forwards Ellis Harrison, Mo Eisa and Matthew Dennis all started against the Seagulls. Tommy Smith was graced with the captain’s armband.
Both teams sought to enjoy the possession of the ball in the early stage of the cup tie. MK Dons were patient in their approach to entice the Brighton attackers further up the field with the hope to create space in-behind the visitors.
Similarly, Shannon Ruth’s men wanted to hold the lion share of the ball for themselves. However, the Dons displayed their tenacity to make it difficult for their adversary to contain a passing style of play.
Keon Lewis-Burgess and MK Dons First-Year Scholar, made a pivotal interception to prevent what could’ve been a danger attack from Brighton ten minutes after the starting whistle.
Brighton looked as if they would break the deadlock 16 minutes into the tie, and that could’ve been possible if not for Anthony Stewart’s heroic defensive display. The experienced centre-half threw his body on the line to block the close-range effort from Josh Duffus on the left of the box.
A second successive strike followed after the ball fell to the edge of the area, the attempt rattled the crossbar of Michael Kelly’s goal.
It wasn’t long until Anthony Stewart once again came to rescue of the home side. The number 26 made a goal-line clearance before Keon Lewis-Burgess threw himself in front of the follow up attempt to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity. An outstanding display of defending from the pair.
Just before the 30-minute mark, Mike Williamson’s men produced what looked to be a promising attacking move as Darragh Burns slipped in a ball for Matt Dennis, who raced down the right flank.
The striker met with the pass, but couldn’t find a target with his cutback delivery as the travelling team put the ball behind and out of danger. Although a corner-kick followed soon after, that was also dealt with by the rear-guard of the young Seagulls.
Tom McGill, Brighton’s shot-stopper had very little to do during the first 40 minutes of action. Mo Eisa tried his luck from a long way, but that didn’t force the young ‘keeper into any necessary save.
Young midfielder Lewis-Burgess continued to show his defensive prowess after another important block was made to direct a shot off target minutes before the half time break.
It remained goalless at Stadium MK as referee Neil Hair signalled for the interval.
Five minutes after the restart, Brighton & Hove Albion were awarded with a penalty-kick following a late challenge in the box after the Dons failed to clear a corner-kick.
Sammy Chouchance stepped up to the set-piece and broke the deadlock as he smashed his strike into the back of the net from 12-yards out. 0-1
Whilst the travelling team came out of the blocks quickly, it took more time for the home side, who grew into the game the longer the second half continued.
Tommy Smith was inches away from finding an equaliser. A short-corner routine found the feet of Burns, who picked out Smith with his delivery.
The number 15 rose above everyone to meet with the ball but was denied his first MK Dons goal as McGill positioned himself well to catch the effort on the goal-line.
Mike Williamson made the first changes to his side as 16-year-old Rian Silver and recently turned pro Phoenix Scholtz entered the fray in place of Ellis Harrison and Mo Eisa.
The young Seagulls punished MK Dons for their slow start to the second half as they doubled their advantage with 67 minutes on the stopwatch. Substitute Joe Knight had weaved his way through the backline that faced him before placing the ball past Kelly at his near post. 0-2
Michael Kelly was called upon to prevent a third for the young Brighton side, who were increased in their motivation to progress further in the competition as a result of their to-goal advantage.
Just before the 80-minute mark Dawson Devoy was given a straight red card. The Irish midfielder made a last-ditch challenge as the final man in attempt to recover the mistake made from the backline. Devoy was unsuccessful in his efforts, and as a result was sent to walk down the tunnel early.
Second-Year Scholar Charlie Stirland was substituted on in place of captain Tommy Smith. Joel Anker was also brought on at the same moment to take the place of Jonathan Leko.
Brighton wasn’t quite satisfied with their goalscoring antics as minutes before the end of the game Ruairi McConville increased the lead to 3-0 before substitute Sahil Bashir completed the 4-0 score-line.
This result saw the end of MK Dons’ Bristol Street Motors Trophy campaign.
MK Dons: Kelly, Leko (Anker 84), Harrison (Silver 64), Eisa (Scholtz 64), Smith (C) (Stirland 84), Burns, Stewart, Devoy, Dennis, Wood, Lewis-Burgess
Subs: MacGillivray, Boyce, Adepoju
Red cards: Devoy 78
Brighton & Hove Albion U21: McGill, Hinchy (C) (Knight 45), Chouchane, Jackson, Nilsson (Tasker 81), Mullins, Duffus, McConville, Slater, Peart (Ifill 75), Flower (Gorman 75)
Subs: Cahill, Atom, Tasker, Bashir
Goals: Chouchance 50, Knight 67, McConville 88, Bashir 90+1
Referee: Neil Hair
Stadium: Stadium MK
Attendance: 789 (55)