By Jon Harries
Well, what a fantastic day as Saturday saw the second instalment of the Bucks Derby as the Dons travelled to Adams Park in a battle of 4th v 5th.
The atmosphere before the game was exceptional from the away support and that was replicated on the pitch within 35 seconds of KO as we were straight on the attack forcing Stockdale into action.
Wycombe couldn’t cope when the ball was on the floor and their most threatening attacks were from free kicks and set pieces which Cumming dealt with very comfortably.
The big breakthrough happened after 13 minutes. Corbeanu picked up the ball from deep, drove at Joe Jacobsen then unleashed a shot that was parried by Stockdale out to Twine who made no mistake for his 13th goal of the season. The away end erupted with delight, and you would have thought a reaction from Wycombe would be on the cards, but It really wasn’t and in fact the best chances fell to MK Dons throughout the game, Corbeanu forcing a reflex save from a diving header and other counter attacks as Wycombe were pumping several balls into the box but nothing that Darling, Cumming, and company couldn’t handle. It was the very definition of a great team performance and the scenes at the end were very memorable.
Saturday sees Lincoln City arrive at Stadium MK looking for further improvement in their season. Having struggled in the summer to recruit the right players and even finding themselves in the relegation zone at one point in the season and have now found form after our previous meeting, a 3-2 win for the Dons after being 2 down after 8 minutes.
They’ve recently beaten Sunderland, Oxford, and Plymouth but last Saturday lost to Burton at home. Taking the lead through one of their latest recruits John Marquis, Lincoln then conceded two goals to give Burton the win. Their home form has been sticky this season which contrasts with last season for the Play Off finalists, as on the road they are proving to be a different animal.
West Brom goalkeeper Josh Griffiths has had a solid season, former Don Regan Poole has impressed in the centre of the defence although normal partner Lewis Montsma is injured. Cohen Bramall is an attacking wing back and I expect a good battle with Corbeanu. In middle Liam Bridcutt is the fulcrum of everything when fit with Connor McGrandles not quite finding the form of last season.
Teddy Bishop has big Jorge Grant shoes to fill and after having to play with a false 9 for part of the season due to injuries and Covid now have an abundance of attacking options. Liam Cullen and Morgan Whittaker were both brought in from our friends Swansea City on loan and the already mentioned Marquis and Ben House were recruited on a permanent basis.
Manager Michael Appleton is an astute coach and adapts his teams to the opposition and is highly regarded as one of the best coaches outside the Championship.
The Man in Focus is wind up merchant Chris Maguire. He really knows how-to wind-up fans and players alike which former Sunderland manager Lee Johnson can testify as Maguire after scoring the first of 3 goals at the Stadium of Light he ran to Johnson and celebrated in front of him (See Above). That’s the type of personality he has but he doesn’t let that get in the way of the natural ability he possesses. Able to beat a man, quality on set pieces and an eye for a goal (4 goals, 5 assists) he could be key to victory, and is able to play either wing to devastating effect. Expect to see him have a few chats with ref Mr Huxtable if he plays on Saturday and show off his fiery temperament, hopefully Brett will be in no mood to converse with him.
Predicted Line Up
Kesler – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Coventry – Smith
Corbeanu – Parrott – Twine.
Two debuts for me. New loanee Kaine Kesler and Matt Smith will provide energy and forward thinking whilst freshening up the squad who had been short on numbers for a few games. Dan Kemp will probably start on the bench but with 6 games in February changes will happen.
I predict a 2-1 home win. Parrott and Corbeanu with the goals. These games are always tight don’t let League position fool you.