Stadium MK witnessed eleven minutes of madness at the start of the game today that saw MK Dons take a three-goal lead against Cambridge United before the quarter of an hour mark. Early strikes from the fearsome forward trio of Rhys Healey, Kieran Agard and Chuks Aneke had the Dons in control in the opening stages and those goals were added to in the second period; Healey struck his second, Agard completed his brace from the penalty spot and forgotten man Osman Sow tucked in Dean Lewington‘s cross.
Eleven Minutes of Madness Helps MK Dons to New Year’s Day Thrashing
Fast Start Has Dons in Driving Seat
After some early pressure from the visitors in the opening couple of minutes, MK Dons settled any nerves the fans might have had after coming into this game without a win in three. George Williams‘ superb delivery found on-loan Cardiff striker Healey completely unmarked and, despite David Forde getting a big hand to his header, he found the roof of the net after just five minutes.
By the seventh minute, the lead was doubled. Baily Cargill was the supplier this time with another peach of an assist, and Kieran Agard raced to the front post to glance a header into the far corner, way out of Forde’s reach.
As if two early goals wasn’t enough to make Dons fans believe they had shaken the cobwebs off after their dire Christmas period, Chuks Aneke got himself on the scoresheet with just 11 minutes on the clock. Dean Lewington‘s cross was awfully dealt with by Greg Taylor and Aneke lashed the loose ball into the bottom corner to punish the visitors further. Boos rang around the away end, but things would briefly get better for the U’s fans that had made the trip.
In Control But Unconvincing
After the chaos had calmed, Cambridge settled themselves and started to create some chances. Former Dons forward Jabo Iberhe looked dangerous, linking up with Jevani Brown and Reggie Lambe, but their luck was completely out – whether it be the final touch or straying slightly offside.
It’s a good thing that Colin Calderwood’s side looked woeful in front of goal as the hosts kept giving them chance after chance. They were extremely slack after Aneke’s goal and should have been punished for some loose passes numerous times.
Ultimately, though, the Dons dealt with any danger pretty well, and the closest Cambridge actually came was when Iberhe’s header clattered the post. Mathieu Baudry, making his second start after an excellent performance against Northampton, and Baily Cargill were the particular standouts in the hosts’ defence, but Dean Lewington, George Williams and Conor McGrandles were also impressive.
Second Half Reverse
The second half couldn’t have started any different from the first. Cambridge were looking a real threat and should have pulled a goal back within two minutes of the re-start. Paul Lewis‘ header from a free-kick crashed off the bar and Baudry was on hand to clear Lewis’ second effort off the line.
Once the Dons had weathered that storm, they settled and started to once again look the more likely to score, and they did just that. A lovely lay-off from Aneke was collected by Healey, who charged into the box and took the ball slightly wide of Forde before powering in a left-foot effort.
Goal difference could be key come the end of the season, with those sides in the play-off vying to break into the top three. The Dons looked keen to add to theirs and were given that opportunity when Agard was felled in the box by Taylor. Healey looked eager to take it to complete his hat-trick, but it seems Agard is the designated taker when Aneke is not on the pitch (he was replaced by Osman Sow prior to the penalty). He stepped up and converted brilliantly into the top corner to take his tally to 13 for the season.
The final goal came late on and was scored by an unlikely source. Osman Sow has had a terrible fitness record since arriving at the club 18 months ago. The Swedish striker only notched two goals in the whole of last season, both in the early stages of his Dons career, and he has only featured sporadically under Tisdale as he tries to get back to peak fitness.
Even prior to turning in Dean Lewington’s excellent cross in this game, he had looked sharp and was working harder than had ever been seen from him before. It certainly looks like he wants to show the MK Dons faithful what they have been missing from him and more positive cameos like this one could see him return to favour.
Paul Tisdale’s side once again have a break. They were due to play Oldham Athletic at home this Saturday but the game has been moved due to Oldham’s involvement in the FA Cup third round.
They face the same issue with the Newport County that needs to be replayed after its postponement a couple of weeks ago, so for the second time in two months, the Dons will have an extended break.
Their next game will be a trip to Bury on January 12th before they host Crewe at Stadium MK. They then travel to Grimsby before finishing the month with the rearranged Oldham fixture.