Thursday, 1 December 2011

November Musing Uncut

So the month started with the news we are to play Nantwich on Saturday 12th November, and the news was greeted with talk not of the opposition but the price of the game.
Both clubs had agreed the prices were to be £15 for Adults £4 for Under-18s and £11 for Over-65s in all areas except club red where it was £20. There was also rather oddly no under 7's free tickets for this game which made the whole day quite an expensive one for the family considering it was a first round FA Cup match. As both clubs had agreed and Nantwich get a cut I guess they must have thought the folk of MK turn out for the cup matches in their numbers most of us thought a tenner would have been the right price for this stage of the competition.I was told by someone Id better not mention that although it was agreed by both clubs it was Nantwich that asked for the higher price in fact I was told they had asked for it to be sixteen Pounds ! which would make sense if they thought it was going to be a big crowd but more on that later.
Amongst those training the day before the Rochdale game were David Thompson ex Liverpool,Coventry, Blackburn, Wigan, Portsmouth and Bolton player who had retired at thirty with chronic cartlidge knee injury three years ago but has now been told by his Doctor he can play Karl told me he was going to give him a game (closed door)and that Thompson had said he'd play for nothing as he'd had ten years in the Premiership and just wanted to play again although I thought he would probably be on a small wage if he did play David said he hadn't officially retired when I asked him if he was officially retired but he didn't really seem to keen to talk, Karl did joke to him about not being asked for his autograph for a while when one of the fans asked for it which I did think was quite funny( he played later in the month for the first half against Coventry).

The first game of the month was against Rochdale and designated as Armed Forces Day and we had our very own Mark Smith, a Lance Sergeant with the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards with us to present the match ball to the team Mark has served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. Mark was injured after being shot in the arm and the leg and as a result Mark had his right leg amputated. Mark has the Dons crest on his forearm and I'm sure some of you will know him. Mark presented the match ball on Saturday on his new prosthetic leg. I saw Mark arrive and he looked well and also seemed to be walking well on his new leg and when he presented the match day ball and I guess most of us had a lump in our throats watching him walk out.

The game was a convincing three one win and I like many thought Martin had made the howler to end all howlers when he seemed to just let the free kick drop over his head into the net but with the benefit of the replay's on SSN and Football league show I think it was more a case of a very good free kick fooling him, some behind the goal seemed to think it was going over as well but I still think it has to be put down as keeper error in the Seaman style of balls no one thought were going in , as it turned out I think it probably gave us the push we needed and we played well as a team and the score reflected the match overall I even thought Dale played some nice Football in midfield and just need to tighten their defence and get a striker in come January to capitalise on the capable midfield certainly not the worse team I have seen this season.
John took mainly fringe and academy players for the first training session I saw on the Tuesday with exception of Gleeson there were no first team players there, also training with the squad was Stuart Searle who has been injured and is here to get back to full fitness for Chelmsford as he still lives in Milton Keynes which was handy as Ian was on International duty and David only had Paul Heald to keep him company also called up for International duty were Gary Mac and Adam Smith although Gary only made the bench, as an aside Stuart is now fit and back in goal for fourth place Chelmsford and was still training with us as Chelmsford only train twice a week.

Later in the week saw the guest coach and former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright join the team he joined the players for a game and hopefully imparted some of his goalscoring wisdom on our strikers I along with a couple of other fans got to get a picture and say hello I even got a picture of his car a Land Rover Overfinch for those petrol heads interested ! not sure whether he was or wasnt at Brammall Lane but I have not seen him since.

We also heard another four academy players have been given squad numbers ahead of the FA Cup game against Nantwich Town they were seventeen-year-old Leon Lobjoit, 16-year-old George Williams and 15-year-olds Dele Alli and Brendan Galloway they have all been registered with first team numbers with the Football League and Football Association but as I noticed not the academy golden child Seyi Ojo who I understand is looking at four Premiership clubs before deciding which one to join. I spoke to Brendan Galloway and said congratulations on his squad number and wished him well for the game although I did wonder why Remy Forrester wasn't given a number as he really stood out to me in the academy games I have seen.
Full-back Lobjoit will wear 34, young striker Williams (not to be confused with player of same name who has left academy) has been given the 35 shirt while midfielders Alli number 36 and Galloway 37 all four were expected to be on the bench for Karl's 18-man squad for Saturday.
The game as a lot of us thought it would be was a comfortable win and no FA upset although Nantwich held on for twenty seven minutes and went into half time just two down the part timers were never really going to get anything from the game and we cruised through to the next round with goals from Kouo-Doumbe on 27minutes, Bowditch 30 and 54 Powell on 66 ,the back from injury O'Shea on 76 and raising a big cheer on the day young George Williams on 89. George becomes the Dons youngest ever goalscorer the crowd wasn't as bad as some had forecast with 3354 home fans and an impressive 756 away fans made the trip for what was a big day for their club, the only good thing about the smaller crowds I find at SMK is the atmosphere is often better than when we get the bigger gates which is very odd but I still think we would have had a lot more fans had it been made a tenner maybe all our season ticket holders would have come!
Before the game Karl was fuming after what has been called rogue scouts breached FA rules by trying to tap up some of our academy lads at the game at Woughton. Karl was reported to be preparing to make an official complaint to the FA on the Monday morning having recorded a number of agents making illegal approaches to youth players after the game.We have one of the most highly rated academies certainly outside of the Premiership and I think I voiced my worries in a previous blog and predicted this would happen with the new ruling the FA has put in place , one that helps the Prem clubs pick up future talent for next to nothing,the game against Bristol Rovers saw us lose 0-3 .

The draw for the second round of the FA cup saw us pitted against Barnet at Barnet a ground we have been to a few times and not a fixture that gets the heart pumping but a winnable game that could lead to that big day out at a prem club or a good pay day at home.
With a closed door match against Coventry on the 15th the players that wouldn't be playing trained earlier than usual so Joe the groundsman could get the pitch ready for the afternoon game I spoke to Karl before the game and he said he was putting out a strong team with John in charge the game ended 2-2 I asked Karl what he thought and he said he'd seen better any of you old enough to remember will know Steven "Oggy" Ogrizovic he was born in Mansfield and achieved fame during his 16 years at Coventry City (1984 to 2000)for the record of 601 appearances as a player in all competitions and he played in the winning FA Cup team of 1987 and he was here with the Coventry entourage.

Ahead of the Colchester game the players trained in the dome (or the bubble take your pick) at Woughton where to my untrained eye they seemed to be concentrating on fast close quarter passing and keeping the fitness levels up with fast paced short matches.The team travelled on the Friday for the relatively short journey of just over one hundred miles when I asked Karl about this he said it was because they had been caught before in traffic and he wanted to train before the game rather than sit in traffic and have to get off the coach and play but I also suspect it was because we have a bit more money available following news of the Stadium:mk retail development plans, of course another reason might be the sale to Liverpool of Seyi Ojo who completed his move to join Liverpool Academy on the Friday the 14-year-old midfielder who has been here since he was ten and has been capped twice at England Under-16 level this was during their recent Victory Shield campaign was thought to have gone for in the region of two million but that's unconfirmed and was the figure mentioned for the earlier bid of Chelsea.
As we know the Colchester game was a resounding 5-1 win but it wasn't all one way traffic in the first half, we were lucky to go into half time ahead after being one nil down Martin made some good saves tipping one over and chesting one away at what were crucial times .The second half however saw a totally dominant display, with the goal fest we were expecting to see at Walsall the away game before, sadly all the teams above us won their games but a gap is opening below and all we can do is win the games we play and hope those above have a wobble. The U's manager John Ward said after the game the best signing Robbo has made is John Gorman and I tend to agree after watching the work he puts in at the training ground always the first to leave and last to go and I think he and the other coaching staff must get really pissed off when they read Fowler is still here or Wrighty is employed as a coach as if the odd day Fowler did and the one day Wrighty was here has turned us into another team ..when from my perspective we have just done what we have threatened to do all season re the Nantwich and Colchester games.

On the Tuesday before the Wycombe derby we played a friendly against Watford another of those behind closed door games in a field and there was literaly a man and his dog among the crowd ! We played what I guess is our reserve side bar two or three the result was a 3-1 win for the Dons with Watfords goal being a gift from McLoughlin who seemed to catch the ball and drop it in his net it may not have been that bad but I was as far away as I could be at far end of pitch(well actually in clubhouse)but it looked an easy save.

Bowditch got the first and MacKenzie the second with his head ,the third was a Bowditch free kick Watford had a mix of first year pro's and reserves with a couple of first teamers returning from injury .We were the better team and a blatant handball was not seen and a couple of chances missed otherwise it would have been five or six Balanta and Guy played well as did Baldock at right back who told me after the game he liked playing in that position, in fact no player had a bad game and we looked very comfortable on the ball John was in charge although Karl was there with the Watford manager Sean Dyche as Ive said before I'm awful at match reports so that's as good as it gets from me and I have only attempted it as I haven't read about the game elsewhere .

Paul Heald put his gloves back on Friday in aid of charity at Newport Pagnall FC to raise funds Robbo also had a bit of a run out and scored one as well Peter Leven was also there watching( and probably wishing he was still a part of the Dons looking at Oxfords recent form but he got the signing on fee and same wage so perhaps he just likes League Two) and over £1200 was raised for the worthy cause I spoke to Paul before the Wycombe game and he was still aching.

Friday was a busy day as the last day of loan window closed we heard Lewis Guy has rejoined Oxford on loan and was set to go straight into the side winger Anthony McNamee has joined our Buckinghamshire rivals Wycombe Wanderers till January 7th and Charlie Collins went to Kettering Town on loan for about three hours then was sent back as Kettering have a transfer embargo put on them which is bad news all round.

Which brings me neatly to the Wycombe game and memories of the away day when we drew with nine men, we haven't seen that much of Wycombe as they yo yo between L1 and L2 John Gorman has a connection with Wycombe as a former manager but apart from that there is not a lot of love in the air when we meet so I was looking forward to the game(well I look forward to every game but ..)and hopefully a good sound drubbing of our Bucks rivals but it was far from that and we were lucky to come away with all three points again Martin made two good saves that probably saved the three points but he still worries me at times.
The defence looked much weaker without the young Smith and Im glad he is here till end of the season Flanagan showed his age and inexperience with some bad decisions but Beevers across goal pass to him that resulted in a Wycombe goal was worse than anything Tom did,Doumbe again showed us why he is not first choice right back Lewie probably pick of defence but not his best game. Gleeson still nowhere near his best and still undisciplined Chadders ran his socks off as usual Potter showing signs of wear and tear Charlie did everything but score Bowditch looked class Jabo my MOM for his sheer work rate and enthusiasm deserved the sponsors award.I'll have some pictures up on later in the week so keep checking, the next game is Barnet where all the seats are sold out so its standing room only.


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