By Ty Jenner
A disappointing start for the Dons as they slumped to defeat against Cambridge United in their League One opener at the Abbey Stadium. The difference between the two sides was Harvey Knibbs solo goal just after the half hour mark.
With barely seconds gone, MK Dons registered their first chance when Matt Smith’s thunderous shot crashed off the underside of the crossbar. Cambridge were quick to respond after threatening with a few teasing crosses which came to nothing. Adam May had a dangerous freekick soon after but was comfortably claimed by Jamie Cumming. After a lengthy stop in play, Cambridge broke away and Ironside set Harvey Knibbs through who danced around the Dons defence and slotted home in the 16th minute to break the deadlock and put the hosts in front. After enduring a spell of Cambridge possession, Nathan Holland found space down the left and decided to let fly but his shot into the side netting. Cambridge then had a decent chance to double their advantage, but Sam Smith’s header was glanced wide with 32 minutes gone. Josh McEachran looked to have picked up a knock soon after and was replaced by Bradley Johnson. A teasing ball from the right comes to the back post where Joe Ironside heads but his effort is straight at Cumming who plucked the ball from the sky. The new look Dons closed out the first half a goal down with a lot of work to do.
It was a bright start for the Dons in the second half as Dan Kemp had a decent chance to level but his shot was superbly blocked by Harrison Dunk. The resultant corner for the Dons was cleared initially with a few recycled balls being cleared straight after too, but the ball fell to Bradley Johnson in the area who sliced an effort inches wide of the post. A strong penalty claim for the Dons was waved away 12 minutes into the second half when Conor Grant was hauled to the ground after pouncing on a defensive mix up however the referee was unmoved. Substitutes Barry and Oyegoke immediately had an impact after combining well down the right with the former laying off to Matt Smith, but his effort went well wide to add to the growing frustrations. The Dons had to endure lots of time wasting from the opposition despite the rule change to eliminate it. The game eventually fizzled out to a 1-0 defeat as neither side had any clear opportunities in the remaining 10 minutes.
Clearly a lot of work to do for Liam Manning as his side failed to register a single shot on target. Their next test will soon come around when they welcome Sheffield Wednesday at Stadium MK next Saturday.