MK Dons: November Review

By no means has it been an easy season for MK Dons. In fact, it’s been much the opposite, picking up just 16 points from a possible 54. Of course, some fans may have hoped for more than that at the start of the season, especially as it’s around now that the league starts to take some shape and you can see the promotion and relegation candidates a bit more clearly. But, the revival is picking up, slowly but surely. Another five points were added to the tally throughout November, and Karl Robinson’s side can now boast that they have just one loss in their last four games, coming from still-to-be-beaten Brighton and Hove Albion on the 7th of November.


MK Dons 1-0 Charlton Athletic

It may be clutching at straws a bit, but one record that the Dons have this season is that they are unbeaten at home in the league in midweek games, and this run was extended when a single goal from Dean Bowditch saw off fellow strugglers, Charlton. It was a first game for the Addicks’ interim boss, Karel Fraeye, after the sacking of Guy Luzon. After the game, he said, “I’m concerned with the lack of chances we created, but the Dons only created their chances after we took a lot of risks and we gave them a lot of space.” It shows that while the team can create chances, they need to do it more often and not just when other teams give them the opportunity to do so. The result meant that the Dons stayed 20th in the league, but gave them a four-point cushion on the relegation zone, with Bristol City one place behind with the same points, Bolton and Charlton both on 10 and Rotherham propping up the table on nine.


Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 MK Dons

After the elation of the win midweek before this game, it was always going to be hard to keep it going as the Dons travelled down to the south coast to face Brighton, who are unbeaten this season and on a quite magnificent run. It was the hosts who took the lead after just five minutes. England U21s winger, Solly March, rifled home a loose ball from 20 yards after MK Dons had failed to clear a corner. Not long after, the defensive frailties were on show again as Jamie Murphy slotted in Brighton’s second after some neat build-up play, but it was the centre-backs, Kyle McFadzean and Antony Kay, at fault again. Both were horribly out of position as the ball was played through to Murphy, and neither could get in front of him to block the shot either. The positives were there again, though. Firstly, Nicky Maynard fired in his first goal in Dons colours with a fierce snapshot just three minutes after Murphy’s goal. As well as that, the visitors were much better in the second half in attack, forcing ex-Fulham keeper, David Stockdale, into a number of saves. It wasn’t to be, though, for the Dons, as Brighton set a new club record of 17 games without defeat.


MK Dons 1-1 Fulham

The Dons faithful were pretty confident coming into this game against manager-less Fulham. The Cottagers have been pretty inconsistent this season, with 4-2 and 4-1 wins over Reading and Bristol City, respectively, but then suffered a 5-2 home defeat to Birmingham and a 3-1 loss at Burnley. After Dean Bowditch neatly tucked away his second of the month and third of the campaign, the crowd had every right to remain confident, too, as the Dons passed well and made light work of Fulham’s former Premier League status. However, once again, it was the defence that let them down. MK Dons failed to clear after a blocked shot, and that allowed Ross McCormack to play the ball across for Mousa Dembélé to tap in the equaliser. The defence vastly improved in the second half, which was especially evident when Diego Poyet put his body on the line to get in front of a McCormack pile-driver. Despite this, the defending at times this season has looked very suspect. Is this something Karl Robinson ought to consider when January rolls around?


Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 MK Dons

That home draw against Fulham was one where the fans would have been forgiven for expecting three points. This was not the case though as MK Dons travelled to Molineux to face Kenny Jackett’s Wolves. This season hasn’t quite lived up to the last so far for Wolves, but they do possess some real Championship quality in their side, including former Dons striker, Benik Afobe, who scored 19 goals in MK’s promotion winning League One campaign last year. If MK Dons were to be thankful for one man after this game, it had to be goalkeeper David Martin, who made a number of excellent saves to keep out both Afobe and winger, James Henry. The defence was carved open time and time again but the Romford-born keeper always on hand to thwart any danger. Wolves also had their stopper, Carl Ikeme, to thank late on, who denied substitutes, Carl Baker and Daniel Powell, from giving the Dons a shock lead. They were the only real chances the Dons could manage in the game, so is that something else Robinson needs to look into during the next transfer window? Despite that, a lot can be said for character, especially when you’re battling at the wrong end of the table. After the Wolves stalemate, Robinson said “We got more than we deserved. But, for me, the players’ mentality and togetherness has deserved that point. I said to them that, when you are not there technically, your togetherness and desire has to come through and I don’t think any one of my players has anything left in their body. We have to make sure that we give everything on a weekly basis.”


The five points that the Dons have gained over November has seen them steer further clear of the bottom three – now placed 19th with a total of 16 points. In the coming weeks, December brings another run of tough fixtures, starting with an away trip to Brentford on Saturday 5th, followed by the visits of Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday to on Saturday 12th and Tuesday 15th. After that, it’s another trip, this time to Nottingham Forest and, then on Boxing Day, Cardiff City are the visitors for the second time this season, who will be seeking revenge for their extra-time loss at in the second round of this season’s Capital One Cup. The month ends with an away day at Birmingham City, who inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the Dons in their last game of August. There are plenty of points to be won across December. If they can pick up a significant amount, is the revival on at MK Dons, or is the mini success going to be short-lived?



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