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Report: Town 1-2 MK Dons

8 March 2014

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SWINDON Town were beaten by two goals to one at home to play off rivals MK Dons who came from behind to win at the County Ground, writes Adrian Smith.

Michael Smith had given Town the lead in the 19th minute but Kay’s bullet header and a superb strike by Baldock earned all three points for the MK Dons.

Mark Cooper’s men had plenty of possession but lack of firepower in front of goal meant that the Robins fragile lead was under threat and it was the visitors  who made better use of their chances in the second half. 

Swindon recalled Alex Pritchard in place of Jacob Murphy and the Robins kicked off in bright sunshine playing towards the Stratton Bank. Massimo Luongo and Yaser Kasim also started for Town after their international exploits in midweek for Australia and Iraq respectively.

The Robins enjoyed a good spell of possession until the visitors got the ball forward and had a corner in the 3rd minute but the ball eventually reached Tyrell Belford via a couple of deflections after it had been crossed.

Ben Reeves had the first shot of the match for the visitors with a shot from 30 yards after MK had been awarded a free kick for handball by Harley but Belford caught the ball cleanly.

Izale McLeod tried his luck from outside the penalty area in the 11th minute but his effort went harmlessly with Belford well placed and at the other end Pritchard lost possession after darting into the penalty area after receiving the ball from Michael Smith.

Swindon took the lead in the 19th minute after a move started by Byrne who passed the ball to Pritchard on the left wing and he tricked his way into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful shot which was only parried by the MK Dons keeper Martin and Michael Smith had the simple task of heading into the empty net for his 4th goal of the season in his 9th appearance for Town.

Darren Ward popped up in attack at a Town corner in the 24th minute flicking the ball goalwards but it struck a defender and was cleared.

Yaser Kasim was dumped to the ground unceremoniously in the 28th minute while charging towards goal and up stepped Pritchard who took the free kick but the ball just evaded Smith and went out for a goal kick despite Archibald Henville’s attempt to keep it in play.

Louis Thompson started a good move for Town in midfield after the referee had played an advantage which resulted in Smith crossing the ball for Pritchard to head goalwards but the ball was caught cleanly by Martin. Antony Kay was shown a yellow card his second foul of the game during a break in play shortly afterwards.

Pritchard and Luongo combined well in the 34th minute to set up Ryan Harley for a shot but his effort was deflected for a corner and when the ball was crossed, Archibald Henville shot wide of the upright.

Nathan Thompson did well to cut out an attempted cross from the right wing at the expense of a corner which led to nothing as Belford was able to catch the ball cleanly and he launched a drop kick downfield leading to Pritchard earning a corner for the Robins. However the resulting cross to the near post was cleared by the MK defence.

MK threatened briefly in the last minute of normal time through a free kick taken from the right wing by Reeves but his effort was caught cleanly by Belford.

One minute of added time was played with no chances for either team and the Robins left the field to good applause at half time.

MK manager Karl Robinson replaced Larnell Cole with Daniel Powell and when the second half had started, Nathan  Byrne received the ball on the left wing after a throw in and then tricked his way into the MK penalty area before firing a shot straight at Martin.

Jordan Spence needed treatment from the MK physio after hobbling back onto the pitch after a tackle and when play restarted, Town attacked strongly leading to a corner which was cleared.

Nathan Thompson was making a good attacking contribution down the left wing and fired in a superb cross which only just missed Smith on the edge of the penalty area.

Town were passing the ball around nicely with Pritchard, Louis Thompson and Luongo seeing plenty of possession in midfield although MK had an opportunity through Reeves but his free kick dipped over the crossbar.

The visitors equalised from a corner in the 68th minute through Antony Kay with a bullet header from close range after MK had enjoyed a long spell of possession.

Jacob Murphy replaced Kasim in the 69th minute as Mark Cooper shuffled his pack to try and get an elusive second goal.

Town’s next attacking response came via Pritchard who fired in a dipping free kick from the right wing which Martin caught cleanly in the 72nd minute and Pritchard had another chance shortly afterwards but his attemoted shot struck a defender and was cleared.

MK’s second substitution saw Dean Bowditch replaced by Odelusi in the 76th minute.

Nathan Thompson got injured while making a defensive challenge and needed treatment before leaving the field to be replaced by Jay McEveley in the 82nd minute.

Dany N’Guessan replaced Smith in the 86th minute and the goalscorer left the field to good applause in recognition of his efforts.

The substitution signalled an increase in attacking tempo by Town and they were pinging the ball around quickly in midfield but without getting a final shot on goal.

Troy Archibald Henville was named the Sponsor’s Man of the Match just as MK gained a corner from a wild clearance by McEveley but the Robins’ defence cleared the resulting cross.

The visitors scored their second goal through a superb long distance strike by George Baldock deep in added time although the goalscorer was cautioned for removing his shirt and celebrating wildly and there was hardly enough time for any response before the final whistle.

The win lifts MK above Town in the League who now slip to 8th place in the table with 47 points.

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