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Report: Salford City 2-4 MK Dons

Mike Williamson’s men claim all three points at the Peninsula Stadium…

25 November 2023

Match Reports

Report: Salford City 2-4 MK Dons

Mike Williamson’s men claim all three points at the Peninsula Stadium…

25 November 2023

MK Dons claim all three points within their first visit to the Peninsula Stadium after producing a 4-2 victory when trailing by a goal at the interval.

Mike Williamson made one change from his previous league starting XI as Club captain Dean Lewington made his return from injury following his mid-week involvement against Northampton Town within the Bristol Street Motors Trophy Group Stage tie.

Striker Ellis Harrison also made his comeback from the side-lines as the number nine was named amongst the substitutes.

MK Dons saw a great move going forward a few minutes after the starting whistle. The ball was played forward to Dean, who found the run of Harvie on the left before it was cut-back to Payne - the attacker shot whilst on the turn but couldn't keep his effort down.

Moments after, Max Dean tried his luck from the edge of the area, but Salford’s reaction to the threat forced the striker into an early effort that missed the mark.

Ten minutes into the Sky Bet League Two tie, Max Dean broke the deadlock at the Peninsula Stadium. 0-1

Gilbey’s hardworking efforts rewarded him with the ball, which he then distributed towards Conor Grant in the middle of the field. Whilst the Dons caught their hosts on the break, Grant was able to pick out the run of Dean towards the left of the area.

The in-form young striker made no mistake with the opportunity he was presented after he cut inside to fire the ball home from close-range.

Cameron Norman then had to make a vital stop at the other end of the field to deny Salford the instant response they sought for.

With 20 minutes on the stopwatch Salford then gained a foot hold within the fixture. The hosts had caused a slight scare with the high-press, which forced MacGillivray to clear his line before an in-swinging free-kick was then dealt with by the Dons’ rear-guard.

The pressure amounted on the MK Dons defence, which presented a chance for Connor McLennan. Salford’s number 11 nodded the ball down toward the near post, but MacGillivray matched the effort well as he got down low quickly to tip the header around the post.

Alex Gilbey, amongst the action once again, sparks an opportunity for Joe Tomlinson following a superb piece of skill from the Dons number eight. Tomlinson then aims to curl the ball towards the far corner, but his strike is blocked away.

Salford City’s Kelly Nmai found the equaliser that the hosts had been searching for. On the 35-minute mark, a ball was played across the box of the travelling team, which located an open Nmai, who headed it into the back of the net with ease. 1-1

Minutes before the interval, Adrian Mariappa produced a pivotal moment defensively as his sliding challenge blocked the hit from Conor grant, who searched for the far post with his effort.

Jack Payne was the next player to test Cairns between the sticks, but the Salford shot-stopper was able to palm away the low strike before his defenders reacted accordingly.

The drama proceeded late in the half when Salford were awarded with a late penalty-kick as the referee had adjudged Cameron Norman to commit a foul. Ryan Watson stepped up to the spot and scored against his former club to give the Greater Manchester side a late advantage before the break. 2-1

A lively start to the second half replicated that of the first, and much like the first 45 minutes, MK Dons had found the net early following the restart.

Joe Tomlinson acquired the equaliser after he smashed a close-range effort through the legs of Cairns, which saw the score-line draw level once again within the clash. 2-2

Dean Lewington’s tackle on the halfway line created the chance as the ball eventually made its way to the feet of Alex Gilbey, who located an unmarked Tomlinson to his right. From there, the Dons defender claimed his second goal for the club with a rocket of a shot within Salford’s penalty area.

Mike Williamson’s men saw most of the ball within the early exchanges of the second 45 minutes of play. The visitors continued in their mission to regain the advantage that was gathered ten minutes into the match.

Max Dean was taken down as a result of getting the better of his counterpart Adrian Mariappa. The Dons were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box whilst Mariappa was booked for the challenge.

The dead ball effort was blocked by the wall of Salford defenders before Conor Grant’s volley that looked destined for the top-corner of the goal was headed clear by the home side’s defence.

Just ahead of the 70-minute mark, MK Dons had restored their lead through Joe Tomlinson, who collected his second of the game. A deflect ball through bounced into the path of Tomlinson, who adjusted himself brilliantly to pick out the top left corner of the net with his strike. 2-3

Ellis Harrison took to the field and made his return from injury as he replaced Conor Grant with 77 minutes on the stopwatch.

Shortly after, Williamson made his second substitution of the match as Jonathan Leko made his way onto the pitch for Max Dean, who opened the scoring early on.

MK Dons took a two-goal lead as Ellis Harrison had scored on his return from injury. The ball fell into the path of the striker on the edge of the box – Harrison had time to take it under control before firing his effort into the bottom corner of the net. No better way for the striker to return to action after a spell on the side-lines. 2-4

The fourth and final goal from MK Dons saw the final moment of an action-packed clash where Mike Williamson’s men had bounced back from trailing 2-1 at the break to produce 4-2 score-line in favour of the travelling team within their first visit to the Peninsula Stadium.


MK Dons: MacGillivray (GK), Norman, Lewington (C), O’Hora, Williams, Gilbey, Payne, Tomlinson, Grant (Harrison 77), Dean (Leko 84), Harvie

Kelly, Eisa, Smith, Devoy, Dennis

Dean 10, Tomlinson 50 72, Harrison 87,

Yellow cards:
Dean 65,

Salford City:
Cairns (GK) (C), John, Mariappa, Watson, Lund, McLennan, Tilt, Smith, McAleny, Nmai, Vassell

Wright (GK), Humbles, Lara, Hamman, Luamba, Malcolm

Nmai 35, Watson 45+1

Yellow cards:
McAleny 32, Neil Wood (Manager) 39, Mariappa 63

Scott Jackson

2,508 (440)

Peninsula Stadium

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