MK Dons 1 vs Oxford United 1
So… after another drab first half at Stadium MK, the second half was much better and it looked like MK Dons can actually play some decent football!
Strange to see Cisse out of the starting line-up as we felt he would be good for this game against Oxford’s midfield. When asked about central midfield for this weeks Red Dot, Ed Upson stated; “There are plenty of midfielders here now and that provides different options for the manager, who plays different shapes and formations.” So maybe that’s all it was – the manager trying out different options.
Anyway, looks like some the players bought some of the momentum from the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win with them. The gaffer did say he wanted to play some first team players in the game to build up confidence and momentum, it seemed to show on Saturday.
We all know it’s going to take a bit of time for the side to gel and get to know each other. As we mentioned in the last post, we’ve had a number of new signings and 7 of the starting line-up at the weekend were signed this summer. Two of those players only arrived at the club on Thursday so it’s not surprising the first half felt very dysfunctional.
After just 8 minutes, Rob Hall had managed to put the visitors ahead. After we supposedly paid for a lot of medical and further financial support to Hall, he ditched us last summer for Oxford and then scored against us. Cheers.
We know others will say that insurance paid for the rehabilitation bills, but we won’t delve into that now, as we feel the less said about Hall, the better. So, on to the positives! If only Tshibola’s legs were a bit longer, the half time score would have been a flattering 1-1 and we may have gone on to win the game.
Clearly, something must have been said in the dressing room at half time and the players came back out and performed much better for the second period. They looked like a side that could play some good football. Fairly solid defensively, some good passing all the way up the pitch and couple that with the constant threat of the pacy and tricky wingers, the fans (slowly) began to get behind the team until the equaliser…
…and what an equaliser it was! What a way to score your first goal for the club. It was a simple, but lovely bit of trickery from Brittain that turned Oxford’s James Henry inside out. At this point, those around me in the Cowshed (myself included) were hoping for a lovely cross, but the space opened up for him and it was a lovely finish with his left foot. It should also be mentioned he didn’t start the game, only coming on after injury to Ebanks-Landell and he looked assured in his defensive work too. We’re all very pleased for the 19-year-old academy graduate and he thoroughly deserves his man of the match award. Top banana!
Dons looked good in the middle of the pitch, with Upson playing simple and effective passes from midfield (including the assist for Brittain) and Tshibola probing slightly further up the pitch. After the goal, Muirhead came on and provided a good outlet for crosses and longer balls, and he gave the Oxford defence something different to think about.
Quick mention for Gilbey who looked composed on the ball and hardly put a foot wrong in the full 90 minutes. Golbourne also looked composed on the left of defence and made some good crosses. Nesbitt was decent in the few minutes he got, and might well be a promising youngster at MK1. So many youngsters, not enough column inches! We have a young team that might be starting to gel and find it’s feet… hopefully. Watch this space.
A long journey to Plymouth next week, let’s hope we can keep up the momentum. COYD!
photo credit: mkdons.com