By Jon Harries
Well, how do I sum Saturday up? I could just insert Paul Dixons 3-minute cameo commentary from IFollow and 3 Counties Radio, that would certainly do it justice, but the game was so much more than that.
The Dons travelled to Rotherham on Saturday, the L1 leaders unbeaten at home since September and looking for a reaction after a poor performance against Shrewsbury midweek. The Dons meanwhile on the back of 3 wins against Sunderland, Charlton, and Bolton.
The game started brightly for the visitors; Troy Parrott played through by Twine one on one forced a decent save from Josh Vickers. Rotherham then had a chance, Michael Smith with a header saved by Cumming one handed before scooping the ball into his control on the second attempt.
The key moment in the first half resulted in a penalty for the Millers. Ogbene ran onto a ball played over the top and got the wrong side of Harvie. Whether it was a genuine attempt for the ball only Harvie will know but he clipped his opponent and was sent off. A massive uphill task made worse when Barlaser stepped up and converted from 12 yards. Now interestingly, Manning didn’t panic choosing not to send on defensive reinforcements straight away. In fact, after a bit of a reshuffle the next chance fell to the visitors, Eisa firing over from just outside the box.
Half time and damage limitation was surely the team talk right?
Well, this squad don’t accept second best, and we were treated to 3 minutes of football that will live long in the memory. Firstly, a corner was cleared only as far as Lewington who headed back into the area where Harry Darling guided a header right into the corner of the net, and they weren’t finished yet. Barlaser was dispossessed deep in the Rotherham half by substitute Kasumu he then played Eisa in one on one and well you know the rest. His 10th goal of the season and 3rd in 4 games, hitting form at just the right time. Rotherham didn’t really trouble us after that. We defended diligently and limited them to a few headers from Smith, but nothing Cumming had to worry about, and we saw the injury period out without too much fuss.
Another fantastic away day. 10 unbeaten, the best record in L1 over the last 15 games and our best points total at this stage of the season in L1 in our history. Another memorable day for the travelling supporters who were “Loud and Proud” again.
Tuesday sees the first of a double header at Stadium MK. Cheltenham are the visitors and shouldn’t be underestimated. With one defeat in their last 6 Cheltenham Town have carried on their solid form that saw them promoted as champions of L2. That defeat was to struggling Crewe, but they have recent draws against Wycombe (5-5), and Ipswich, plus a win over Sunderland in that period. Scott Flinders in goal has been around for what seems an eternity in the Football League. Will Boyle is another L1 defender destined for better things alongside Matty Pollock. Matty Blair has experience in abundance alongside Liam Sercombe. Up top nuisance striker Alfie May has double figures for Cheltenham. They reflect their manager Michael Duff in hard work and discipline that should be respected.
Callum Wright & Alfie May will cause problems on Tuesday night.
The Man in Focus this time around is Leicester loanee Callum Wright. With 5 goals and 2 assists in 23 games he is a bundle of energy that certainly will have to be watched. He picks up spots wide and centrally and does not mind a shot from distance. He picked up an injury around Christmas time and there were doubts he’d finish the season, but it’s no coincidence Cheltenham’s form dipped then rose during his time away.
Kesler – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Watson
Kasumu – Coventry
Corbeanu – Twine
One forced change at the back. Kasumu after his performance Saturday deserves a start and I’d save Mo for Wigan. Set Theo and Kesler free, they will cause havoc. I’m predicting a 3-0 home win. Parrott x 2 Corbeanu. Troy is due goals, Tuesday could be the night, the Appetiser before the Main Event on Saturday.