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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons v Coventry City

MK Dons face Sky Bet Championship opposition in penultimate pre-season friendly...

25 July 2023

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons v Coventry City

MK Dons face Sky Bet Championship opposition in penultimate pre-season friendly...

25 July 2023

MK Dons made their Stadium MK return as they played their penultimate pre-season friendly ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

Coventry City, a team who went close to winning promotion to the Premier League last season, were the opposition in Milton Keynes and they ran out 5-1 winners in a game which saw Graham Alexander hand minutes to the majority of his squad. Jonathan Leko scored the Dons’ goal from the penalty spot.

Alexander’s starting XI – his first named at Stadium MK – included four of his summer signings in Craig MacGillivray, Cameron Norman, MJ Williams and the returning Alex Gilbey, making his first Dons appearance at Stadium MK since March 2020.

His side were in front after just 90 seconds too, converting from the penalty spot after a foul on Dawson Devoy inside the area. LEKO stepped up to convert from 12 yards, slotting home to the goalkeeper’s left. 1-0.

MacGillivray was forced into two saves before the 10-minute mark, as Coventry searched for a quick equaliser. First, he kept out Gustavo Hamer’s 20-yard strike before getting down quickly at his near post to save from Kyle McFadzean.

The MK Dons goalkeeper was equal to Ellis Simms’ try on 19 minutes while he also kept out Josh Eccles’ drive into the bottom right-hand corner. Simms went close again on the half-hour, flashing a fierce shot just wide from deep inside the box.

Alexander’s men were looking to hit Coventry on the counter whenever they recovered possession but were finding their visitors in resolute form. A long pass from Daniel Harvie almost made it through to Darragh Burns with 13 minutes to play in the half but Joel Latibeaudiere managed to intercept, crucially, for his side.

Unfortunately, the Dons weren’t able to deny ELLIS SIMMS in the closing stages of the first-half as the summer signing from Everton struck twice to give Coventry a half-time lead – his first was a neat one-on-one finish, with his second, just a minute later, a towering header from a left-wing cross. 2-1.

Alexander made two changes to his XI at the break, giving minutes to Ethan Robson and Nathan Holland. Both were involved early, with Robson sending a ball through to Holland, who was unable to pick out Burns with his left-wing cross.

Good play from Gilbey on 53 minutes almost led to a chance for the Dons. The midfielder carried the ball into the area down the right-hand side and pulled a ball back for Robson but he was just beaten to it by a defender.

The Dons worked a good crossing opportunity for Norman a minute later but his low ball into the mix was dealt with by a Coventry man. Shortly after there was a shooting opportunity for Leko, after he recovered possession on the edge of the D – the forward, however, couldn’t keep his effort down.

Three further changes were made just past the hour, as the Trialist was brought on in place of O’Hora with Joel Anker and Max Dean coming in for Burns and Leko.

Coventry also made a string of changes and they extended their lead soon after through JOSH ECCLES who, from 20 yards, found the bottom corner of the net through a crowded penalty area to make it 1-3.

KASEY PALMER then added a fourth for the visiting Championship side when he curled into the far corner from deep inside the penalty area. 1-4.

Matt Smith came on for MK Dons with 14 minutes to play, shortly after Dean had met a cross from Harvie, only to see his stabbed effort blocked by a sliding Sky Blues defender.

Alexander handed late minutes to several of his Young Dons, including scholars Callum Tripp and Phoenix Scholtz as well as Brooklyn Ilunga. It was one of Coventry’s youngster, though, who had the final moment as BRADLEY STRETTON got a deft touch on a right-wing cross to divert the ball past MacGillivray and complete the scoring. 1-5.

MK Dons: MacGillivray, Norman (Scholtz 86), Tucker, O’Hora (Trialist 62), Williams (Smith 76) Leko (Dean 62), Gilbey (Tripp 86), Burns (Anker 62), Harvie (Ilunga 86), Devoy (Robson 46), Jules (Holland 46).

Subs: Harness, Stirland.

Goal: Leko (pen 2)

Attendance: 4,186

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