By Steve Manning
The Dons v Sheffield Wednesday
Venue: Stadium MK (capacity: 30,500 for football)
Competition: Sky Bet League One, Matchday: 2 of 46.
Position’s: The Dons – 22 (0 points), The Owls – 9 (1 point)
Head -2- Head Record:
The Dons: 2 wins – Drawn: 6 – The Owls: 4 wins. Goals: Dons – 18, The Owls – 15.
This Saturday afternoon the Dons return home for their first game – at Stadium MK – since the play off semi-final aggregate defeat to Wycombe Wanderers in April.
Cambridge United took the spoils last Saturday afternoon, as the Dons backline capitulated after 17 minutes – Henry Lawrence allowing his man to drive the ball into the box from the wing, which caused havoc inside the crowded penalty box.
Jack Tucker was beaten too easily by target man Harvey Knibbs, who then rifled past a stricken Jamie Cumming – to hand The U’s a lead that they held onto with some questionable gamesmanship.
This went as far as two of United’s own players staging a fight as they waited for their own corner to be taken in front of the travelling Dons in attendance.
I wish I had any shots on target to report, but alas that, like the points Dons went away from the Abbey, did not exist.
The closest Dons came to troubling Dimitar Mitov in the home goalmouth was when Welsh International Matt Smith crashed an effort off the crossbar inside 60 seconds, that is all Dons wrote after that effort, for the next 89 minutes Cambridge outmuscled The Dons in key areas of the game.
Daniel Oyegoke impressed me greatly after coming on for a very poor Lawrence at right back, he did all the right things you’d expect from a full-back. He endeared himself to those in attendance with a scything tackle on the Cambridge left back as United tried to break away late on.
A yellow card was his reward, but that is what you could call taking one for the team, never mind the booking though it was a thoroughly impressive debut from Oyegoke.
The other name deserving of praise was that of Dan Kemp, who attempted to get passages of play started, and fought for every ball in the attacking third. Will Grigg was denied decent service into the box, as was Matt Dennis. Much improvement is needed if Manning’s men are going to get their season kick-started today.
Reminder: Remembering Lucy Dawson
Please join the MKDSA, and The Dons family by standing with us to honour lifelong Dons supporter, and club legend Lucy Dawson at today’s game.
We will be making as much noise as possible from 24th minute of the Sheffield Wednesday fixture, with a round of applause for Lucy who sadly passed away shortly after last season.
How The Dons could line up:
Despite the loss to Cambridge last Saturday afternoon, The Dons should line-up in their new 4-2-3-1 formation again, as the team continues to bed the system in. Daniel Oyegoke impressed when replacing Henry Lawrence – Whether it is enough to displace the Chelsea loanee remains to be seen.
Possible Dons XI: 4-2-3-1
Oyegoke, O’Hora, Tucker, Lewington (c)
Kemp, Grant, Barry.
How The Owls could line-up:
Sheffield Wednesday are without their veteran striker Lee Gregory after his double yellow sending off at home to Portsmouth. New signing Michael Smith is the likely choice to replace the Owls striker in attack. Barry Bannan will lead the side and is one of the visitor’s main danger men.
Possible Owls XI:
Hunt, Iorfa, Heneghan, Ihiekwe, Johnson.
Byers, Vaulks, Bannan.
One’s to watch
12. Daniel Oyegoke – The Dons: Oyegoke was the brightest of sparks in a drab performance away at Cambridge. He filled the chasm created by Lawrence’s dreadful performance in the first half.
His introduction, and consequent baller like performance for Liam Manning’s side, offered The Dons so much more down the right flank than Lawrence did. Tackles like his life depends on it, willing to put those balls into the box as well – would like to see how he would do against this Wednesday team that struggles against balls into the area. Daniel Oyegoke showed glimpses of what he can do, this game will suit his style. The Dons one to watch.
10. Barry Bannan – The Owls – Bannan, even at the age of 32, is a cheat code for Sheffield Wednesday. The Scot has everything in his locker to unpick any defence at will given the opportunity, and we are all familiar with how Bannan likes to have a go at goal from distance, following his stunner in the last fixture between the two clubs at Stadium MK. It is not just his ability from range that should be considered a danger to the Dons chances, he is an expert in drawing fouls in crucial positions as well as being one of Darren Moore’s go to set piece specialists. Barry Bannan is the engine of Wednesday’s midfield; his overall capabilities mark him out as my one to watch for the visitors.
Dons 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
A draw will be considered a good result against one of the favourites for the league title this season. Given how slack the Dons looked defensively against Cambridge – 30th July – a vast improvement is going to be needed to prevent another loss, as the team looks to further bed in the new system into its way of playing. Will Grigg is my tip to get off the mark in this match.
Match Odds: Supplied by Ladbrokes (*other bookmakers are available)
The Dons: 9/5 Draw: 2/1 Sheffield Weds: 27/20
The Dons to draw 1-1: 24/5
(*match odds are subject to change)
Enjoy today’s game you Dons, hopefully with a drizzling of luck our boys can pick up our first points of the campaign. Also, as I mentioned earlier get on your feet for Lucy Dawson on the 24th minute, as the club pays tribute to one of our own.
Next Up: Sutton United @Stadium MK (yes it really is, this time)
Until Next Time, SM.