By Jon Harries
After a “must win” game on Tuesday night was won we now go to “a win at all costs” game on Saturday afternoon against AFC Wimbledon. Extreme as it sounds you don’t think any MK Dons player fan or coaching staff member could ever bear the thought of an L next to a game against “Opposition”.
Tuesday night saw six changes after the disastrous performance away at Blackpool. Returns for O’Hora, Sorinola, Houghton, Sorensen, and a full MK debut for Stephen Walker were brought in to freshen up the squad, and it worked.
Although most Wigan fans will agree their team was very lacklustre, a very dominant first half from the Dons produced no goals. Scott Fraser should have had a brace with two chances saved at the near post by Jamie Jones, but everything good was coming from Sorinola and Fraser and it looked only a matter of time before the Dons found a way to unlock the creaking Wigan defence.
Wigan were struggling to cope and would have been happy with the halftime score, but seven minutes into the second half and it was game over. Cameron Jerome setting Sorinola free down the left and he drove at the defence winning a penalty after a badly timed challenge from Tom James, Scott Fraser stepped up and coolly converted. Three minutes later it was two, a slow patient build up down the left, and Sorinola again with a ball into the box half cleared fell to Walker who rifled in from inside the box. In truth the last 15 minutes Wigan had a lot of possession without penetration, but you couldn’t honestly deny the home side the win.
AFC Wimbledon won on Tuesday night courtesy of a Callum Reilly goal early in the first half. In truth it could have been more after Blackpool had two players sent off, Ethan Robson in the first half, Dan Ballard in the second, but it was a positive end to their short stay at QPR before their “return” to the New Plough Lane next month. Their form in general this season has been respectable. Draws against Northampton and Plymouth alongside shock wins away at Fleetwood and Swindon respectively, show they have something about them. An unlucky loss away at Shrewsbury followed a defeat at high flying Hull City. Four points from their last two games away at Burton Albion and home on Tuesday to Blackpool leaves them in 11th position in the table, so they are a side that shouldn’t be taken lightly and they are bound to feel equally as passionate about this game as us.
Goalkeeper Connal Trueman is another loan keeper between the sticks after the success of previous incumbents Nathan Trott and Aaron Ramsdale from the previous two seasons. A few players that deserve a mention are Centre Back Will Nightingale who is the club captain, Steve Seddon surprisingly has had to drop down a level again to get regular first team football (on loan from Birmingham). Nester Guinness Walker has progressed through their youth academy, Callum Reilly is their creative force in midfield, and loanee from Brighton Ryan Longman has chipped in with a few goals already this season.
Joe Piggot though is the man to watch after one of our summer targets Marcus Forss returned to Brentford last season. Most fans wondered where the goals were coming from, so step forward Piggot who has started this season in great form. Goals and assists make him a major threat for the Dons defence and different types of goals at that, he certainly isn’t a one trick pony. He can hold the ball up, play on the shoulder of the last defender, compete in the air, he has it all and if the service is right then he is a massive threat not to be underestimated.
Predicted Line Up
Poole – Williams – Keogh – Lewington – Harvie
Houghton – Fraser – Sorensen
Jerome – Walker
I feel there will be subtle changes in the team. Carlton Morris and Louis Thompson both reported ill on Tues (not Covid 19 related) so potentially could return, but I feel the experience of Williams, Keogh, Lewington, and Houghton will be vital in this sort of game, and Sorensen and Fraser could be the difference in the creativity we need, but the threat of Piggot should not be overlooked.
I’m going with a 3-1 MK Dons win, Walker (2) and Sorenson with the goals. Patience and ultimately the win will be key.
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