MK Dons wasted a wonderful opportunity to consolidate their place in the play-off positions as they slipped to a shock 3-1 defeat to Plymouth Argyle this week. All the money would have been on Karl Robinson’s men, who had lost just once previously at home all season.
Onismor Bhasera put Argyle ahead after 22 minutes with a thumping strike, and before long Kari Arnason had doubled that lead with an equally magnificent goal. The pilgrims did superbly to hold off the Dons and stop them from playing their usual passing game, and the home side’s frustration came to a head when the Zimbabwean Bhasera raced through their half and smashed past David Martin in the Dons goal, a just reward for a fantastic solo effort.
Arnason then demonstrated even further that what Plymouth may lack in funds, they more than make up for in talent, as he let fly with an ambitious shot from 35 yards that crashed against the underside of the crossbar on its way over the line.
It left the Dons with a mountain to climb with over an hour to go, but they did not appear disheartened and immediately went about getting back into the contest, with Robinson shuffling his side into a more attacking formation, a clear statement that damage limitation had not even entered their heads.
And before long it was 2-1 after good football from MK; Lewis Guy leaping over a Luke Chadwick pass to feed Danny Woodards, and Bhasera turned from hero into villain as he put Woodards’ cross into his own net to drag the Dons back into it five minutes before half time.
The goal sprung the game into life as both sides now believed there were invaluable points on the table. Peter Leven’s corner came close to being headed in by Jabo Ibehre for what would have been the equaliser, but Bhasera ensured he was once again in the limelight, as he returned to his defensive duties and headed the ball clear from the goal line.
For all the Dons’ efforts though, they nearly fell even further behind when Yannick Bolasie pulled a shot goal wards, only to be denied by Martin who rebuffed it away – Joe Mason was on hand for the rebound but Martin produced more admirable goalkeeping as he managed to stifle the ball.
The game was still firmly in the balance, with Steven Gleeson volleying over the crossbar before the Pilgrims had another shot of their own as Bolasie couldn’t quite get his header on target.
If there had been any doubts about whether Peter Reid’s side deserved the victory, they were swept away as Chris Clark finished off more fantastic play that, along with their two first half goals, were worthy of winning any match. Bolasie’s mischievous back-heel reached Jim Paterson, who in turn crossed excellently to find the feet of Clark, and the former Aberdeen winger made no mistake from 16 yards to top off a night of sheer quality.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.