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Match Reports

Notts 1-2 MK Dons

Second-half double wins it for the visitors

19 April 2019

Notts County were beaten 2-1 by MK Dons at Meadow Lane.

The Magies succumbed to David Wheeler and Chuks Aneke's second-half goals as they remained bottom of Sky Bet League Two, despite Ben Barclay's stoppage-time header.

Neal Ardley made three changes to the side that suffered a disappointing defeat at Crewe Alexandra.

Ryan Schofield returned to the starting 11 following his one-match suspension, with emergency West Brom loanee Alex Palmer's short stint over.

Richard Duffy hobbled off with a groin problem at the Alexandra Stadium, paving the way for Barclay to resume his partnership with Sam Stubbs in central defence, while Craig Mackail-Smith replaced the bench-bound Jon Stead.

On a warm, sunny afternoon, Michael Doyle claimed the first shot when the ball bounced nicely for him 20 yards out. He struck his shot well but it was straight at visiting goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

MK's response came less than a minute later when Conor McGrandles showed brilliant feet before firing a low shot towards goal. Schofield did well to get down to it.

Notts were enjoying plenty of the play in the early exchanges, Jim O'Brien sending a speculative effort over the bar following an extended spell of pressure.

But the away side began to grow into the game and Notts had to demonstrate some alert defending twice in quick succesion - Barclay doing well to cover after the ball had been flicked on for Kieran Agard before Ousseynou Cisse's searching cross was diverted wide by Rob Milsom with Wheeler looking set to score at the back post.

Another chance came and went for the visitors when Agard received the ball inside the area on 32 minutes. He appeared to rush his shot, prodding the ball harmlessly wide when he perhaps had more time to compose himself.

The two sides traded tentative blows as half-time neared, Kane Hemmings and Jake Hesketh both seeing shots fly over before the referee called time on a goalless opening 45 minutes.

There were no changes at the break and Notts had two chances to take the lead in quick succession at the start of the second half.

After Hemmings had won a corner, the subsequent delivery dropped for Stubbs who missed the ball completely with an air-kick. The ball continued out to Rose, who saw his powerful drive blocked. 

MK's response came from Russell Martin, whose looping header landed on top of Schofield's net.

But the visitors went one better than that near miss moments later when Wheeler ghosted into space to nod home a corner from the right.

Ardley reacted by sending Stead on for Enzio Boldewijn but it was a different substitute, Chuks Aneke, who had just replaced Hesketh for the visitors, who would next go close as he wriggled his way along the byline before Schofield stood firm at his near post to make the save.

And the keeper was called into crucial action once again moments later when Agard's agility in the area wrong-footed Stubbs and presented the forward with a clear shot at goal. Schofield did brilliantly to block what would have been a certain goal.

It had been a quiet day so far for Nicholls in the Dons' net, but he had to be alive to the danger when Stead did brilliantly to send a header goalwards under pressure from a couple of defenders. The keeper scampered to the base of his post to tip the ball wide.

It had also been a peaceful afternoon for referee Tony Harrington, who had to wait until the 73rd minute before producing his first yellow card as Mackail-Smith was penalised for simulation.

Milsom saw a deflected effort go wide, MK survived a goalmouth scramble and a long-range Doyle shot flew over the bar before Virgil Gomis replaced Mitch Rose with 11 minutes of normal time to go.

But any hope of restoring parity was lost with five minutes remaining when Aneke led a pacey counter attack, breezing past the exposed Barclay before finishing expertly beyond Schofield.

Four minutes were added on for stoppages and, in the dying seconds, Barclay reduced the scores to 2-1 with a flicked header.

But it wasn't to be enough as Notts remained two points behind Macclesfield in 22nd.


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