By Fan of the Year – Jon Harries
Going into last Saturday’s game, the Dons were six unbeaten in all competitions and at the same time looking to improve on their travels to the Priestfield against Gillingham having only won 2 of their previous 17 visits to the Kent venue, but they had cause for optimism as they were undefeated on the road in L1 so far this season.
Gillingham had an early chance when Kyle Dempsey forced an early save from Fisher, then the Dons settled into the game without really forcing Jamie Cumming into a save. Gills then took a surprise lead when Alex Macdonald found space down the left and chipped a ball to the back post where an unmarked Vadaine Oliver headed in. The curse looked like it would strike again but a few moments later that changed. Former loanee Stuart O’Keefe had already been booked for throwing the ball away, then pulled Scott Twine down just inside the box making it an easy decision for the referee. Twine had his penalty saved by Cumming but converted the rebound. After that it was one way traffic with Parrott wasting a few opportunities, the breakthrough though was made and how. Great interplay between O’Riley, Boateng and Parrott allowed Kioso to sneak in down the side, turn his man inside out then smash the ball past Cumming, half time and so far, so good.
The second half started with Dons dominance, Parrott again being wasteful. Gillingham then had a spell in the second half that they pressured us higher up the pitch and created the chances to equalise, and you have to say it was difficult watching at times as Oliver was twice thwarted by Fisher, firstly one on one after a short backpass by O’Hora, then after a corner was kept alive by Jack Tucker, Oliver hit a sweet volley that Fisher tipped over.
Gillingham soon tired though and the result was put to bed firstly by a deflected Parrott cross shot, then Max Watters at the second attempt firing in from close range. An away win at our “bogey ground” and up to the dizzy heights of 3rd in L1. Seven unbeaten and most importantly “Possession with Purpose”.
Saturday sees the visit of local rivals Wycombe to Stadium MK. They put up a very spirited fight despite relegation, gaining much respect in the Championship. They were never thrashed and the longest serving manager in the EFL Gareth Ainsworth is a fantastic man manager who undoubtedly gets the best out of his squad. David Stockdale in goal is highly experienced in the lower leagues, Joe Jacobson has a very dangerous set piece delivery and has been known to score directly from corners and Anthony Stewart continues to shine in defence. Former MK loanee David Wheeler scored the goal against Mansfield to secure our promotion from L2 on the final day of the season and Daryl Horgan is the chief creator in the team. Up front Sam Vokes is a constant nuisance allowing runners from deep and a goal threat himself. We may or may not be lucky to see Akinfenwa grace us with his presence depending on whether the NFL is more important 😉😜
Gareth McCleary is the man in form right now. The 34-year-old Jamaican International has 4 goals in 6 appearances including a brace against Charlton on Saturday. He’s able to ghost into positions of danger, making second man runs off Vokes and gives the cutting edge that sometimes gets overlooked in primarily a direct side. Winning second balls will be crucial to any success on Saturday.
Predicted Line Up
Kioso – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
O’Riley – Robson – Twine – Boateng
Although Watters has had minutes and Eisa is back on the training pitch, I feel like this is a settled side. At the time of writing there has been no update on the injury that forced Kioso off against Gillingham I’d hope that he’s OK as his physicality is crucial against Wycombe.
I’m going for a tight 2-1 home win. Both sides only defeat so far in the league this season ironically have been against Sunderland so I’m expecting a tight game in a local Derby. Disrespect Wycombe at your peril they love playing the underdog.
Enjoy the game and don’t forget in the 13th minute there will be a minutes applause in memory of a Young Dons fan Freya Whelan who sadly died in 2018.