By Jon Harries
Proud, and If there was only one word, I could use for the performance from Saturday that would be it. After the opening 15 minutes you thought there would only be one winner at Turf Moor. Lee Nichols keeping us in the game with two great saves, after that the Dons grew into the game and scored just before the end of the first half. Stephen Walker clip into the box was neatly flicked on by Scott Fraser and Cameron Jerome headed past Will Morris to give the League One side a shock lead. VAR of course played its part in proceedings, after Richard Keogh was given his marching orders for an apparent handball. Stockley Park though saw the error of Jon Moss’ ways and after viewing the replays the referee rescinded the decision and we went into the break still with our lead and full complement of men.
The second half apart from a Walker chance it was all Burnley. The backs to the wall job being done superbly by the underdogs. The grit, determination, and the will to work for each other was evident, we were so close to another FA Cup scalp. Then in the final seconds of added on time Robbie Brady delivered a teasing ball into the box and the ball kindly fell for Matej Vydra who made no mistake. Extra time loomed, with Russell Martin banished to the stands for wanting to talk to ref Moss, MK Dons had a great opportunity to win it when Ben Gladwin struck the outside of a post. Penalties is always a lottery and Burnley found their “Happy Place” courtesy of a 4-3 shootout success, Phil Bardsley confirming their progress into Round 4 after Sorenson and Gladwin had penalties saved. Plenty of positives though and an immense pride and positivity and now just two competitions to concentrate on.
I took the opportunity at Saturday lunchtime to cast my eye over our next opponents Peterborough United. They faced a trip to leaders Lincoln and started the game brightly, getting a deserved lead thanks to a Jonson Clarke Harris shot was cleared off the line and hit the back of a Lincoln teammate. It got really scrappy and at the break Peterborough would have felt they should be further ahead. Lincoln to their credit regrouped and equalised when Anthony Scully ghosted in at the back post from a corner. They then had a golden opportunity to take all three points when Nathan Thompson handled a Scully cross and Jorge Grant sliced the resulting penalty wide. In the end a point benefited Lincoln more but again Peterborough fans are asking the same question? When will the consistent 90 minutes happen?
At Stadium MK earlier in the season it was a game the home side dominated but as always conceded first. Clarke-Harris with the header. After that though it was all the home side, and we got a deserved equaliser after Fraser slipped Jerome through and he made no mistake.
Our trip to London Road won’t be easy though with Posh currently boasting the 5th best home record in the League, getting anything will be tricky. In Christy Pym they have a solid goalkeeper and the CB partnership of Kent and Beevers is formidable on its day. Any chance of a possible Thompson brother reunion was quashed after Nathan got sent off for a second yellow card in the incident leading up to the Lincoln penalty, whilst on the left Dan Butler is a very adventurous full back. Siriki Dembele is a tricky winger/forward who has handed in a transfer request that the Posh hierarchy are not impressed with to say the least. Jack Taylor has had a very impressive season in midfield alongside Joe Ward. Ryan Broom I feel needs a consistent run of games and is one I personally like to watch. Up front Mo Eisa, Clarke-Harris and Sammie Szmodics are especially useful options at this level.
Harrison Burrows is the man in focus today. The soon to be 18-year-old (Tuesday at the time of writing) is having a good breakthrough season under Darren Ferguson. The left sided midfielder is being given the responsibility of set pieces over more experienced candidates whilst also keeping them out of the team with his mature performances. The partnership with Butler is blossoming with Burrows able to cover if he ventures forward. Burrows also is not afraid to take on an opponent so whoever starts for the Dons will have to stay switched on.
Laird – Poole – Keogh – Lewington – Harvie
Surman – Sorenson – Fraser – Gladwin
3-5-1-1 for me. Setup to counter Peterborough with the pace of Laird and Harvie as WB’s and Fraser and Sorenson supporting Jerome where possible. It’s important to not isolate Jerome and the runs off the ball will be vital to any success. At the time of writing, I am expecting some returns from injury so fingers crossed the bench will be stronger than recently. The right CB position is definitely up for grabs but Poole edges it as he’s played more than Williams and O’Hora recently.
I predict either a score draw, or a narrow MK Dons win. Peterborough will want to set the tone early given that they are the home team wanting promotion so I wouldn’t mind either keeping possession or frustrating them defensively. It will be decided out wide in my opinion or whichever of Szmodics or Fraser takes control of the game centrally will ultimately succeed.
Looking forward to this.
THE BIG MATCH PREVIEW IS SPONSORED BY
12 Drakes Mews, Crownhill, MK8 0ER
Tel No – 01908-565904