By Jon Harries
They always say in football, in particular lower league football that there’s always a team that makes a late run up the table. MK Dons could fit the bill, particularly after winning four games in a row after Saturday’s narrow but deserved win against an out of sorts Doncaster Rovers. After a dominant first half where Will Grigg and Daniel Harvie had chances saved it looked likely that a draw was on the cards until the last 15 minutes of the game when O’Riley spread a pass over to the left for the impressive Harvie who cut inside and fired into the back of the net. From then on we saw the game out for a very important clean sheet and three points. This win was made even more impressive with club captain Dean Lewington rested and Scott Fraser substituted after 28 minutes.
Crewe were very unlucky in defeat against L1 Leaders Hull City. The first half was end to end with chances for both sides, but it remained scoreless at half time. Crewe took the lead through a Chris Porter penalty after Charlie Kirk was fouled in the box. Hull equalised after a foul in the box and Josh Magennis fired home. There was late heartbreak for Crewe though when Malik Wilks scored in the last few minutes of the game to preserve top spot. I think a point would have been fair result given the chances Crewe created but football is a game of fine margins.
After 8 days rest for the Dons after Lincoln called the Good Friday fixture off due to Covid 19 we return to Stadium MK for what promises to be a game of “Total Football” against Crewe Alexandra. The Alex have had a very respectable season currently sitting 14th in the League 1 table. At home they are very strong whereas away from home they currently lie 20th in the form table. They have a phenomenal record of churning out youth products season after season, Robbie Savage, Dean Ashton, and Danny Murphy spring to mind. This season Charlie Kirk, Harry Pickering and Ryan Wintle are the ones to watch now and in the future. Perry NG was sold to Cardiff in January and the aforementioned Pickering will move to Blackburn in the summer helping the club out in this current climate. Rio Adebisi has been tasked with filling the NG hole. In midfield Ryan Wintle and Luke Murphy like to dictate play in another possession based side. Up top “the lower league Giroud” Mikael Mandron has seven goals to his name and former Dons player Daniel Powell and loanee Stephen Walker provide experience and youthful exuberance respectively.
Owen Dale is enjoying a purple patch for Crewe recently with 8 goals and an assist this season the academy product is yet another success off the production line. Able to run into the box from midfield and a great option as part of a three behind Mandron. Useful from set pieces, whether it’s delivering or being on the end of them the 22 year old has potential to play at a higher level in the future.
Predicted Line Up
Laird – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Sorinola
McEachran – Surman – O’Riley – Fraser
Laird will have to be defensively sharp against Kirk and Pickering in what I see as the key battle to win. I’m expecting a reaction from Fraser after the indiscretion against Doncaster and Jerome will be fit and firing. This isn’t a dig at Harvie and Jules as they have struggled for game time of late. Hopefully we will see a run out for key man Kasumu off the bench.
I predict a 2-0 home win in an entertaining game. Crewe play “the right way” and I believe first goal will be key. Expect even possession, high pressing, and no lack of effort. Artell has had this group of players for two seasons now so this will be a close game. COYD
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