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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 2-0 Crawley Town

MK Dons claim victory in their final game of 2023...

29 December 2023

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 2-0 Crawley Town

MK Dons claim victory in their final game of 2023...

29 December 2023

MK Dons secure all three points at Stadium MK courtesy of goals from Joe Tomlinson and Alex Gilbey in either half.

Mike Williamson made a pair of changes to his starting XI from MK Dons’ previous victory over Colchester United on Boxing Day. Cameron Norman and Ethan Robson made way for Conor Grant and Dawson Devoy, but remained amongst the bench.

Prior to kick-off Stadium MK supported the celebration of Dean Lewington’s record-breaking achievement as the Club captain recently made his 771 league appearance for MK Dons, which replaced John Trollope’s former record for most league appearances for a single club.

Lewington was welcomed onto the pitch by both teams through a Guard of Honour before he was presented with a trophy handed over by Chairman Pete Winkelman and EFL Chief Executive Trevor Birch.


It was the perfect start for MK Dons as they gained the lead just two minutes following the starting whistle! Max Dean created the move after he won the ball in the middle of the field before he located Joe Tomlinson out wide with an outside of the foot pass.

From there, Tomlinson broke into the opposition’s area where he fired his strike into the near post to give the home side an early advantage. 1-0

Laurence Maguire was the first name into the book seven minutes after the start as he was cautioned for pulling back Jonathan Leko to prevent the forward from reaching a through ball.

Ten minutes later, Tomlinson attempted to return the favour for the young forward. The number 14 worked hard to step-up and intercept a pass before he raced down the line to keep the ball in play. But his low pass at the end of the move couldn’t find the run of Max Dean.

Dean was then the first Dons name into the book soon after for a late challenge on the right of the field. Conor Grant was also yellow carded moments later for a similar offence.

Craig MacGillivray was called upon at the 20-minute mark as he prevented a dangerous looking attack for Town. The number one raced out of his box to meet with the balla second before Orsi could get a foot to it.

MacGillivray displayed his heroics once again as he denied Ronan Darcy’s one-on-one effort from close-range after Crawley created the attack following a misplaced pass.

Mike Williamson’s Dons were close to scoring their second of the match through Conor Grant. The midfielder’s strike deflected into the floor, but Corey Addai reacted well to meet with the effort and tip it around the post.

Crawley Town sparked a move which saw them breach the right of their counterpart’s penalty area. Kellan Gordon shaped to shoot, but MacGillivray made himself big enough to turn away the near post shot.

Minutes before the end of the first 45, Lewington produced a much-needed intervention, which stopped Orsi who had his sights set on goal.

MK Dons maintained their one-goal advantage whilst the teams entered the half-time break.


Opposite to the opening exchanges in the first half, it was a passive opening following the restart. Neither side posed much of a threat at goal, but both teams sought to control more of the ball.

Williamson made his first changes of the match early in the second 45 minutes of action. Conor Grant and Dawson Devoy made way for Ellis Harrison and Ethan Robson.

A first chance of the half arose when Max Dean had burst down the left of the field before he fired the ball across the box of Crawley Town. Harrison chased the delivery but placed at an awkward angle his attempt at goal missed the mark.

MJ Williams tried his luck from a long way out, and although an audacious effort, it wasn’t one that was to be taken lightly as it forced Addai into making a strong save 59 minutes in.

A positive move sparked a great opportunity for the Dons to make it double. However, a ball into the back post was met by Alex Gilbey a fraction late which meant that the midfielder was unable to turn it home.

Soon after, Gilbey then picked up his fifth Sky Bet League Two yellow card for the season so far.

Another promising attack went begging for the home side. Whilst Harrison’s cut-back into the box was met with by Joe Tomlinson, the defender’s powerful hit saw the ball fly over the crossbar.

MacGillivray, once again, continued his strong stance in between the sticks whilst he matched the strong strike of Adam Campbell to sustain the Dons’ lead.

77 Minutes into the League Two clash, Williamson made a further two substitutions. A like for like change as one striker Dean left the field for his forward teammate Eisa, and Leko was replaced by Norman.

MK Dons had doubled their advantage through Alex Gilbey in the final seven minutes of the match! Substitute Cameron Norman picked up the assist as he located the run of Gilbey, who got the ball out of his feet before he picked out the far post with his strike across goal. 2-0

Crawley Town were then faced with further adversity as Laurence Maguire was sent off the field for two yellow card offences.

Joe Tomlinson thought he had bagged his brace before his goal during injury time was ruled out for offside.

MK Dons had seen another clean sheet as they claimed all three points through a 2-0 victory at Stadium MK.


MK Dons: MacGillivray, Lewington (C), O’Hora, Williams, Leko (Norman 77), Gilbey, Payne, Tomlinson, Grant (Harrison 53), Dean (Eisa 77), Devoy (Robson 53)

Subs: Kelly, Smith, Tripp

Goals: Tomlinson 2, Gilbey 83

Yellow cards: Dean 17, Grant 18, Gilbey 61

Crawley Town: Addai, Gordon (Roles 65), Conroy (Mukena 88), Kelly, Ransom, Maguire, Orsi, Darcy, Adeyemo (Lolos 65), Campbell, Wright  

Subs: Ashby-Hammond, Henry, Simon-Swyer, Khaleel

Yellow cards: Maguire 7, 85

Red cards: Maguire 85 

Referee: Ross Joyce

Stadium: Stadium MK

Attendance: 5,945 (380)

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