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Match Reports

Report: Under-18s 3-1 Cambridge United

Young Dons book their place in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup Final...

30 January 2023

MK Dons Under-18s booked their place in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup Final courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Cambridge United.

Goals from Dani Lucas, Tommy Blennerhassett and Ed Daffern secured the Young Dons’ place in the national final as winners of the Southern Section – the second time in Club history that the Under-18s have reached the final of this competition.

John Bitting’s side will face the victor of the Northern Section, which is still to be determined.

The three goalscorers combined for the Dons’ opening goal on 13 minutes. Blennerhassett won possession on the edge of Cambridge’s D and found Daffern who, in turn, played in LUCAS. The left back opted for a first-time finish and confidently beat the U’s goalkeeper. 1-0.

Cambridge pulled themselves level five minutes later and they could have taken the lead too, if not for a last-ditch tackle from Jacob Anderson and a terrific double save from Seb Stacey.

Those defensive actions would prove pivotal as, on the hour mark, the Dons would restore their advantage - and, again, the same trio were involved.

Lucas, this time, started the move with a long pass forward which was flicked on by the foot of Daffern. That touch allowed the ball to run perfectly for BLENNERHASSETT, who moved away from his marker before firing low into the bottom left-hand corner. 2-1.

The Dons then sealed victory in the second minute of stoppage time, following a powerful break down the right flank from Callum Tripp. The midfielder carried possession all the way from midway inside his own half into the U’s box, before drilling a ball across for DAFFERN, who slid in to convert from close range. 3-1.

Lead Professional Development Phase Coach John Bitting said: ““Going up against a very good Cambridge side, who had a great success in the FA Youth Cup in midweek, there was a bit of pressure on us but the boys were magnificent. They stuck to the game plan and they delivered on what we asked them to do.

“We had a reduced squad due to injuries and players being out on loan but the boys we did have showed great character, which is something we have shown throughout this competition this season.”

MK Dons: Stacey, Pickering (Boyce 68), Lucas, Stirland, Anderson, Wood, Bombo, Tripp, Adepoju, Daffern, Blennerhassett (Olaleye 62).


Goals: Lucas (13), Blennerhassett (60), Daffern (90+2)

Booked: Daffern

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