By Jon Harries
Automatic promotion…… Who wants it? Wigan went to Ipswich and drew, Rotherham went to Burton and lost and out of nowhere Sheffield Wednesday have a shout after their win against Crewe. Could the Dons take advantage away at Oxford? Well, the first half suggested yes, purposeful possession, utilising the space afforded to Harvie on several occasions. Hiram Boateng was playing well and had opportunities to shoot but either took too long or played the safe option. Troy Parrott was then played through, and his dinked finish was cleared off the line. I feel he had the opportunity to round the goalkeeper but take nothing away from the attempt. McEachran was running the show and it was beautiful to see. All square at half time with the away end bouncing could we take advantage in the second half.
Well, the short answer is no. Oxford came out in the second half with fire in their bellies, nearly capitalising on a Darling mistake with Cumming saving well from Taylor. Brannigan was becoming more involved dictating play as was Ciaran Brown down the left. The Dons were pinned in their own half and Kasumu was brought on to get some control back in the game and started an attack down the right that found Kesler who’s ball was inches from finding Conor Coventry in the six-yard box. Then the killer blow passing out from the back Oxford intercepted down the right. The ball found Bodin who smashed it into the net. Gut wrenching to take and frustrating in equal measures, the substitution of Parrott seemed significant and I’m wondering now if the lack of rotation in the squad since the turn of the year is having a negative impact on the pitch. Corbeanu, Kemp, Smith, Wickham, four that spring to mind immediately. I’m not saying make wholesale changes each game, but the lack of rotation is now concerning. Two huge games to end our season coming up.
Morecambe are the final visitors to Stadium MK only needing a point to confirm survival. A phenomenal effort for a team expected to prop up the rest. They were the story during lockdown beating Newport in the Play offs under current manager Derek Adams. He subsequently left for Bradford City with Stephen Robinson taking charge. They flew out of the blocks being in the top 10 after 10 games, they then found it difficult to get consistent results, taking the plunge in March to part with Robinson by mutual consent to give themselves a shot of survival. With 3 wins and a draw in their last 5, the Shrimps are really putting themselves in the box seat to survive yet again after the return of Adams. He has them more organised, more clinical and above all else confident. Trevor Carson and Jacob Bedeau have added defensive solidity alongside club captain Anthony O’Connor. In midfield Adam Philips and Aaron Wildig have stepped up under Adams with creativity and goals and up top Dylan Connolly and Arthur Gnahoua have stepped up when it matters.
The Man in Focus is undoubtedly one of the players of the season in L1. How he didn’t get nominated alongside Twine, Bannan and Smith is beyond me. Cole “the Goal” Stockton has been a one-man wrecking machine at times. 23 goals this season is sensational in a struggling side and the variety is even more surprising. Penalties, poachers, long range volleys even two from near enough the halfway line. People said he couldn’t step up from L2. I dare say if we get promoted, I’d certainly take him at Stadium MK. Something different from Eisa but much more than a target man. Never say never.
Kesler – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Kasumu – Coventry
Corbeanu – Twine – Parrott
The time is now for everyone to get behind the club. If you told me, we still had an opportunity to compete for automatic promotion with 2 games left after Bournemouth I’d have laughed at you. This needs calm heads and togetherness. As Liam Manning said. Take the emotion out of it. I understand that’s hard being a fan but “Together as One” means more than ever now.
3-1 home win with Troy, Twine, and Theo.
Then over to you Oxford, Sunderland, Plymouth, and Portsmouth ……do your worst.