By Martin Atherton
MK Dons fell at the last hurdle to Rochdale, leaving them 13th in the final League One 2020/21 table.
The final day, which marked the end to a season that will certainly never be forgotten, was started with an excellent live stream by the DSA – including contributions from the MK1 Podcast, DonsAction, Come on You Dons, and MK Dons Worldwide.
Truth be told, there wasn’t too much to be said about the first half – both sides understandably seeming sluggish and keen to get away on their holidays.
Sorinola came closest throughout the half within the opening minutes, sending an excellent free-kick against Lynch’s crossbar.
Darling – whose boyhood and former side Cambridge United were promoted yesterday – also came close, sending a header at Lynch’s post from a corner.
The Manchester side had their best chance when a Fisher clearance was chased down – the Rochdale striker then using his hand to block it, unnoticed by the referee, before Surman then saw a shot saved by Lynch up the other end after Laird’s intelligent cut-back.
Unfortunately, the United loanee – who has impressed so much since arriving in January – picked up an injury, bringing an end to his spell at Stadium:MK. An excellent player, and one whose future I will certainly be keeping a keen eye on. HT 0-0.
The second half, though, saw a complete MK Dons collapse, It started with Morley giving Dale the lead – an excellent free-kick on the edge of the box that, perhaps, Fisher could have done better to save. 0-1.
Keohan then quickly made it two, seeing a deflected shot completely outwit Fisher and fall past the Dons’ keeper. 0-2.
A flurry of substitutes were introduced – including both Jay Bird (20) and Brooklyn Ilunga (17), the former making only his second league appearance for the club, and the latter his first ever professional appearance in the game.
But the away side then found a third, some poor defending gifting former Dons transfer target Stephen Humphrys the opportunity to fire home past Fisher. FT 0-3.
A really disappointing final day result – but certainly not a disappointing season overall. It didn’t start great, and it took us a long time to get going – but, slowly and surely, we’ve seen this team develop into one of the best in League One. It’s a big shame that their final position doesn’t reflect this; however, it only gives us hope moving into next campaign.
I’m going for a top six finish next season, just sneaking in the play-offs. I wouldn’t be overly concerned if it takes us a bit of time to get going again – just take a look at Blackpool and Oxford this season! – so the important thing is to keep our heads cool if we’re not exactly where we want to be by Christmas.
Regardless… Come on You Dons! And have a great summer.
EDITOR – Huge thanks to Martin for his match by match reports, they have been superb. Also a big thank you to Alfie and Reece who have stepped in to help out when Martin has been unavailable.