Persistence Was Rewarded In MK Dons vs Gillingham

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Robbie Neilson manager of MK Dons during the Sky Bet League One match between MK Dons and Scunthorpe United at StadiumMK on April 14, 2017 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)

Osman Sow scored a brilliant debut goal as MK Dons vs Gillingham took place at Stadium MK. The Dons were searching for their first league points of the season. 1-0 losses against Wigan and Blackpool had left them just above the relegation zone.

Persistence Was Rewarded In MK Dons vs Gillingham

New Shape Eventually Successful

Robbie Neilson deployed his Dons side with a different formation to incorporate new signing Osman Sow. Having played his usual 4-3-3 style in the opening two league games, Neilson reverted to 4-4-2. Ryan Seager partnered Sow up front, with Gboly Ariyibi and Robbie Muirhead supporting on the flanks.

The new style took some getting used to for the players. Muirhead struggled with the defensive aspect of his role, playing slightly further back than usual. He was, however, a more potent threat going forward.

Sow used his height to play the target man role, with Seager playing just off him. Ariyibi completed the attacking quartet, providing some mazy runs and mesmerising tricks on both sides of the midfield.

Despite looking dangerous when advancing, the Dons rarely troubled visiting ‘keeper Tomáš Holý. Aaron Tshibola came the closest to breaking the deadlock, but his long-range drive whistled just wide.

Two minutes into the second half, the new style proved its worth. Tshibola’s perfect in-swinging cross was met by Sow, who dived down to head in his first goal for the club. It was the perfect start to his Dons career, having completed his move just four days ago.

The game had been played at a slow tempo, but the final ten minutes were frantic. MK Dons were wrongly awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute when Holý brought down Seager, despite getting the ball first. Kieran Agard stepped up, but his poor effort was palmed away by Holy, who also miraculously stopped Tshibola’s rebound.

It looked as though Holý had earned the visitors a point too when Gillingham were wrongly awarded a penalty as well. Lee Nicholls was judged to have brought down Josh Wright. Wright got up to take, but blazed his effort over the bar to keep the score at 1-0.

Standout Players

After the disappointment at Blackpool last week, the Dons will have been pleased with a number of the individual performances on show today.

Osman Sow deserves recognition for his debut goal, as well as his general play. He did well to hold up the ball and wait for support against a strong Gillingham defence.

Aaron Tshibola and Ousseynou Cisse controlled the midfield. Cisse did most of the defensive work while also being able to launch attacks with his range of passing. Tshibola went further forward to help out the front four. He and Ariyibi formed a particularly effective partnership in MK Dons vs Gillingham, showing off the skills they have to offer.

Looking Ahead

MK Dons return to Stadium MK on Tuesday. They take on Premier League side Swansea City in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Their next league game sees them to return to Lancashire. This time, however, they play relegated side Blackburn Rovers. Rovers have endured a difficult start to life in League One, but will be bouyed by the fact that they picked up their first win against Bradford. Dominic Samuel scored the only goal of the game.

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