The Dons need to improve their away form if they are to challenge this season. (©PAphotos)
MK Dons continued their struggle to pick up points away from home as they were beaten 1-0 by lowly Yeovil at Huish Park.
Paul Huntington got the only goal of the game just ten minutes in, leaping above the Dons defence to head home after being picked out by Andy Welsh’s fine cross. MK keeper David Martin made his feelings towards his defence clear, and rightly so as Town had looked the better side from kick off, with Welsh, who caused the Dons problems all afternoon, forcing Sean O’ Hanlon into a frantic clearance over the bar early on.
Shaun MacDonald, who along with Paul Wooton ensured his side dominated the midfield, then went on to have a chance, but saw his soft shot easily saved by Martin, who then denied Bowditch. Although neither chance was converted, it was emblematic of the possession and momentum Yeovil held – even with Sam Baldock coming in to lead the line, Karl Robinson’s side never looked like scoring and produced few chances in front of goal.
It was, unsurprisingly, Baldock, who created the Dons’ first real opportunity, seeing his free kick trouble the green and white defence. It looked to have given the timid Dons some confidence as Peter Leven then came close, making John Sullivan work for the first time in the game to give away a corner, before Mathias Kouo-Doumbe headed over.
After half an hour, yet again Welsh was racing down the right and cut back to set up Sam Williams, who failed to score with his unchallenged header. Lewis Guy looked typically lively for the Dons, and the effervescent winger looked as though he might punish the Somerset side for their missed chances. It was not to be though, as instead, after confusion in among the Dons defence, Andy Williams raced past Martin, only to poke the ball inches wide. Luke Chadwick then found himself in space at the other end, but took too long to strike, and eventually found himself robbed by the diligent Yeovil defence.
For all his efforts and arguably a man of the match performance, Welsh looked to top it off with a goal for himself, only for Dean Lewington to save the Dons from any further embarrassment in the last few minutes.
The home side were then reduced to ten men after a late fracas which saw Town’s Jean Paul Kalala sent off after spending a mere six minutes on the pitch. The former Grimsby midfielder tripped Michael McIndoe, before seeing red for a raised arm in a bizarre incident. With little time left though, the Dons could not use it to their advantage as Huntington’s strike proved to be enough to land a crucial three points for Yeovil.
Despite losing just once at the stadium:mk all season, the Dons do not seem to reproduce that form on the road and have now been beaten nine times when they have stepped out of Milton Keynes, and will face a similar challenge in their weekend trip to Exeter.
The Christmas period had been good to the Dons after two impressive wins at stadium:mk over Bristol Rovers and Bournemouth.
Despite the news that their second all time leading scorer Aaron Wilbraham would be leaving for Championship side Norwich, the Dons turned out a first-class performance against Rovers to give the Cowshed a great start to the new year with a 2-0 win.
Daniel Powell and Peter Leven got the goals to leave lowly Bristol in a precarious position in League One, while in contrast the result brings the Dons up to eighth, just a point off the play off places and with a game in hand.
Earlier in the week, the Dons turned out one of their performances of the season as they saw off Bournemouth 2-0, thanks to goals from Guy and Doumbe.
The Dons could have been forgiven for any signs of the rustiness a team whose previous outing came over two weeks ago might be expected to show, but to the contrary, they produced fresh, fantastic, festive football going forward, and defended solidly to resist the Cherries as they came charging at them in the second half.
The list of positives from that afternoon seemed to be endless for Karl Robinson. Not only did Stephen Gleeson pull a superb performance out of the hat in midfield, but also Michael McIndoe produced a fine display, with the latter recently extended his loan deal from Coventry until the end of January.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.