By Martin Atherton
A youthful MK Dons side overturned Stevenage 3-2 at the Lamex on Tuesday night, all but guaranteeing their qualification into the knockout rounds.
Jay Bird, star of the show, netted twice on his professional debut whilst Carlton Morris also found the net for Russell Martin’s side. A Louis Thompson horror own goal and an Inioh Effiong penalty had initially brought the hosts level, but Bird’s late screamer wrapped up all three points for the boys from MK1.
The hosts created the first opportunity of the game, former Dons target Danny Newton forcing Walker into a good stop almost immediately from kick-off. Martin’s outfit continued to start slowly but weathered the initial Boro storms and kept the tie level as they worked their way into the game.
Against the run of play they then took the lead, early substitute Morris tapping home from a loose ball in the box after O’Hora had seen his header saved. Almost immediately after Bird then doubled the advantage, following up from a saved Sørensen effort to fire into the unguarded net.
But horror suddenly struck before half-time as the hosts pulled one back out of the blue, a lack of communication from Louis Thompson and Laurie Walker causing the latter to head into his own net. HT 1-2.
Stevenage then brought the game level shortly after the hour mark, Effiong converting from the spot after the Boro forward had been pulled down by Jordan Houghton.
But despite the setback, the Dons would go on to still see the better of the game, this finally paying its dividends through none other than young Bird with the academy graduate doubling his tally for the night with a sweet strike from just inside the box.
A late James-Wildin effort was saved marvellously by Walker as the hosts looked to get back level, but the Dons admirably held onto their late lead, making it two wins in two for the EFL Trophy. FT 2-3.
Perhaps not the most illustrious of competitions in which Martin’s side could have registered their first away win in nearly 13 months, but that result will instil confidence back into a set of players completely bereft of such after the collapse to Crewe Alexandra nearly two weeks ago.
Martin’s men go again on Saturday at home to Portsmouth on the search of their first league win of the season.