Football

Dons hold narrow advantage

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A rapid three-goal burst from MK Dons helped them to a narrow 3-2 lead in their npower League One play-off semi final with Peterborough and denied Sir Alex Ferguson a double celebration.

The Manchester United boss celebrated his 12th Barclays Premier League title on Saturday and was present to watch son Darren attempt to guide Posh into the Championship and the Fergusons were all smiles at half time as Posh led through striker Craig Mackail-Smith's 35th goal of the season but saw United fall apart after the break.

Substitute goalkeeper Paul Jones was beaten three times in the opening 11 minutes as Daniel Powell, Sam Baldock and Angelo Balanta seemingly put Karl Robinson's side in charge before Grant McCann pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Peterborough full-back Charlie Lee was sent off to cap a miserable second period for Ferguson's men and Dons midfielder Stephen Gleeson was also dismissed in the penalty incident as both sides finished with 10 men in a cracking game.

Ferguson's men took an eighth-minute lead when Mark Little surged into the penalty area and cut the ball back for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who was lurking on the penalty spot. His low shot was saved by David Martin but the keeper could only parry the ball out to Mackail-Smith, who converted from six yards.

Peterborough goalkeeper Joe Lewis had taken a knock early on and failed to reappear for the second period so Jones came on in goal and was beaten instantly as the home side levelled in the 47th minute.

Dons captain Dean Lewington floated in a deep cross from the left which Tommy Rowe made a mess of clearing. Jones tried to punch the ball clear but succeeded only in slapping it down to Powell, who smashed in from close range.

The equaliser was well deserved and Robinson's side were in front just three minutes later through Baldock. There appeared little danger when the striker lined up a free-kick 30 yards from goal but he fired in a low shot under the wall which flew past Jones and into the corner. A remarkable turnaround was complete in the 56th minute when Balanta cracked in a third.

Posh's challenge suffered another blow in the 67th minute when left-back Lee was shown his second yellow card by referee Jon Moss for a foul on Powell.

Posh were handed a lifeline nine minutes from time as Little broke from his own half and was tripped by Gleeson just outside the area but after speaking to his assistant referee, Moss awarded a penalty and harshly showed a straight red card to Gleeson. McCann made no mistake from the spot-kick.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Peterborough United
Milton Keynes Dons
Mark Little
Football
Charlie Lee
Millwall
David Martin
Championship
League One
David Martin
Angelo Balanta
Premier League
Alex
Tommy Rowe
Manchester United
Stephen Gleeson
Dean Lewington
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing
Joe Lewis
Craig Mackail-Smith
Paul Jones
Grant McCann
Daniel Powell
Sam Baldock
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