BARKER AND BOULDING ON TARGET AS STAGS BEAT DONS
Mansfield Town 2 - 1 Milton Keynes Dons
Barker 29, Boulding 37. Wilbraham 10.
Attendance: 4033 (621 from MK)
Stags Bookings: Dawson 43 and 88 (but not shown red card!), Barker 58
Stags pass Dons test!
TWO goals in eight first half minutes saw Mansfield Town come from behind to take maximum points in their first home League game against Milton Keynes at Field Mill tonight.
Excellent finishes by Richie Barker (29) and Michael Boulding (37) sealed an impressive 2-1 win by the Stags against the relegated Dons who are expected to be among this season's frontrunners.
And it set Stags up nicely for Saturday's visit of Stockport County.
The night began badly as Aaron Wilbraham gave the visitors a 10th minute lead.
But Stags turned it on its head before the break and battled well in a stalemate second half, played for a long time in driving rain, with MK Dons having a Clive Platt goal disallowed for offside nine minutes from time.
Bizarrely, Stephen Dawson appeared to be shown his second yellow card of the night a minute from the end but no red followed and he was quickly substituted. At least he didn't get a third!
Stags made just one change from the side that drew 2-2 at Shrewsbury in Saturday's opener with Dawson replacing the injured Coke (ankle) in midfield. Reet had shaken off a knee injury to be named among the substitutes.
Bankhole made his first start in goal for the Dons after they had keeper Adolfe Baines sent off at the weekend while striker Wilbraham came in for central midfielder Smith.
It took Stags just 15 seconds to win a corner and another followed within that first minute which saw Barker head Hamshaw's kick at Bankole at the far post.
In the sixth minute Hamshaw's touch back to Muggleton fell short and the keeper dived bravely at the feet of Platt to prevent him capitalising. Stags quickly broke downfield and this time it was Bankole who needed to be alert, racing out his box to clear ahead of the chasing Brown.
But Dons drew first blood in the 10th minute. A long forward ball by Lewington was nodded perfectly into the path of Wilbraham by the towering Platt. And Wilbraham finished the move with a perfectly-placed finish high to the left of a rooted Muggleton who had no chance of stopping it.
Stung, the home side stepped up the pressure and Brown went close when he turned a volley over the near angle after Dawson had won the ball and sent it into the danger zone.
Dyer's pace threatened to take him clear. But John-Baptiste stuck with him superbly to drive him wide. Stags did survive one or two worrying moments, particularly a Dyer cross that flew across the face of the goal.
But the home side were level on 29 minutes. Hamshaw played the ball forward towards Dawson just inside the box. He helped into the path of Barker who crashed home an unstoppable low finish.
The home side had their tails up now and Bankole had to gather a Mullins header from Dawson's cross.
And they roared into the lead on 37 minutes. Lewington tried to help on a poor kick out by Bankole. But it went straight to Mullins who lofted it forward to Barker.
He found Brown to his right and Brown spotted the run of Boulding and crossed perfectly to give Boulding the chance to smash home a superb close range finish.
Lewington was booked on 42 minutes for a foul on Brown and Dawson joined him a minute later for hacking down McLeod as Stags went in ahead.
Barker was wide with a 30 yard free kick as Mansfield began the second half on the offensive with heavy rain beginning to sweep over Field Mill.
Dons boss Martin Allen was clearly unhappy his side had not managed to step things up and made a double change on 55 minutes as Mitchell and Dyer made way for Smith and Taylor.
Almost immediately Muggleton made a superb save and John-Baptiste a brilliant block in quick succession unaware an offside flag was already raised.
Boulding ran at the Dons defence on 63 minutes but his finish lacked any real menace and was easy for Bankole.
Smith saw a quick free kick deflect just wide as Stags were forced to defend successive corners.
Birchall offered fresh legs for Boulding on 65 minutes as Stags made their first change.
Diallo was booked for bringing down Dawson in full flight. But Hamshaw wasted the free kick by over hitting it. Then Wilbraham was cautioned for handball.
Stags had a big let-off nine minuets from time as McGovern slipped a through ball for McLeod to set up Platt for what he thought was an equaliser. But an offside flag saved Mansfield's bacon.
It was hearts in mouth stuff near the end as Mullins' leg turned aside a goal bound McLeod shot who also fired wide from a good position soon after. Edds was also wide from a great position in stoppage time as Stags clung on with Dawson appearing to escape a sending off for a second booking.
by JON BOYLE, 08 August 2006
Mansfield Town 2, MK Dons 1
MK DONS slumped to their first defeat under Martin Allen as they went down 2-1 to Mansfield at Field Mill.
Aaron Wilbraham's neat 10th minute finish gave Milton Keynes the perfect start, but Richard Barker's low drive and Michael Boulding's 37th minute tap-in condemned the Dons their first loss of the 2006/7 League Two campaign.
The game ended in farcical fashion as referee Kevin Wright showed Stephen Dawson a second yellow card in injury-time but failed to send him off.
Dons manager Martin Allen made three changes to the team that beat Bury 2-1 on Saturday, with Ademola Bankole replacing the suspended Adolfo Baines in goal.
Leon Crooks came in for injured skipper Jamie Smith (hamstring) at right back, while Wilbraham replaced Gary Smith in an unfamiliar central midfield role.
Transfer-listed goalkeeper Matt Baker came into the squad for the first time this season but had to settle for a place on the bench as Bankole made his first start.
The Dons started strongly and the stretching Clive Platt was denied by a brave save at his feet from Mansfield goalkeeper Carl Muggleton, before Wilbraham's clinical 10th minute finish put the Dons ahead.
Dean Lewington's long pass was flicked on by Platt for the quick-breaking Wilbraham, who controlled the ball brilliantly before planting a superb angled drive into the top corner from 12 yards with the outside of his right boot.
Mansfield fought back and Simon Brown volleyed Dawson's cross just over the angle from 10 yards, before Barker rammed in the equaliser for the Stags in the 29th minute.
Stephen Dawson laid Matthew Hamshaw's chip forward into the path of Barker, who drilled low first-time inside near post from 15 yards.
Lloyd Dyer wasted a good chance to restore the Dons' lead when he fired Crooks' precise pull-back wide from 15 yards, and then Boulding made him pay by putting Mansfield 2-1 up in the 37th minute.
Brown broke clear down the right and crossed perfectly for the unmarked Boulding to tuck first-time past Bankole from eight yards.
The Dons pressed forward in the early stages of the second half but Boulding wasted a good chance to make it 3-1 at the other end when Drissa Diallo gifted him possession in a dangerous position but his strike from the edge of the box was saved comfortably by Bankole.
Platt's header from Jon-Paul McGovern's corner was deflected just over the bar for the Dons in the 65th minute, before Platt had a goal disallowed for offside in the 80th minute.
Platt diverted Izale McLeod's mis-hit shot into the top corner from close range but as the big striker began to wheel away in celebration he cruelly noticed the linesman's flag was raised.
McLeod's close range strike was deflected agonisingly wide by the lunging Mullins a minute from the end, before McLeod screwed badly wide when well placed from the resulting corner.
Dons' substitute Gareth Edds should have equalised in injury-time but he volleyed McGovern's pin-point cross badly wide when unmarked eight yards out.
And then in a farcical end to the match, Dawson – who had been booked for a foul on McLeod in the 43rd minute – was yellow carded for a second time for persistent offending but was not shown a red. Dawson was subbed off moments later by his grateful boss Peter Shirtliff.
Mansfield: Muggleton, Mullins, Jelleyman, D'Laryea, Hjelde, John-Baptiste, Hamshaw, Dawson (booked 43, booked 90, subbed 90), Barker, Brown, Boulding (Birchall 65). Subs: Birchall, Reet, White, Lloyd, Buxton.
MK Dons: Bankole, Lewington (booked 42), Diallo (booked 70), Morgan (Edds 84), Crooks, Dyer (Taylor 55), Mitchell (G. Smith 55), Wilbraham (booked 72), McGovern, Platt, McLeod. Subs: O'Hanlon, G.Smith, Edds, Taylor, Baker.
Referee: Mr K Wright.
Attendance: 4,033 (621 Dons' fans).
reports from www.mkdons.premiumtv.co.uk
Saturday's jubilation quickly turned to disappointment as Martin Allen's Dons came unstuck at the hands of Mansfield Town.
A goal from Aaron Wilbraham gave the Dons the lead early on, but strikes from Richie Barker and Michael Boulding were enough to give the home side all three points.
After Saturday's defiant win at home to Bury, Martin Allen made three changes to his starting eleven for the trip to Field Mill, with suspended 'keeper Adolfo Baines, skipper Jamie Smith and midfielder Gary Smith missing out. In their place came Ademola Bankole, Leon Crooks and Aaron Wilbraham, in a midfield role, respectively.
The home side made the brighter start and immediately forced two corners in the first few minutes. However, the Dons weathered the storm with ease and were quickly on the attack.
In fact, it took just ten minutes for The Dons to push forward and take the lead thanks to a classic example of direct play. A lofted ball forward from Dean Lewington found the head of Clive Platt whose knock down was tailor-made for the on-rushing Wilbraham. One perfect touch gave him all the room he needed to pick his spot and bury past Carl Muggleton into the top right corner.
GOAL: MANSFIELD TOWN 0 MK DONS 1 Aaron Wilbraham 10
Having gone behind, the home side refused to give up and came close on 19 minutes. A neat interchange gave Stephen Dawson enough space on the left to pick out Simon Brown but his awkward left foot volley from 12 yards was just over the bar.
Ten minutes later and despite the Dons beginning the look comfortable, the hosts found themselves level through the proloific Barker. A hopeful pass from Matthew Hamshaw found its way to the Stags centre forward who made no mistake with his drilled finish from 15 yards.
GOAL: MANSFIELD TOWN 1 MK DONS 1 Richie Barker 29
Within two minutes of the equaliser the Dons had a great chance to retake the lead. Flying full-back Leon Crooks found his way to the byline before cutting back to Dyer, but the tricky winger's finish was mis-hit over the bar.
A further six minutes and the Dons were caught napping for the home side to take the lead through Boulding. Barker collected a loose ball in midfield and found Brown in space. His one-touch pass was right into the path of Boulding who slotted the ball home on the half-volley from 12 yards.
GOAL: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 MK DONS 1 Michael Boulding 37
Going behind with the interval on the horizon was perhaps slightly unfair on the Dons, who had given a good account of themselves, but certainly gave them something to think about at half time.
HALF TIME: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 MK DONS 1
After the break the Dons looked to go forward in search of equaliser and gave themselves extra options in the ginal third. Martin Allen showed his intentions by making a double substitution, bringing on Scott Taylor and Gary Smith for Dyer and Paul Mitchell in the 55th minute.
With the Dons looking to attack, gaps began to appear ther back, which would nearly prove costly on the hour mark. A mis-placed pass from Diallo was collected by Boulding but with two team-mates in better positions, the Stags wide man scuffed his shot for Bankole to save easily.
The Stags weathered the early second half storm and looked to take a grip on the game. However, with the pace of McLeod and aerial ability of Platt, the Dons always looked a threat going forward and continued to search for a second.
And on 81 minutes the equaliser seemed to have arrived through the ever-threatening Platt after a slide-rule pass from McGovern set McLeod away down the left. He set himself for a shot, which found its way to Platt who buried the ball from eight yards, only for the referee's assistant to call the play back and flag McLeod offside from McGovern's through ball.
Following the disallowed goal, Martin made his final throw of the dice, replacing Craig Morgan with Gareth Edds and switching to an adventurous 3-4-3 formation.
The change of almost almost paid dividends in the 88th minute when a throw from Edds on the right found the feet of Platt. He helped the ball to McLeod at the back post but his goal-bound effort was deflected wide.
From the resulting corner, McLeod again found himself in an outstanding goalscoring position as the ball fell to his feet six yards from the targetonly to get under the shot and watch the ball go over the bar.
Moments later and the Dons had another great chance, this time falling to the substitute Edds. A ball from the left evaded everyone and found the Australian midfielder in space, but in reaching for the ball he put his shot wide of the target.
From there on in the home side prevailed and clung on to claim their victory. A draw would probably have been a fairer result and the Dons can take credit from that at least.
Martin Allen will be hoping his side put this defeat behind them and fast, with the away trip to Macclesfield just four days away.
FINAL SCORE: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 MK DONS 1
Tuesday 8th August 2006
Team: Bankole, Lewington, Diallo, Morgan, Crooks, Dyer, Mitchell, Wilbrahams, McGovern, Platt, McLeod
Subs: Gary Smith, O'Hanlon, Edds, Baker, Taylor
A large travelling contingent of Dons fans descended on Mansfield to witness the Dons first away game of the season. Jamie Smith failed to recover from the knock that he sustained on Saturday and was replaced in the starting line up by Crooks, Gary Smith lost his place to Wilbrahams and the suspended Baines was replaced by Bankole.
End to end football was the name of the game until Lewington passed to Platt who put Wilbrahams through on goal and he buried it into the top right hand corner of the goal. The Dons were in front after 10 minutes with a stunning goal.
The Dons were putting on a lot of pressure with McLeod, McGovern and Dyer surging forward.
A lack of concentration in the Dons defence allowed Richard Barker (29 minutes) to fire in a shot low into the bottom right corner of the Dons goal. Mansfield had drawn level.
Mansfield tried to capitalise on the goal by pushing forward in numbers and succeeded soon afterwards via Boulding (37 minutes) who put the ball into the left hand side of the goal.
Lewington picked up a yellow card for what certainly looked like a dive from Brown.
The rain descended on the ground as if to cool the players down after Martin Allen's half time team talk!
The Dons started on the front foot attacking the Mansfield goal. Scott Taylor replacing Lloyd Dyer and Gary Smith replacing Paul Mitchell soon after half time as the Dons switched to a 4-3-3 formation. The Dons started to dominate the game as they tried to salvage the game. On a rare break Diallo was beaten for pace and bought a Mansfield player down and earned himself a yellow card. Wilbrahams picked a the ball after being fouled but the referee hadn't blown and he earned himself a needless booking.
Morgan replaced by Edds after 83 minutes. Taylor was shown yellow soon after. Despite having the majority of possession the Dons fell to their first defeat of the season after letting in the two goals in the first half.
Lessons from the game? Well the defence seemed to be holding a high line in the first half and were too easily bypassed at times. This tightened up in the second half but will obviously need to be worked on to convert the possession we are enjoying into a win without giving away a sloppy goal or two.