|MK Dons 0 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 17th September 2019 Kick-off 19:45
MK Dons 0-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 17th Sep 2019 21:48
Jon Nolan’s first goal of the season saw Town to a 1-0 victory away against the MK Dons. The midfielder turned home an Emyr Huws cross in the 12th minute to secure the Blues, who remain second in the table, their third win on the road this season.
Huws, Nolan, James Wilson and Luke Garbutt returned to the team for Myles Kenlock, who was left out of the 18, Luke Woolfenden, Gwion Edwards and Alan Judge, who were all on the bench.
Town, with 3,360 fans vociferously backing them from one corner of the ground, appeared to start in a 3-5-2 formation with Skuse at the centre of the back three, matching the home side’s regular system.
However, the Dons instead began the game with one man up and five in midfield, and the Blues almost immediately moved to a diamond with Skuse, who was playing his 250th game for the club, in the deeper lying midfield role.
Huws, who was making his first league start since the final day of the 2016/17 season, was paired with Flynn Downes with Nolan, making his first league start of the campaign ahead of them behind strike pair James Norwood and Kayden Jackson.
Town, wearing their Barcelona-esque away kit, started brightly with Nolan and Garbutt both sending in early crosses from the left which were dealt with by the home defence.
The Blues continued to dominate and Norwood saw a snapshot blocked by a defender on the edge of the box on 11 after Jackson had nodded Skuse’s cross from the left into his path.
A minute later Nolan was unable to get enough on the ball with his header from Norwood’s cross from the right, the striker having played down the flank by Kane Vincent-Young.
But when the ball was sent back in from the other flank by Huws, having been played back to the Welshman by Garbutt, the former Shrewsbury man made no mistake, deftly guiding his first goal of the season into the corner of the net to keeper Lee Nicholls’s left from six yards.
And Town should have doubled their lead in the 19th minute. Skuse won the ball from Conor McGrandles in midfield and Norwood was sent away before feeding Jackson. However, Nicholls was quickly off his line to block from the Blues striker who suffered a knock as the two collided but was OK to carry on.
The Blues continued to prod and probe but without finding their way through with the Dons unable to threaten at the other end.
There was a blow for the Blues in the 35th minute when Norwood was forced off having suffered a knock. The striker looked frustrated to go off as Will Keane took over, his second appearance since rejoining last month.
Town weren’t too far away from a second in the 39th minute when Jackson broke away down the left, cut in and crossed for Vincent-Young, who had burst into the box from right-back but somehow the former Colchester man diverted it the wrong side of the post from six yards.
The home side seriously threatened for the first time two minutes later when a deep cross from the left somehow reached George Williams but the skipper’s unconvincing scuffed effort bobbled wide of the post when Tomas Holy ought to have been tested.
Three minutes of injury time passed without any notable incident - aside from keeper Holy almost allowing a backpass under his foot - and Town were warmly applauded off by their big following.
Boss Paul Lambert will have been happy with the half, his side having been on top throughout and certainly good for their lead against a Dons side who struggled to compete against the Blues midfield.
The only frustration for Town was that the lead hadn’t been bigger with Jackson and Vincent-Young both having had good chances to make it 2-0.
At the other end, Holy hadn’t had a save to make with the Dons’ one opportunity scraped wide by Williams.
MK Dons made two changes ahead of the second half, Jordan Bowery and Callum Brittain taking over from Joe Walsh and one-time Blues target Brennan Dickenson.
Keane struck the second period’s first shot in the 47th minute but straight at Nicholls, who claimed confidently.
The Dons weren’t far from creating an opening on 49 when Brittain beat Skuse and fed the ball through to fellow sub Bowery but just too far in front of the forward, who played for Blues boss Lambert at Aston Villa.
The game was held up in the 52nd minute when Skuse and Downes clashed heads in the middle of the park and both required treatment before carrying on, although with both still appearing to feel the effects for a few minutes.
Once the game had got back under way, Keane tussled for the ball inside the Dons’ half, then fed Downes to his right but the midfielder’s low strike was too close to Nicholls.
However, it was the home side who had presented the greater threat since the break and in the 59th minute the Blues were fortunate not to concede during a goalmouth scramble following a corner, which Huws had contested and as a result was shown a yellow card.
First Holy saved from McGrandles, who had been found in space, and then only desperate defending kept the ball out of the Blues’ net.
With the Town midfield, featuring a number of players on the way back after injury absences, appearing to tire, the MK Dons were pinning the Blues back in their area.
Holy saved Bowery’s effort from distance before the Dons’ crowd - but not the players - appealed for a penalty when a cross was hit against Huws’s midriff.
Georgiou replaced Huws, who had played a big part in Town dominating the first half, in the 67th minute. The Wales international will have been pleased to get so much of a league game under his belt as he continues his comeback after his long spell out.
Town continued to find themselves pushed back in their own half but with the defence remaining resolute. On 74 David Kasumu shot well over from distance. Moments later, Edwards took over from Jackson, the Welshman taking up a role wide on the right.
Three minutes later, Nolan appeared to dislocate a finger when colliding with a defender and required treatment.
Town created their first real opening of the second half in the 78th minute when Nolan was sent away down the left. His cross was behind Keane but reached Edwards beyond the far post from where the sub struck a shot which hit a defender and flew behind.
Holy was forced to make his best stop of the evening in the 80th minute. McGrandles nodded a ball from deep back and down to Jordan Houghton on the right of the box, from where the ex-Chelsea youngster hit a low shot and Holy reacted quickly to divert it wide of his right post.
Regan Poole was booked for a foul on Nolan in the 82nd minute, then two minutes later Chambers headed Georgiou’s corner from the left over the bar as the pressure began to relent.
The Dons switched midfielder Hiram Boateng for striker Kieran Agard for the final five minutes, then Sam Nombe curled a shot high and wide.
As the game moved into its final scheduled minute, Houghton hit a freekick from the right which Holy helped over, only for referee Swabey to give a goalkick, much to the annoyance of the home fans.
The official added seven minutes of additional time in which Downes was booked for dissent after the linesman had missed what looked an obvious foul.
Holy claimed a dangerous-looking cross comfortably, then Poole headed over from a Brittain corner as time began to run out for the home team.
The Blues saw out the remaining minutes of the game to secure their third away win of the season.
At the whistle the players and manager Lambert went over to applaud the big away following, who had made themselves heard throughout, with the Blues boss emulating skipper Chambers's traditional victory fist pump.
Having been well on top in the first half, Town were forced to dig deep defensively in the second half as their midfield tired and the home side upped their game.
But the Blues’ backline remained solid - with Wilson perhaps the standout performer - and Holy made the saves required on the few occasions when the Dons broke through. Town have now not conceded a goal in their last four League One games.
The result sees Town remain unbeaten, still second with a game in hand - leaders Coventry scored a late winner at home to AFC Wimbledon - with a visit to Gillingham to follow on Saturday.
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams (c), Walsh (Bowery 46), Houghton, Poole, Martin, McGrandles, Kasumu, Boateng (Agard 85), Dickenson (Brittain 46), Nombe. Unused: Moore, Lewington, Gilbey, Harley.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Skuse, Wilson, Vincent-Young, Downes, Huws (Georgiou 67), Garbutt, Nolan, Jackson (Edwards 75), Norwood (Keane 35). Unused: Norris, Judge, Dozzell, Woolfenden. Ref: Lee Swabey (Devon). Att: 10,167 (Town: 3,360).
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