By Jon Harries
Jon reviews the Tuesday night win over AFC Wimbledon and looks at our game versus Portsmouth on Saturday and takes a look at Marcus Harness as the dangerman.
Tuesday night saw the clash of fierce rivals MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon.
The atmosphere before kick-off was electric with Block 11 buzzing with excitement and anticipation. As the teams came out the roar from the Cowshed was deafening and at kick off was full of noise and backing for the boys.
The Dons came out of the blocks with a high press with AFC trying to beat it using Ollie Palmer as a focal point with runners off the ball. The first chance fell to the hosts, Twine with two efforts blocked then Theo Corbeanu firing over. The debutant on loan from Wolves was causing havoc with his direct running and trickery, akin to Harvey Barnes forcing Guinness Walker to pick up an early booking. Then the goal, Mo Eisa chased a lost cause and won the ball in the corner, he found Twine who in turn found former AFC player Watson. The headlines were ready to be written but sensibly he cut the ball back to O’Riley who dropped his shoulder, took a touch, and fired into the net. Delirium in the home end, and the top tier of the away end disappointed but not surprised. Then minutes later Guinness-Walker couldn’t handle Theo anymore and cut him down as he got the better of him down the right wing and picked up a second yellow card and the walk of shame down the tunnel to the collective jeers from the home faithful.
The second half was played like attack v defence. MK Dons were comfortable passing the ball from left to right stretching the 10 men starving them of possession. If you believe the opposition report they say they had us pegged back for most of the second half, but nothing could be further from the truth.
No shots on target at all in the second half in fact Franco Ravizzoli making his L1 debut following the Fisher departure barely broke sweat throughout the game and quite rightly got a fantastic reception at the end. The win moves us back into the play offs, now the challenge is staying there with some real tough away fixtures on the horizon.
That starts Saturday at Fratton Park away at Portsmouth, the form team in L1 right now with one defeat in their last 7 L1 outings. This run has been disrupted by Covid in the squad meaning this is their first home game since the 11th of December. Danny and Nicky Cowley got off to a slow start with fans questioning their tactics but an upturn in form has them just outside the play offs with games in hand. I’m expecting a tougher game than earlier at Stadium MK where goalkeeper Gavin Bazuna was in inspired form. Connor Ogilvie and Sean Raggett are tough tackling defenders. Former loanee Louis Thompson is the defensive shield allowing Michael Jacobs and Ryan Tunnicliffe to provide the ammunition to the front three, two of which, Ronan Curtis and John Marquis are L1 dangermen in themselves.
Marcus Harness has finally settled into his new club after patchy form since joining from Burton but is worth the Man in Focus this week. The versatile attacker has 9 goals and an assist in 22 games this season and is performing to a level never seen before. Able to run with the ball and find pockets of space that are difficult to pick up. Adding goals was the thing missing from his game and now it’s about consistency season upon season. He can play either of the 3 attacking positions with ease and able to get to the by-line and produce dangerous crosses and is a big part of the turnaround recently at Pompey.
*predicted before any potential transfer business.
Watson – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Robson – O’Riley
Twine – Corbeanu
One change will do and freshening up the attack given our limited options at the time of writing. I genuinely believe Troy is the guy for this game, remember he had a great battle with his country man Bazuna and played a massive part in the winner. Plus bringing Mo on later isn’t a bad thing.
I’m predicting a 1-1 draw, but anything from Portsmouth would be great for our play-off aspirations, Troy with the goal.