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Match Reports

Report: Bristol Rovers 0-2 MK Dons

4 February 2023

Match Reports

Report: Bristol Rovers 0-2 MK Dons

4 February 2023

MK Dons made it back-to-back away victories courtesy of a 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers.

Mo Eisa put the Dons ahead inside the opening three minutes, converting from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Jarrell Quansah.

Jackson's side had to defend resolutely against a direct Rovers side but held firm and then sealed the points late on through substitute Max Dean, whose first professional goal in the 90th minute sent the travelling Dons fans into raptures.

Mark Jackson made one change the side which faced Exeter City, with Josh McEachran replacing Bradley Johnson. As per FA rules, Deadline Day Anthony Stewart was suspended for the match, owing to a red card he received in a Scottish League Cup fixture.

His side make the perfect start, taking the lead inside the opening two minutes. A neat move down the right eventually saw EISA tripped inside the penalty area by Jarrell Quansah. The striker then picked himself up to convert from 12 yards and give the Dons an early lead. 0-1.

Paris Maghoma made two vital interceptions to prevent the hosts from finding a quickfire leveller. Eisa then went close to doubling his and MK Dons’ tally but, after receiving Jonathan Leko’s pass and cutting inside, his bending effort was met by a strong save by Ellery Balcombe.

Maghoma was involved in an attacking sense on 20 minutes, driving down the left before delivering in a low cross which was claimed by Balcombe. Bristol Rovers then worked a good opportunity to equalise but Daniel Harvie did enough inside his own six-yard box to prevent Josh Coburn from hitting the target.

A fierce McEachran free-kick almost provided an opportunity for Jules midway through the first half but his cross was crucially intercepted by Balcombe. The Dons then went close again through Leko but his angled effort rose over the bar.

Another Dons interception sparked a chance for Sullay Kaikai to move deep into Bristol Rovers territory just past the half-hour, though his low ball in towards Eisa was cut out by a sliding defender.

Watson had a similar cross denied in the same way moments later – this, after a terrific run down the right-hand flank where he beat two Rovers men. Kaikai was then involved again but, despite a brilliant turn inside the area, wasn’t able to fashion a shot.

Kaikai had the Dons’ final attempt of the first half – a 20-yard try which was deflected over the crossbar – with Mark Jackson’s men then having to withstand stoppage-time pressure from their hosts to get into the break ahead.

They earned themselves an early free-kick but McEachran’s ball into the box was dealt with. Rovers countered but Coburn drilled straight into the arms of Cumming from a tight angle.

Half-time substitute Ryan Loft had another early try for the hosts but headed wide from Aaron Collins’ cross. The same man then stabbed wide after sliding to meet a deep ball in from the right.

The Dons threatened from a delivery of their own on 61 minutes but Leko got Eisa’s cross stuck under his feet inside the area. The winger then went for goal himself moments later but was denied by a flying save from Balcombe.

In the 65th minute, Kaikai teed up Devoy, whose curling shot was blocked on its way to goal by a Bristol Rovers defender. From the resulting corner, a well-worked move almost saw Kaikai slide one across for Leko to finish but the cross was intercepted.

Jackson made his first substitution with 20 minutes left on the clock, replacing McEachran with Johnson, reverting back to the XI which started the clash with Exeter City seven days ago.

His side had a great chance to wrap up the points by scoring a second on 83 minutes but Kaikai saw his 15-yard effort blocked. From the resulting corner, Johnson went agonisingly close, having his goal-bound shot cleared off the line by a defender.

Max Dean was brought on by Jackson in-between those two chances – chances that were then followed by a dangerous counter-attack from the home side that the Dons defence just about dealt with.

DEAN’s introduction would prove a pivotal one, though, as in the final minute of regulation time, he secured the points for his side. Racing alongside Eisa in a two-versus-one situation, the young striker kept his composure after being teed up by his striker partner and cooly slotted home his first professional league goal and secure a big away victory. 0-2.

MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Tucker, McEachran (Johnson 70), Eisa (Grigg 90+2), Leko (Dean 84), Harvie, Kaikai (Lawrence 90+2), Devoy, Jules, Maghoma

Subs: Ravizzoli, Grant, Burns

Goals: Eisa (2), Dean (90)

Booked: Devoy, Maghoma, Leko, Johnson

Bristol Rovers: Balcombe, Connolly, Gordon (Anderson 76), Quansah, Finley, Sinclair (McCormick 63) Ward (Bogarde 86), Collins, Coutts (Loft 46), Gibborns, Coburn (Marquis 77)

Subs: Jaakkola, Hoole

Booked: Coutts, Finley

Referee: C Boyeson

Attendance: 8,429 (300 away)

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