Improvement is one of the main things that any club looks for throughout the season. When you don’t pick up any points in one month, any sort of result in the next can look very impressive indeed. Although this month MK Dons may not have set the world alight with their performances or results, they’re in a significantly better position than they were at the beginning of October. Going into the first game of the month at Bristol City, Karl Robinson’s side were second bottom and struggling with just seven points. Now, they might only be four points better off at this point, but their position in the table is certainly a little more reassuring.
Bristol City 1-1 MK Dons
When Bristol City took the lead after just six minutes in this game, it looked set to be another miserable afternoon and a sixth straight league loss. It continued like this as Bristol dominated the first half, but they wasted chance after chance to put the fixture to bed and grab a win that would have taken them from the bottom of the table. The second half was a different story, though; the statistics showed it. Dons registered 65% of possession over the course of the game, had five more shots than their opponents and one more on target. These were rewarded when in the fourth minute of added time, as substitute, Daniel Powell, curled in a magnificent equaliser to make sure the Dons left the West Country with a deserved point.
MK Dons 3-0 Blackburn Rovers
This was much more like it from the Dons. Being in that stadium felt a lot more like the League One days, when there was so much positivity in the air. There was good reason to be positive as well when MK took the lead after ten minutes. Blackburn’s Adam Henley was judged to have been the last man, so was given his marching orders, which allowed Ben Reeves to stroke home the resulting penalty. Blackburn did create chances, despite their numerical disadvantage, most notably when their star man, Jordan Rhodes, produced a terrific reaction save from David Martin, but they just couldn’t create enough. They were effectively put out of the game when Simon Church powered in his second of the season from Josh Murphy’s cross, and Reeves added a third in the dying minutes to add some much needed gloss to the score. The one talking point from the game was whether Henley should have been sent off in the first place; had he stayed on, the outcome could have been very different. But, as everybody knows, and as Karl Robinson keeps saying, the luck will come eventually, and that’s certainly what the Dons had against Rovers.
Huddersfield Town 2-0 MK Dons
The Dons are yet to secure back-to-back wins as a second tier club, but had every right to be optimistic that this could be the chance to do it, as they faced a Huddersfield side in a similarly precarious position above the relegation zone. However, it wasn’t going to be their time on the day, and refereeing decisions could not be blamed either, as the Dons put in a “lethargic” performance, according to their boss. In his post-match interview, Robinson said “We were rubbish and that includes me. The players have played ever so well for me at times and I cannot ask any more. I back my players all the way but when they don’t perform I let them know. We were lethargic and sometimes that happens.” It was again individual errors that cost the Dons, firstly with Kyle McFadzean’s poor back-pass being intercepted by Nahki Wells, and then the ball was given away again in stoppage time to allow Jamie Paterson to slot in the winner.
QPR 3-0 MK Dons
Although a lot of Queens Park Rangers fans would probably disagree, the score flattered them. Neither team really created anything significant in the first half; QPR dominated the attacking, but could never really get anything out of it. The one big chance that MK did get before the crushing final 20 minutes fell to Simon Church, but he produced a stunning save out of Rob Green, who somehow tipped his shot round the post. It was the defensive frailties that shone through again, though. Poor closing down and a distinct lack of strength in the box led to Jay Emmanuel-Thomas slotting Rangers in front, and on the last goal, too, it was the same mistakes that allowed Junior Hoilett to hook in the third. The one thing I won’t take away from QPR, though, is the quality of the second goal. The vision to pick out that pass to Matt Phillips was exceptional, as was his first touch to bring it under, and the skill, and finally the finish. That goal, in my opinion, was worthy of any team in any league, and shouldn’t be talked about in a negative aspect from a Dons view.
MK Dons 0-2 Hull City
Few could have expected a result here at the start of the game, but the first-half performance from the Dons might just have had some fans changing their minds, despite a controversial opener by Ahmed Elmohamady for the visitors. The Dons didn’t really create any chances, having only one shot on target in the whole game, but the passing in the middle of the park and the movement off the ball certainly matched whatever Hull produced, too. Even in the second half, when this display continued, fans wouldn’t have been blamed for expecting an unlikely point, as the Dons pushed forward and seemingly had Hull on the back foot. Again it just wasn’t going to be, though, as another defensive error let substitute, Mohamed Diamé, in to tuck home the goal that sealed the three points for Hull.
So, like what was said at the beginning, the results haven’t become much better, but there are definitely signs of improvement with MK Dons. Three places and four points better off than they were at the beginning of the month, and they have an excellent chance to extend this as on Tuesday night, when they welcome Charlton Athletic to Staium.mk. Charlton are really struggling, and only picked up one point in October in a 2-2 draw at home to Fulham. Their last win, though, came all the way back in August, when they defeated Hull 2-1 at The Valley. A win for the Dons in this game could potentially take them to 16th depending on other results; something that would look far more pleasing to Robinson and the fans.